Dealing with a blockchain crisis is much trickier than dealing with a crisis in a different industry. After all, this sector has been dealing with trust issues from the start. Not to mention, there were several misconceptions about cryptocurrency that worsened the public’s initial perception further. For instance, some people believed blockchain technology offered an opportunity to escape government control. As such, many people assumed that the technology was designed to run illegal activities.
As a result of these issues, blockchain-based businesses have to invest a lot in earning customer trust. Beyond that, they must also ensure that they don’t do anything to jeopardize this trust once they’ve earned it. Since people were already so skeptical about the blockchain space, it doesn’t take much to create suspicion and lose trust irreversibly. One small misstep or issue on your end could easily lead to a blockchain crisis that costs you your supportive community. In fact, any potential threat can cost you years of earned trust within seconds or minutes. Among the potential threats in this space are cyber theft, security breaches, or hacks.
According to statistics, more than 60% of blockchain companies interviewed have put in place a PR crisis management team or plan. While nobody knows when a crisis can hit their company, having this plan is vital. It means you are ready to respond to a crisis promptly and solve the issue before it escalates. A timely response is crucial because it can save your company’s reputation.
How do you respond to a blockchain crisis that affects the image of your company?
If your company is dealing with a PR crisis, consider the following steps:
1) Get a legal team
Regardless of what kind of crisis you are dealing with, you need a legal team to advise you on the best way to deal with it. Ultimately, the effects of the crisis on your company will depend on the nature and scale of the crisis. Having an external legal team means you can act instantly during a crisis. They will have first-hand experience managing similar crises so they can advise you accordingly. Since they’re equipped to quickly assess the legal repercussions of the crisis, you can act promptly. In other words, you won’t need to waste time going back and forth considering different scenarios.
2) Announce the blockchain crisis publicly
You must take control of the situation immediately, otherwise the media will do it for you. One of the best ways to take control of the narrative is by being the first to announce the fact that you’re facing a blockchain crisis. Remember, if the mainstream media announce the crisis first, the whole situation will hurt your business more.
On the other hand, don’t rush into doing things just to resolve the crisis. If you make rushed decisions, you may say or do something negative that’s hard to come back from later on. This is not good for any business. The first step that you should focus on is admitting that the crisis has happened and taking accountability for it. However, you should make sure you’ve got advice from your PR and legal teams before taking this step.
3) Offer an apology
Once you’ve acknowledged the blockchain crisis that you are facing, you need to offer an apology to the public. More importantly, you need to apologize to your clients who put their faith in you. As a symbol of apology, you can offer donations to the trading accounts in your company.
Sincerity is a vital part of any successful apology. You should not attempt to cover up the cause of the crisis or its impact, otherwise it will seem like you’re trying to avoid accountability. If you’re sweeping some aspects of the crisis under the rug, your apology will not have a positive impact on your audience. If you are sincere and transparent, the public will appreciate your effort. As such they are more likely to give you a second chance even when your credibility is at stake.
Lastly, you’ve got to assure your clients that their accounts or assets are safe. Keep in mind that you’re in the midst of a blockchain crisis – you can’t just offer assurances and hope that your clients will trust you. Right now, your clients are bound to be more skeptical than ever before. For this reason, you need to go beyond telling them that their accounts are safe. More specifically, you need to show them this by explaining what you’re doing to safeguard their accounts.
4) Keep the public up to date
Once you make the announcement that you are – in fact – dealing with a blockchain crisis, all eyes will be on you. Your clients will want to know what your crisis management plan is. They will also be curious about your progress as you work to resolve the crisis. Therefore, you must create an effective communication channel that you can use to reach out to them.
By ensuring that you’re issuing consistent updates on your progress, you can reduce the anxiety that your clients are experiencing. You can also reduce the possibility of speculation that could worsen the situation. Members of the public should know you are working hard to solve the issue. To keep the public up to date, you need to organize a live stream event. You can host this event through a media outlet or on social media channels.
