Crises are inevitable, but they’re not unstoppable.
To handle crises correctly, it’s important to think of possible scenarios.
What can potentially be harmful, where can that happen, when, and how you’ll react to that situation. That way you won’t make rushed decisions in the moment of crisis which could only make things worse.
In other words, you need a crisis communication strategy.
Crisis communication is a part of PR efforts to minimize the damage to an individual, organization, or company when facing challenges. It’s important to develop a great and informed strategy to reduce the damage.
When the crisis emerges, media monitoring is the way to go.
Nowadays, social media platforms are the birthplace of most crises. The customers have the power and their “outrage” on social media can cause many problems for brands. Whether it’s a video of a rude employee, broken product, or something else, the minute it’s posted online, you’re probably going to be in trouble. Especially if you don’t notice the problem right away, and the snowball continues to roll.
That’s why the one thing that it’s most important in crisis communication is speed. The faster you react, the higher chances you have to save the day. If you prolong the response time, your customer will think that you don’t care and will resent you even more.
Here comes another important aspect. It also matters what kind of response you give. Make sure your response is thoughtful, understanding, and that you put your customer’s needs first.
This is where media monitoring comes in handy!
With media monitoring, you’ll be able to see every time someone mentions your brand online. Regardless if they tagged you in the post or not.
So, if a video of a rude employee is posted online, you’ll know right away. It’s sort of similar to detecting the patient zero. You want to pinpoint where the crisis started, so you can mitigate it before it spreads like a wildfire.
By having alerts on in the tool, you’ll get notified every time someone mentions your brand. Furthermore, Spike alerts will let you know if mentions of your brand start growing unexpectedly.
With those features, you can be sure that you’ll be able to detect a (potential) online crisis if one appears.
Monitoring brand reputation during a crisis
Monitoring your brand reputation is always important but during the crisis, it’s a must. Remember how Dove had a reputation crisis after their commercial was described as racist? Or when Victoria’s Secret top marketing chief Ed Razek said some controversial things in an interview?
With media monitoring, you can easily track your brand’s online reputation. Reports provide you with the necessary information that will help you make better and informed decisions to get out of a crisis. And stay out of a crisis.
For example, in the reports, you can use the Word cloud to detect which words do people associate with your brand when they mention you online. In Dove’s case, it was the word “racist”. With this information, you’ll know what you did wrong and on which aspects to focus on in the mitigation process.
Also, in the reports, you can find a list of the top 10 influencers that are the right fit for your brand. You can collaborate with them and with their help try to solve the crisis. Keep in mind that no one will rush to collaborate with a brand in crisis, so make sure you present a constructive, thorough plan to them.
Another great feature in the reports for solving the crisis is that you’ll be able to see what channels are people using to talk about your current situation. With this information, you’ll know on which channels you should respond so that your message actually reaches the target audience. Otherwise, your getting-out-of-a-crisis plan is useless.
Monitoring crisis development
Just as much is important to track your brand reputation during the crisis, it is also crucial to follow how the crisis itself is developing.
You need to know if there are some additional potential problems you should address or if your efforts to mitigate the crisis are making an impact. By making custom reports you will be able to isolate the problem, focus on solving it, and learning from this experience so it doesn’t repeat.
Sentiment analysis allows you to track whether the public reaction is still negative or if it’s moving towards positive, or at least neutral sentiment. You can choose an automatic, effective, or manual sentiment. The automatic sentiment is not 100% correct because the computer can’t recognize sarcasm, for example. With manual sentiment, you can choose mentions and classify them as you perceive it. The effective sentiment is the combination of the manual and automatic sentiment.
If your sentiment continues to be negative, you should reevaluate your strategy.
Learn from others’ mistakes
Crises will not only happen to you, but to your competitors as well. Track the development of those situations and learn from them. That way you won’t make the same mistakes that they did.
In this case, you can use competitive analysis. There you can see how your competitor is dealing with the crisis and how the crisis affects its brand reputation. Also, you can compare your position as oppose to the competitor and find the opportunities for your brand.
For example, discover influencers that are unhappy with your competitor and offer them your product or services.
To sum up
Dealing with the unexpected crisis can be extremely difficult. In moments of crisis, the pressure can be high, and the chances of making mistakes increase. By preparing for a potential crisis and using the right tools to mitigate it, you can get out of the crisis unscattered. Let valuable data be your helping hand during the crisis and a guide for better future decisions after the crisis is over.
Updated on May 19th 2020.
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This guide gives you a quick, but comprehensive overview of managing a PR crisis in this digital era.
It provides you with a list of four ways you can predict a crisis, as well as good and bad examples of handling a crisis.