Crisis and Issues Management in the Digital AgeJames Hacking Rachel CatanachVice President SVP & Senior Partner, Managing DirectorBlueCurrent Group Fleishman Hillard
This presentation I. CRISIS MYTHS & LEGENDS III. THE ‘GOLDEN’ HOUR II. LISTEN TO YOUR AUDIENCE IV. CASE STUDIES
What is a Crisis?• Any problem or disruption that triggers negative responses and greater scrutiny.• Anything that disturbs the natural flow of business and – if recognized too late and addressed improperly – can jeopardize an organization’s very existence.
Crisis Myths The Court ofYou can’t You can You lose Law is morepredict or control a crisis control by important than engaging withprevent a by withholding the Court of social media crisis information Public Opinion
Crisis Truths The primary The longer a A serious focus in crisisMost crises crisis goes on, problem All crises can management can be the more becomes a be mitigated should be the predicted damage it crisis once it’s court of public does publicized opinion
The Internet is a Crisis “Game-Changer”One person can “light Crises play on a Pace of events the fire” global stage accelerates 6
Yet the Internet Remains Poorly Understood, Under-Utilized in a Crisis Another channel… A burden, a similar to print media, “necessary evil” television, etc. A “bolt-‐on” tool, added to a tradi;onal communica;ons strategy 7
Scenario• You are the Communications Manager for MumCom
9.00 AM Wednesday• Michael is a 15 year old diabetes patient. He has a doctor’s appointment today
10 AM Wednesday• Michael gets to the doctor and it is decided he should get a brand new blood glucose monitor. It is a MumCom monitor.
10:15 AM Wednesday• Michael gets home. Mum leaves. He unwraps the packaging. He notices something that’s not right.
10:30 AM Wednesday• Michael text messages Mum. He says “OMG, u won’t BLEVE – Earwig in my new glucose meter.”• He sends along a picture…
10:45 AM Wednesday• Mum is appalled… After a quick call to the doctor’s office, she takes time to update her Facebook status… she posts the picture on Facebook… “OMG, my son just unwrapped his new glucose monitor and there was a dead earwig in it. Can u believe that?”
10:45 AM Wednesday• Doc, a prominent doctor, specializes in pediatric diabetes & is a member of the online physician community Doctors.net.hk.• Doc goes to his computer and poses the question – Has anyone ever found an earwig in a MumCom glucose monitor, cos I did…
11:00 AM Wednesday• Several of Mum’s 217 friends comment…• One friend asks who made the meter?• Mum replies “MumCom!”
11:10 AM Wednesday• Diabetic friend of Mum’s sees this and posts on her Twitter account• She links it to Mum’s Facebook page so everyone can see the picture.• PLS RT - @MICHEALSDMUM’s kid opened MumCom glucose meter with earwig in it
11:15 AM Wednesday• Dad.ie– a prominent blogger and tweeter who follows MumMichael’s diabetic friend on Twitter sees the tweet and re-tweets it… he has a LOT of followers
How did this happen? Investor Investors Message Boards General Public Investors General Public Investors General Friends Friends Public Investors Media Friends General Public Friends Advocacy Blogger General Groups Public Friends General Mum Blogger Public Blogger More General Tweets Public Michael Facebook One Blogger Blogger Member Twi1er ship Membership Other docs Professional Doc Socie4es Member ship Other Doctors.n docs Member ship et.hk Docs Begin Other docs Consumer Twee4ng Other Groups Membership docs
Five Crisis Principles Forget aboutPlanning, process Denial is not a buying anand practice wins river in Egypt extinguisher after the day the fire starts If you don’t supply Use online as a the information - crisis tool – now – the media website, search will look elsewhere
What are the realities for communicators? Sometimes C-Suite who difficult to see doesn’t Not enough the wood forMore pressure understand the resource, the trees - not – on 24/7 new demands budget all bad of the digital comments age online are equal
Use all your Channels Visuals Youtube B-roll Website/darksite/microsite Search / paid ads Infographics Traditional media relations Third parties Be Transparent and Ask Questions
Readiness Checklist. 1. Do you have an accurate sentiment analysis tool? (machine/ human?) ! 2. Do you have a plan for organizational education?! 3. Is there a process map for issue escalation?! 4. Do you have the roles and responsibilities in place for issues management?! 5. Who is part of your issues/ crisis response team?! 6. Have you run an issue or crisis ﬁre-drill in the last 3 months?!