5) Track mentions on news outlets and social media
The moment the news about your blockchain crisis is out, you should start tracking mentions on news and social media channels. Remember, some channels will take this opportunity to tarnish your brand reputation further. In addition, both existing and potential clients might get bits and pieces of information that create a negative perception of your business.
Luckily, by using social listening to track these mentions, you can respond to negative commentary before it spirals out of control. In this way, you can also develop and implement a strategy to restore your positive brand reputation. In short, keeping tabs on what people are saying about your brand will help you manage the situation before things get out of hand.
What NOT to do when you’re facing a blockchain crisis
Now that we’ve talked about what to do in the middle of a crisis, here’s what NOT to do:
1) DON’T rush into speaking to the public
The anxiety that follows any crisis is intense. This initial period of panic is where most people make the biggest mistakes. We’ve talked about why a prompt response is a good thing, but you need to be strategic about your communication. By rushing to make a statement, you could make an already bad situation much worse. To an extent, the damage you cause by speaking to the public while you’re still panicking can be irreversible. After all, you can’t expect the public to believe that you’re in control of the situation if you’re visibly stressed. In order to avoid heightening tensions, you need to take time to calm down and review the details of the crisis. Make sure you review your statement with your crisis management team before sharing it with the public. Rehearsing the message beforehand will help you stay on track and avoid saying something that you will later regret.
2) DON’T share too much information about the blockchain crisis
While honesty is the best approach, you should not share more than you should. When you give too much information, you can worsen the damage from the crisis instead of preventing further damage. On the other end, you should not withhold the vital pieces of information that the public should know. When these pieces of information reach the public from other sources, it could harm your brand reputation. Remember that people in the blockchain space are already suspicious of the intentions of your project. If you give them a reason to question your integrity, they will. What’s worse, once you’ve lost their trust, you won’t be able to regain it.
3) DON’T point fingers
As much as you know who might be responsible for the blockchain crisis you’re facing, don’t rush into pointing fingers. This approach can ruin your brand image because it will look like you’re trying to avoid responsibility. Instead, accept the repercussions and offer a solution to the problem. Make sure everyone who is watching can see that you’re more focused on resolving the crisis than you are on making excuses. If you can demonstrate that you’re willing to take accountability for what has happened, most people will give you the benefit of doubt.
4) Avoid saying “no comment” when people ask questions
When you’re facing a crisis that could have negative effects on your brand image, you are in no position to play the “no comment” card. This might seem like a good idea in the moment, but it will only make it look like you are guilty. If you don’t have sufficient information to provide in response to a complex or worrying question, you should be straightforward and say so. Explaining that you will have more detailed responses once you’ve started implementing your crisis plan is better than saying “no comment.”
Regardless of the size or sector, every company is susceptible to a PR crisis. Since businesses in the crypto and blockchain spaces are built on trust, they’re even more susceptible to a blockchain crisis. When a crisis of this kind hits, you will need to take the right steps to defend the reputation and credibility of your business. Moreover, the survival of your business will depend on how quickly and effectively you can manage the crisis.
For this reason, if you don’t have an experienced PR team on-site, you should seriously consider hiring one.
How Pressfarm can help brands overcome negative press
Do you need help turning a negative situation around? Pressfarm is a PR agency that works with companies to create quality content that contributes to a positive brand image. The experts at Pressfarm are skilled at creating everything from email pitches to press releases and building relationships with journalists and media outlets. Pressfarm clients also get custom media lists from Pressfarm’s extensive PR database with over 1 million journalists. With these media contacts, companies can connect with respected media professionals and get valuable press coverage to restore their brand image.
Pressfarm’s PR professionals and writers also help with online press release distribution. This increases release visibility in relevant search results across major search engines. With experts like those at Pressfarm, it’s far easier to change public perception using optimised keywords and marketing campaigns. Additionally, the Pressfarm team knows how to align strategies and content with their clients’ goals. In this way, the experts at Pressfarm can effectively earn media coverage to alleviate any issues that come with a public crisis.