How is your crisis plan looking?
Tesla, Pimlico Plumbers, Dixon Carphone, WPP, Lush... every week seems to bring another brand crisis, thrusting businesses into the limelight for all the wrong reasons.
The catalyst for each crisis vary but the damage to the brand can be significant. Negative media coverage can hit a business where it hurts: a drop in share price, cancelled contracts or jobs on the line.
A bad story is an opportunity for good PR
When a brand is prepared, they can actually come out of a potential crisis with an enhanced reputation. This was seen most recently with McDonald’s, who faced a potential backlash when two young Asian customers put up a poster featuring themselves in a restaurant to highlight the lack of Asian faces in the company’s marketing.
McDonald’s jumped straight into crisis management mode, working with the Ellen DeGeneres Show to present the men with cheques for $25,000 each and invite them to star in a marketing campaign to help address their diversity problem.
The trouble with ‘bunker mode’
In the wake of a crisis, too many brands fall into the 'bunker mode' trap, often taking legal advise that invariably advises them to deliver a carefully-worded but bland statement that never admits to any wrongdoing. Whilst this might make sense legally, it can be disastrous for your brand reputation.
“What makes sense from a legal perspective, can be disastrous for your brand reputation.”
This is why crisis planning is critical in aligning the business internally on how you would manage different scenarios and ensuring all the proper processes are in place.
The questions you need to ask
Do you know who would be your spokesperson in a crisis?
Are they media trained?
Is your messaging agreed should the worst happen?
Do you have social media monitoring systems in place to identify any trouble brewing in online communities?
Do your front line staff understand who to speak to about customer issues that have the potential to become a media story?
These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself as a business. And if you can't answer a confident yes to them, you need a crisis plan.
Preparing for the worst
There are a number of things your crisis plan should cover, such as what potential issues lie ahead, processes and approval systems to ensure a quick and effective response; key messages mapped to different scenarios to steer the story in the direction you wish; spokesperson training and how you will handle and monitor social media.
If you need help identifying potentially negative stories, building reactive messaging or mapping out better processes, please get in touch.