Lessons in Crisis Management: What We Learned from Crock-Pot and This is Us

February 08, 2018

Lessons in Crisis Management: What We Learned from Crock-Pot and This is Us

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Warning: If you haven’t been paying attention to ‘This is Us’ over the last few weeks there may be some spoilers in this post.


Crisis Situations are Unpredictable

A crisis can pop up seemingly out of nowhere. Fans of ‘This is Us’ have been anticipating the news of how Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia) was killed. While I’m sure many employees of Crock-Pot are fans of the show, I doubt any of them were biting their nails wondering how the death of Jack was going to affect their brand. However, on January 23rd it was revealed that the beloved character was killed by a fire started by a faulty slow cooker.

NUVI was able to track the conversation on Crock-Pot. That big jump in mentions is during and after the big reveal. You can also see that while overall mentions went up, the negative sentiment around Crock-Pot was spiking really quickly as well.

Knowing about a crisis in real-time makes the difference

It’s interesting to note that when we only looked at people that were tagging Crock-Pot in the posts about them, that the volume of mentions didn’t jump up until the morning of Jan 25th. That’s 1.5 days after the reveal, and when the majority of people were talking about Crock-Pot. My guess is the point that people started tagging Crock-Pot in posts was when news outlets started posting their stories about how people were reacting to Crock-Pot, by that time the largest reaction to the reveal had already passed. In a crisis situation it’s critical to know what is happening and when. If you are waiting for people to tell you there’s a crisis, it’s probably too late.

Using social listening is one way to know about a crisis in real-time. Getting alerts when the sentiment of your brand changes, or the overall conversation spikes is a great way to know when the conversation around your brand changes immediately, so the appropriate action can be taken.

Understand the conversation so you can react appropriately

Once it’s been determined that there is, in fact, a crisis happening, it’s important to make fast, smart decisions on how to react, and what actions to take. I personally love the what Crock-Pot chose to respond to the situation. Their responses first validated the sadness that fans of ‘This is Us’ were experiencing by expressing their own dismay over the loss of Jack Pearson, then stood by their product as being totally safe. From there they were able to work with the show staff and actors to put together some messaging about the fictional event and were even able to have Ventimiglia do a commercial with him that aired shortly before the Super Bowl introducing the hashtag #crockpotisinnocent.


While this situation was probably pretty clear to the team at Crock-Pot. It can be easy to interpret things you are hearing incorrectly. Without the right information at hand and understanding where the conversation had come from, it could have been easy for Crock-Pot to react poorly. Having access to all the conversation happening around your brand, seeing trending terms, hashtags, and influencers in the conversation makes it possible to understand the whole conversation around a situation so you can make the appropriate response.

While we don’t know the tools Crock-Pot uses to manage social media, we can easily see how using social listening in a crisis situation (even when the crisis involves fictional situations on a TV show) can help brands stay on top of their brand and know quickly how to respond.

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