The FSB is urging the UK’s 5.5 million smaller businesses and the self-employed to put in place expert crisis PR management tools following BA’s ‘PR nightmare’.
Almost no smaller businesses have access to professional PR advice, despite loss of reputation now being one of the biggest risks to businesses in the UK.
The IT problems suffered by BA at the weekend have left the airline facing a huge compensation bill and having to re-build its reputation.
Tens of thousands of passengers were left for hours without information and their dissatisfaction and frustration was clear on social media.
BA’s situation is a clear example of why companies of all sizes need to have a good crisis communications plan in place.
BA’s nightmare weekend came just a month after American Airlines also hit the headlines after a passenger was removed from one of its aircraft.
But it’s not just airlines that have had a bumpy ride. Manufacturing businesses are at risk from product recalls, which require a specific type of PR management. There is also a rising risk of damage caused by data breaches.
Despite this, almost no small businesses have access to professional in-house PR advice, and very few have access to an external PR agency. The number of small businesses asking FSB for advice in this area has risen over the last year.
Dave Stallon, commercial director of FSB, said: “New communication technologies mean potential reputational issues have the ability to escalate dramatically and swiftly. Social media, round-the-clock news media, and data breach threats increasingly pose risks to businesses’ reputations. It’s crucial that all businesses have effective means of dealing with this.”