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How to handle a crisis and get a good buzz for your brand

Author: Nicky

Twelve PR Co-founder
Swarm of bees at B&Q

B&Q in Larkfield, Kent had to close its garden centre over the weekend, as a large swarm of bees settled on a hanging basket.

Closing the garden centre on a sunny Saturday in August must have hit revenue hard but B&Q turned it to their advantage with this lovely feel-good feature in the Daily Mirror, 23.8.15.

So using this great exemplar from B&Q here are five tips for good crisis communication or how a few timely, truthful, well-crafted sentences can make a difference:

1 Acknowledge the truth of the situation, in a straightforward way:

“The loss of custom is the least of our worries….”

2 Show that you have the care and safety of individuals in mind, especially the little people (in this case, honey bees):

“The loss of custom is the least of our worries, we’ll make it up over time, our customers safety and rescuing the bees is more important to us”.

3 Acknowledge and thank individuals involved:

“The guys did a fantastic job, we had to close our garden centre and haven’t reopened for the rest of the day.”

4. Use a third party spokesperson for added perspective and a sense of balance:

Keith Underdown, chairman of the areas Beekeepers’ Association, believes they followed the queen bee after soaring temperatures forced them to relocate. “It’s probable they made a strong colony earlier in the year and that a number of them followed the new queen.”

5. Provide a specific action which people can take if they feel moved by the situation:

“We will be happy to offer discounts of flowers to customers affected by the disruption.”

A final point is to provide as many pictures as you can so that, if possible, you can be in control of the images of your service or the situation being described.

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