The The ‘Golden’ Hour Crisis “Golden” Hour• Ensure all appropriate functions are informed and present in the crisis planning – Legal, HR, operations, communications – based on the nature of the crisis• Find out the facts of the situation as they are known – use the 5Ws (Who, What, When, Where, Why and How) to guide the discussion• Work out your current position and initial response• Begin/ramp up monitoring (traditional and social media)• Determine what is the intended result: – Six months from now, when this crisis is in the rear-view mirror, what do you want investors, customers, employees and stakeholders to say about the company? How does your values statement/credo/mission statement inform this answer?
The The ‘Golden’ Hour Crisis “Golden” Hour• Reach agreement on an initial action plan: – Identify all relevant audiences, external and internal – Identify external allies and champions as well as opponents or enemies – Identify the best conduits for reaching each audience – Determine who will be the “face” speaking to those audiences – Determine how and when interactions with internal and external audiences will occur – Consider appropriateness of BAU marketing activities and Senior Executive appearances – Determine the materials necessary to support the communication: FAQs, fact sheet and holding statement at a minimum. Think PESO (Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned)
The Crisis “Golden” Hour The ‘Golden’ Hour• Have a frank discussion about the hurdles or roadblocks to implementing the plan and the best way to overcome them• Determine what channels, discussions need to be monitored and how to respond to what monitoring finds• Create a system for interaction and for rapid approval of plans and materials (a war room) – responses within an hour• Determine how best to measure progress and ultimately success
The Crisis “Golden” Hour The ‘Golden’ Hour• When it comes to social media think about the following: – Set up notification systems: create a portal or set up a crisis webpage to deliver immediate, authorized news from the official source – Identify spokespersons: Designate social media specialists to represent the company and respond to specific social media channels – Keep your messages simple: No matter how complex the situation, reduce the message to about four points and address it in few words so it can be carried across platforms
The Crisis “Golden” Hour The ‘Golden’ Hour– Have a flexible editorial calendar and think about delivery: Schedule all social communications in advance and deliver messages with a sincere tone appropriate for the channel– Keep social media channels open: never delete comments or shut down pages as that can exacerbate the situation– Keep updating ‘normal’ posts on social media platforms to show external audiences that business is as usual– Engage an agency: The issue may be bigger than your own available experience or resources
Toyota crisis – taking the official line Paid Search ads Paid Search ads based on bid based on bid price price Organic SEO listings Toyota Recall “Toyota Takes Care of its Customers. Read the FAQs at Toyota.com”
Toyota crisis – competitor strategies in Search• Competitors respond with generic ads Paid Search ads May the Best car Win “On New GMC Models, Assurance Comes Standard. Get Details Here.” May the Best car Win “See How Buick Stacks Up to the Competition. May the Best Car Win.”
Toyota crisis – competitor strategies in Search• Competitors respond where it hurts, emphasizing reliability of their brands vs. Toyota Paid Search ads Consider a New Mazda “Check out the reliable vehicles from Mazda and find a great deal.” Ford Vehicles “Drive Safe and Reliable Ford Cars. Browse Large Inventories Today.”
Toyota crisis – other strategies in Search• Lawyers inflame the situation Paid Search ads Toyota Recall 2010 Update “Sudden acceleration danger. Free case review for injured.” Toyota Accident Victims “Toyota Sudden Acceleration Recall. Free Evaluation, 1-866-***-****”
Interesting• Toyota did not rely much on PPC ads to its strong dealership network• Toyota covered main keywords but missed the long tail searches like “Toyota sucks”, “Toyota gas pedal”, “Toyota investigation”