Crisis Management: The Other Side of PR
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It’s game five of the NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals and one of your clients happens to be a player on the visiting team. The rest of the team has wrapped up pre-game but he decides during the Canadian National Anthem that he needs just a few more jump shots to get ready. Almost immediately your phone rings and you know, a few days if not weeks, will now be spent repairing the reputation of your client. This repairing, depending on the severity, may even include a lot of communication with sponsors that might pressure to pull their sponsorships following this incident.
Crisis Management is just that: management. There’s no way to avoid every crisis. Maybe your client’s restaurant was just slammed for an outbreak of E Coli. Or your company, a nationwide chain, announced an extremely low earnings report igniting a rumor of possible store closings. The crisis will happen.
We’ve monitored our fair share of crises that have been handled both professionally and poorly. As with any conversation, it’s very important to grasp the entire conversation, not just the hashtags or the exact mentions of your brand. Specifically, you need to know all of the possible times that your brand or your client’s brand is mentioned in the social media landscape. And, don’t forget about posts from your employees that may also be influencing for the good or bad.
A global PR Agency that recently won Agency of the Year wanted to know about the conversation and buzz surrounding one of their clients located in Mexico City. Nothing was happening with their client’s hashtags, and the conversation seemed to be calm and quiet. But, with a little research and listening, we picked up on a keyword–not a hashtag–that was linking their client to a global, multi-billion dollar lawsuit. Inside of their digital conversation, these keywords were the driving force. Not a hashtag, not a mention of a specific twitter handle. And, we’ve found that this isn’t rare occurrence.
In fact, it’s common to see negative mentions or conversations of a brand floating around, hidden because the person who posted it didn’t tag the company or use a hashtag. That’s the gap in the data that’s filled with careful listening.
This hypothetical graph breaks down the types of mentions. We’re all familiar with getting tagged, or following a hashtag, but what about following certain keywords that may or may not be brand related? How do these keywords affect our reputation or are associated with our brand and reputation?
These are the invisible conversations, the ones that your social media tracker isn’t picking up, that are crucial to knowing the conversation surrounding you and your client’s brand. These conversations are out there, they take place, but do you see them? How do you act on them? Posts on blogs, articles, and RSS feeds are not usually tagged with an @, or follow a certain #. These conversations can be game changers, but only if they’re found and capitalized upon.
Bottom line: keep an eye out for conversations that you’re not picking up because it’s not linked to a hashtag or brand. Those just may be the conversations that make or break your brand.
Monitoring Your Employees
These crises have lasting effects on the clients and brands they surround. For another example, look at what happened with UFC. The recent Conor McGregor debacle shows that anytime an athlete or employee goes rogue, posting to his or her social channels “accidentally,” there is a big lash back from the athlete’s company, fans, and audience. In this case, McGregor may get completely removed from the next UFC Card, UFC 200.
And for good reason. There wasn’t much chatter about the UFC Union until April 25 when McGregor tweeted that he was retiring. His mistaken tweet led to a major uptick in positive conversation, not only on CM UFC 200 topics, but also UFC Union topics. An hour after he posted his negative “not retired” Facebook post, the negative sentiment in the chatter on those same two topics jumped to 46%.
Bottom line: your employees may have the power to sway the conversation both positively and negatively. By understanding and knowing the conversation, you can turn almost any negative into a positive.
NUVI isn’t just a bunch of pretty displays. It’s a social-media intelligence tool. It’s the power at your fingertips to find the whole picture of your crisis in the social media landscape and the data to act clearly and decisively. When you’ve got a crisis on your hands, make sure you grasp the whole conversation, or it may slip out of your control.
Christian has made a great transition from the NFL to becoming a NUVI Team Leader. He loves football, stays involved doing local TV and Radio, and loves his wife and two kids.
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