PRSA Counselors Academy Is Here For You
March 20, 2020
By PRSA

By Mar Junge, Senior Leaders Team

More than 75 PR agency owners, principals, and senior leaders called in to PRSA’s Counselors Academy COVID-19 online meeting this week to share advice and best practices. If you’re a CAPRSA member, you can link to the recording on the CAPRSA Facebook page. If not, here’s a summary of the call:

Advice for your clients:

  • Encourage your clients to plan for the worst-case business scenario. This forces them to think through minor scenarios. Perhaps their worst case is that the global supply chain crashes and burns. Or their executive leadership team all gets sick at the same time. What will they do to help their company survive?
  • When making decisions, encourage them to lead with their values. What really matters? Their people. Even the most complex decisions get easier when they go back to their values and mission statement.
  • Be aware of employee confidentiality issues. Check with HR before making announcements asking employees health-related questions.
  • Use the RASCI Matrix to assign responsibilities and cover all bases before implementing a crisis plan, project, announcement, etc.:

R – Responsible – who is responsible for carrying out the entrusted task?

A – Accountable (also Approver) – who is responsible for the whole task and who is responsible for what has been done?

S – Support – who provides support during the implementation of the activity / process / service?

C – Consulted – who can provide valuable advice or consultation for the task?

I – Informed – who should be informed about the task progress or the decisions in the task?

Advice to agency leaders

  • To continue to provide value to clients, make sure they know you’re available to help them with consultation and planning.
  • Be sensitive to the uncertainty we’re all facing. We don’t know what we don’t know. People are frightened, stressed and concerned for themselves and their families.
  • Expect that we will have at least 60 more days with no “business as usual.” Follow the advice you gave your clients and do a worst-case scenario plan for your agency.
  • As for pitching, there’s just one lead story. So hit the pause button on marketing unless there is something critical that needs to be done for regulatory purposes. Don’t let a client push you to do projects you don’t feel are appropriate. For example, think about how insensitive a new product announcement could be perceived. Ask yourself if this the right thing to be doing, given your target audience’s high level of stress.

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