PR crises are scary. They can threaten your brand’s reputation, cause you to lose customers, and prevent you from effectively communicating with them. But they don’t have to be impossible to recover from. Here’s how. 

What Is a PR Crisis?

A PR crisis is any situation where the media reports negatively on a business or is confused about what the company stands for. A single event, such as a natural disaster or the death of a celebrity can cause a PR crisis. It may also be caused by multiple events that create an overall negative perception of your brand including accidents and natural disasters, product messes and scandals, malevolent attacks, and more.

Brand crises occur when an organization’s brand is damaged due to negative press coverage about its products or services. For example, if a company was found guilty of deceptive advertising practices during its marketing campaigns then this would be considered a brand crisis because customers may stop buying from that company because they feel deceived by their purchase decision.” 

A PR crisis can affect your brand’s reputation, your business’s bottom line, and even your employees’ morale. For example, if you’re the brand of a new luxury car and your launch is delayed because of mechanical issues, this would be considered a crisis. You may have lost credibility with your customers and they may not be as excited about buying your product as they were before the delay.


What Are The Types of PR Crises?

No one wants to be the brand that gets caught up in a PR crisis. It can be a challenge to recover from a PR crisis, especially if it’s not handled properly.

1. Accidents and Natural Disasters – These are the most common forms of PR crises. If a company is involved in an accident or natural disaster, it will suffer a backlash from customers and the public at large. However, if it happens to a smaller company, then it may not have much of an effect on its brand perception. The challenge here is recovering from this type of crisis quickly so that your business can move on with its plans for growth.

2. Product, Service, or Staff Mess – This type of crisis occurs when a product or service goes wrong due to negligence or error by a company employee who was not properly trained on how to perform their job duties correctly.” Be prepared for these types of incidents by having an incident response plan in place so that you can quickly address any potential issues with your products or services (like a recall). If you’re handling such an issue well and quickly your customers will likely see this as an example of how seriously you take their concerns and care about them as individuals who matter deeply enough for you to make sure their needs are met before anything else happens.

3. Scandals: When a company or individual is accused of engaging in unethical behavior, it can cause an immediate negative impression in the eyes of consumers. This can range from corruption to sexual misconduct to plagiarism. Scandals can be very damaging to a company’s image and reputation. For example, hiring a CEO who later gets arrested for insider trading) or because of something they did not do (like making racist remarks).

4. Malevolent Attacks: These are when someone attacks your brand without any malicious intent—they’re just being mean and spiteful. These include fake news stories that spread negative information about a company or its products, negative reviews posted on social media sites like Yelp or Amazon, and even hacking into an organization’s website or computer systems to deface it with racist slurs or pornography images. They might try to hurt your reputation through social media posts, blog posts, or other online channels.

The Challenge: Recovering from a PR Crisis

If you’re wondering what the best way to measure the impact of a PR crisis on brand perception is, one of the best ways is to look at how long it takes for people to return to their normal routine after a crisis. When you’re trying to measure the impact of a PR crisis on brand perception, you need to be aware of the challenges that come with recovering from a PR disaster.

First, let’s start with the fact that it’s hard to measure how people perceive your brand after something like this happens. That’s because there are so many factors at play when it comes to brand perception, and some of them are unpredictable. 

For example, if you’re dealing with a scandal that involves a large number of people, like some kind of workplace discrimination or harassment scandal (think Harvey Weinstein), then there will probably be more than one way to measure brand perception after that event has played out. Another example is if your company was found guilty of violating federal labor laws, then it might affect their ability to recruit employees for years to come; but if they were found guilty for some other reason or if they weren’t even implicated in any wrongdoing then the impact could be negligible at best. 

But even if the company wasn’t found guilty of any wrongdoing at all, it might still suffer from loss of business and reputation due to negative publicity surrounding its handling of the incident itself.

Two case studies show how news cycles shape purchasing decisions;

The first is a study on how consumers’ perception of companies was affected by the scandal involving Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. 

According to New York Times, in this case, consumers were more likely to purchase products from a company that did not have any ties with Cambridge Analytica after news broke about them using data from Facebook without permission from users. New York Times reported that  “The documents proved that the firm, where the former Trump aide Stephen K. Bannon was a board member, used data improperly obtained from Facebook to build voter profiles. 

The news put Cambridge under investigation and thrust Facebook into its biggest crisis ever. 

On the other hand, there was no significant effect on consumers’ perception of Procter & Gamble after they announced their decision to stop making Pampers diapers due to concerns about their plastic microbeads being absorbed into oceans.

Examples of Crisis Management Survey Questions

You can do this by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. How will the crisis affect my company’s reputation?
  2. What have we done to prepare for this type of crisis?
  3. What can we do to mitigate any damage?

How To Conduct a PR Crisis Survey With Formplus

Nowadays, most companies are trying to develop their brands by using the tools available online. If you want to know how much your brand is affected by a PR crisis, you can use Formplus to create a survey and get the results right away.

First, create an account on Formplus and log in. Then select “Templates or Forms” from the main menu. Formplus has over 1000 survey form templates, so you have nothing to worry about. Select one of the options and continue with your survey creation process by filling in all required fields.

Once you have finished creating your survey, click on the “Save” button so that it will be saved as a draft version for later use. Then click on the “Share Survey” button located at the bottom toolbar so that everyone can see this new survey on your company profile page.

How To Measure Brand Perception before and after a PR Crisis

PR crises can be a costly and difficult experience for brands. If you’re in the midst of one now or are planning to handle one in the future, here are some tips on how to measure the impact of your crisis on brand perception:

  1. Measure Brand Perception before and after a crisis: Start by measuring brand perception before and after a crisis. This can be done by asking people in your target audience about their feelings about your brand, as well as asking current customers how they feel about it. This will give you insight into how people were feeling before the crisis occurred, as well as how they feel now that the crisis has passed.
  2. Take a survey of your customers and ask them how they feel about your brand after a crisis, before and after.
  3. On an ongoing basis, ask your customers what they think about what you’re doing to improve things and make up for any damage caused by the crisis.
  4. Measure social media follower counts: If possible, measure follower counts on social media platforms where your company posts content related to its core message and/or products such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram before and after a PR crisis occurs so that you can compare between those periods of time to determine whether there have been any changes in terms of followership numbers due to the crisis’ effects on your business’ reputation (if any).


How Do I Prepare For a PR Crisis In The Future?

You need to prepare for a PR crisis in the future by asking yourself a few questions. 

  1. Identify the PR crisis you wish to prepare for
  2. Conduct a survey to determine what your customers would like to learn about your company and its products/services
  3. Create a survey that includes questions that will help you gather information about the type of crisis you are preparing for (e.g., product recall, negative press coverage)
  4. Share your survey with customers and ask them what they think is important information they want you to know.

Another thing to consider is what you would change about the way you handle PR crises now if you could. How do you think your company’s reputation might be impacted by a PR crisis such as the one we’ve just experienced?

Then, ask about your marketing strategy and how it has worked for you so far. Finally, ask about your PR strategy and how it is tracking with your goals.

The more information you gather, the better equipped you will be to handle any PR crises that may come up down the road.


The PR crisis survey is an important tool that can help you measure the impact of a PR crisis on your brand perception. It also helps you identify ways to mitigate the damage and improve overall brand perception. After reading this article, you should be able to mitigate any PR crisis your company may face.


  • Olayemi Jemimah Aransiola
  • on 8 min read


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