How Franchise Systems Can Plan Ahead Before A Crisis
Behind every strong franchise is an effective crisis management team or PR agency. Take Subway, for instance. Ever since the news broke out about how the FBI raided Jared Fogle’s home for child pornography, Subway has made top headlines in almost every major publication week after week. Thank goodness, Subway’s public relations team stepped in immediately to do some damage control throughout the entire investigation—proactively working to prevent the crisis from spiraling out of control.
As we learned from Subway, the worst thing about a crisis is the fact that it can pop up at any time—ready or not. When a huge issue unfolds, it’s easy to freeze up. People are running around trying to decide who makes the decisions. When should you put out an initial statement on the issue? What hybrid and broadcast media outlets deserve a response? The immediate frenzy that occurs is stressful in itself. And because of that, it is very important to have a strategic crisis management plan in place.
If you happen to have a franchise business and don’t have a public relations team via internal or agency, now is the time to get one. But for now, we can provide you with some initial steps to help you plan ahead for any type of crisis:
- When a franchise gets hit with a crisis, the first thing it needs to do is either make a quick response or come clean ASAP. You don’t want to have the public speculating. The longer you wait to issue out a response, the longer it’s going to take for the public to believe you.
- Take action! In the event of a crisis, it’s always best to correct the issue by doing something about it. In Subway’s case, they immediately cut ties with their former spokesperson, Jared Fogel. All mention of Fogle’s name was removed from Subway’s website and social media accounts. But, there are other ways to take action, such as hosting a charity event or compensating the victims for the offensive act.
- Continue to stay on top of your social media. It’s highly recommended that you use different social media monitoring tools to help track keywords and phrases that might be negatively associated with your company and brand. Right after the news broke, Subway’s corporate Twitter account swooped in right away tweeting, “We no longer have a relationship with Jared and have no further comment.”
- Be as transparent as possible when speaking to the media. Companies should be open to answering the reporter’s questions as honestly as possible. If not, it makes you look uncooperative—or worse, as if you have something to hide.
At TopFire Media, our success is measured by our clients’ success. We understand the importance of having the right PR team in place to engage with specific audiences when a crisis breaks out. By partnering with our sister companies iFranchise Group and Franchise Dynamics, we help build our franchise clients’ credibility, while retaining relevance and transparency.
To learn more about TopFire Media and how we take the necessary steps to help restore our clients’ image, click here.