Social networks have changed the way users share and consume information. And for communication professionals and therefore for brands, these networks offer new ways of providing content, strengthening relationships and fostering interactions with real and potential consumers. But these facilities can also play against by posing a greater number of possible crisis scenarios.
A wrong phrase, a bad moment for an image, or an angry customer can lead to a brand crisis in the middle of the digital age. And just as they serve to build reputations, social networks (and the internet) can also destroy them, at breakneck speeds. To learn more about how to manage a brand crisis on a digital level, Merca2.0 has spoken with Marina Fernández, Community Manager of Atrevia , in Spain.
MF: When we refer to a crisis in the digital sphere of every brand, we are talking about the danger to its reputation. That is why, when we see that it can be United Arab Emirates Phone Number List damaged or hurt by an event that happened in the offline field that reaches the virtual world, or by an inappropriate comment made both from your profile and from a user referring to you, we know that We must act quickly to protect our brand from the future of comments and news that are triggered.
Merca2.0: What can be the consequences on a brand’s reputation in a digital crisis?
MF: Any entity or institution must be prepared to face an unexpected and difficult situation. Crises represent a turning point for the company in terms of its communication and its status, since it can be a great opportunity to consolidate the values of the brand, demonstrating our responsibility and effectiveness in the most complicated moments (if we carry out correct communication ). That is why the main thing is not to be afraid of these situations.
The worst thing that can happen to us is these circumstances is to lose, in the face of our users in the digital environment (which inevitably has an impact on the offline world) is to lose our best asset in the face of the client: trust. It is the raw material that makes our messages have validity and impact, which in turn is what unites our target audience.
Merca2.0: How do you react digitally to a brand crisis?
MF: We have to make it clear that everything communicates, that is, by doing nothing you are also transmitting an image, although not a very good one. Therefore, we must foresee the different actions that we have to carry out so that the spectrum of the crisis is as favorable as possible for us, and does not suppose a complete debacle for the image of the brand.
The assessment of the situation will depend on the image we project in the media that pick up the news. The feeling and effectiveness of our actions to contain and reduce the difficulty of the situation will emerge from it. The information offices must know what information to provide to the press and what not. Any poorly planned detail can lead to the invalidation of the comprehensive strategy of the crisis.
That is why, when the crisis occurs, the organization must adopt a series of guidelines for action that will serve as a common thread to reach the solution of the crossroads of the entity’s image in the existing conflict. These are:
- Carry out an internal analysis of the seriousness of the problem: it is essential to analyze the reasons and consequences that the problem may present for the organization. If we know the causes, finding solutions will become a simpler process. In the same way, all the information we collect after the observation will help us to improve the control mechanisms and to solve the internal dissonances that could have been damaging the stability of the brand, and thus adjust the perception of reality, with the perception of what we would like our organization to be.
- Centralize communications: all the information that the company provides to external media must come from a single source. We cannot afford that there are several communication channels that can tell different versions of the discourse that has been specified in the communication plan previously prepared. This spokesperson can send messages through a press conference, statements, statements or interviews; But it is also a participant in the online repercussion of the consequences of said crisis, that is, the company can communicate its message in the same way through its accounts on social networks, without intermediaries, and in the same way check the controversy or opinions in situ. that has triggered the problem.
- Establish a concrete plan of action: nothing should be left to chance. The entire communication structure has to be represented in the general communication plan. Both the management and the designated spokesperson must be aware of their role in the Brother Cell Phone List conflict, as well as the actions, attitudes and message that they must transmit (both verbal and non-verbal) so that coherence coexists with the purpose of all this, that the crisis does not tarnish the image and projection that the company could have.
- Do not delay the answer: as soon as the problem arises, we must stop its promulgation and speculation by giving our version of the question. That is why it is so important to have an action plan, because in this way, being clear about what we should do and say, the whole process becomes faster and more effective. The first step is convenient that we take them, thus making us control the rhythms and messages from the beginning. Of course, there must always be an answer as silence is not an option.
- Do not neglect internal communication: this is the moment, more than ever, the organization needs the support and commitment of all those who make up the company. For this, the main thing is that they are duly informed at all times of the events that are taking place in the process, and we must also promote belonging to consolidate that emotional union between employee and company. Likewise, if we are able to foster that feeling and stay together in adversity, we will have eliminated an entry point for leaks, rumors, and other confidentiality oversights.
- Continuous analysis of the situation: it is essential to be aware of everything that is said and said about our actions and the image that is presented of us to the public opinion. This is especially beneficial for social networks, since it provides a fast and effective follow-up, in which to highlight the intervention of influencers in this field and even assess the impact of having been a national or even global TT (Trending Topic).
- Honest balance of the reality of the process: this situation should help us to learn an important lesson about how to coordinate a difficult situation and how to be able to prevent its effects, therefore, this balance must be real and honest with ourselves, since this is the only way to learn. Based on the results that we collect in the analysis stage, it is convenient to make a report describing the process step by step, with full transparency and including all the data in detail from the beginning to the resolution (or not) of the problem.
Merca2.0: How are brand crises prevented online?
MF: We must differentiate controllable and uncontrollable crises. Everything related to the internal level of the company (corporate communication, news about the company’s performance, messages launched from your channels … etc.) are situations that can be controlled by the company. In this sense, we must bear in mind the general communication plan of the company, which will undoubtedly be the style guide that we must adhere to so as not to deviate from our messages and objectives.
But on the other hand we have situations that we cannot control and that appear to us unexpectedly. In these cases, the best way to deal with this is to have at hand the crisis manual that the company has had to prepare beforehand to clarify the guidelines, the role of each department or person in solving the crisis, and an argument effective with standard questions. How do you know that these guidelines are correct? Well, it is advisable to carry out various drills to verify its true effectiveness, and also to help those involved to handle themselves in those circumstances.