Paul Mackman, vice chair of the Eastern Board Chartered Institute of Marketing, gives his top tips on how to prevent and, if necessary, mitigate a PR crisis in your business.

Mr Mackman, managing director of Sudbury communications agency Mackman Group, said: 'All organisations, regardless of size, from SMEs to global corporations, need to be prepared to respond to any type of PR crisis quickly and efficiently. The only way to do this properly is by being prepared and having a crisis plan in place. Quite simply, if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.'

Here are his top tips for crisis management:

Three tips – Prior to a crisis

Crisis team: Create a team that plans, implements and manages your crisis communication protocols.

Crisis scenarios: Brainstorm every and any 'worse-case' scenario for your business – no idea is too far-fetched. Identify and set out clear protocols for how you would approach each situation.

Approved representatives: Identify key members of your organisation that can be spokespeople, what crisis level they would deal with, and make sure they're trained to appropriately represent your business during a crisis.

Three tips – During a crisis

Take responsibility and apologise: Don't try to hide the crisis. Be accountable, take responsibility and apologise. Doing or saying nothing won't help the situation – meet the crisis head on.

Take action: You can't change what has happened, but you can show how the crisis will change your business. Tell people what you will do to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Monitor and respond: Social media is where your crisis will gather momentum. Have a team monitoring social media as well as all news platforms so you can proactively respond with approved key messages.