Crisis Communication for Your Community

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Firebelly Marketing's Duncan Alney presented Crisis Communication for Your Community at the 2010 Brainstorming Sessions in Dallas, TX.

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Crisis Communication for Your Community

  1. 1. THE RESIDENT REF: Crisis Communication for your Community Presented at Brainstorming 2010
  2. 2. Duncan Alney President Firebelly Marketing www.firebellymarketing.com duncan@firebellymarketing.com 317-557-4460 @firebelly
  3. 3. #firebellyCrisis
  4. 4. Firebelly is a social marketing agency in Broad Ripple focused on: • content creation • conversation development • community management • monitoring • reputation management Clients include:
  5. 5. WHAT IS A CRISIS?
  6. 6. A “crisis,” in public relations terms, is any event that draws intense, negative media coverage and interferes with normal business activity. Crises can cost organizations millions of dollars to repair or can potentially put them out of business for good.
  7. 7. EXAMPLES OF CRISES
  8. 8. EXAMPLES OF CRISES • Fire in a waste management facility • Bacteria outbreak in restaurant • Executive accused of insider trading • Community shooting • Charges of illegal financial practices • CEO sexually harassing his assistant • New iPhone has no reception
  9. 9. EXAMPLE OF APARTMENT INDUSTRY CRISES
  10. 10. EXAMPLES OF APARTMENT INDUSTRY CRISES • Clubhouse burns down • Suicide in apartment community • Fallout from suing a resident • Crazed resident throws herself on leasing agent’s desk
  11. 11. CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS
  12. 12. Specifically, crisis communication refers to the flow of information during a crisis among an organization, its employees, the media, the government, law enforcement and the general public. Source: American Library Association
  13. 13. PREPARATION & RESPONSE
  14. 14. PREPARATION • Create a detailed crisis communication plan • Put a crisis communication team in place With a plan in place, an organization is more likely to respond to a crisis quickly, take immediate steps to control the massage and successfully regain the public’s trust.
  15. 15. ISSUE VS. CRISIS
  16. 16. Issue is a point of content, debate, or dispute
  17. 17. WHY IS A CRISIS DIFFERENT?
  18. 18. Unexpected
  19. 19. Deep consequences
  20. 20. Unfolds in real time
  21. 21. People expect tranparency
  22. 22. WHAT WE EXPECT FROM COMPANIES
  23. 23. Stability Success Innovation Vision Trustworthy Reputation
  24. 24. CAUSES OF CRISES
  25. 25. CAUSES OF CRISES 51% caused by executives and managers 30% caused by employees 19% caused by outside forces
  26. 26. TYPES OF CRISES
  27. 27. CRISIS PRONE BUSINESSES
  28. 28. CRISIS CATEGORIES
  29. 29. START NOW!
  30. 30. Crises have the potential to ignite a media frenzy - or worse, widespread panic in the general public. The middle of a crisis is no time to start assembling a crisis management team or to begin reaching out to the media. Have an approach that is pre-defined and details chain of command, response time expectations and rally points.
  31. 31. PUT AN CRISIS COMMUNICATION PLAN IN PLACE • A crisis communication team • An internal communications plan • A media strategy • A list of potential weaknesses and plans to address them • Updated information on the organization itself and its programs • Monitoring program
  32. 32. CRISIS COMMUNICATION TEAM Goal: to create and execute the plan Assign specific roles (for example): a. Gather contact info from all employees b. Develop relationships with media and community leaders.
  33. 33. CRISIS COMMUNICATION TEAM The team could include: • The CEO • Experienced PR person • Experienced social media person • Other key executives • Legal
  34. 34. SELECT AN OFFICIAL SPOKESPERSON • Primary contact for media • Runs press conferences • Gives interviews • Experienced with print, broadcast and social • Knowledgeable of organization • Camera ready • Appears calm • Inspires confidence • Able to make complex subjects into key talking points • Able to maneuver the press
  35. 35. CHOOSE INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER • Looks after safety of employees and all stakeholders • Works with police and emergency personnel to communicate essential info to all involved internally • Collects all contact info from all stakeholders • Puts an emergency messaging system in place
  36. 36. Steve Gilbert, Mission Residential
  37. 37. MEDIA STRATEGY • Establish relationships with local and industry media • Establish trust • Pitch stories, ideas and expert commentary • Especially in good times • Keep good records
  38. 38. SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY • Establish relationships with key influencers • Establish trust • Discuss issues and common interests • Support their work • Keep good records
  39. 39. LIST YOUR POTENTIAL WEAKNESSES • Complete an honest self assessment • Predict where potential crisis may arise • Hire an outside firm to look for lapses in ethical or legal judgement • Crisis team reviews and develop talking points
  40. 40. FACT SHEETS & SOCIAL SITES Create fact sheets for distribution to media/ social media in crisis mode.
  41. 41. SOCIAL SITES READY Build social assets that have content and communities
  42. 42. Key Learnings
  43. 43. Rigorously maintain the plan Update it Rehearse it Keep contact info updated Keep fact sheets updated Keep media contacts alive
  44. 44. WHEN A CRISIS OCCURS
  45. 45. WHEN A CRISIS OCCURS • Put your plan into action • Notify authorities • ICM to communicate to ensure safety • ICM to do good info management - protect morale - make them feel like insiders • Develop trust to avoid leaks • Issue internal statements to guide employees if contacted by media • Refer media/social to spokesperson for interview
  46. 46. “GOING PUBLIC”
  47. 47. • Tell it all and tell it fast • Issue a statement and issue a press release • It’s better for negative information to come directly from the organization than from critics in the form of an attack • Make sure you’re prepared with sufficient info and satisfying answers about what you’re going to do to resolve the crisis
  48. 48. • Be honest • Be genuine • Display concern for loss • Try to supply the most the fastest • Try to act in real time
  49. 49. VIRGINIA TECH LESSONS LEARNED Because of the traffic surge to the organization’s homepage during the campus shooting crisis, it’s important to immediately remove all Flash components, images or other heavy files. These files will eat up bandwidth and overload a site’s servers.
  50. 50. VIRGINIA TECH LESSONS LEARNED Stick with text announcements. Virginia Tech tried to post an audio podcast from the univeristy president, but it overloaded the servers.
  51. 51. VIRGINIA TECH LESSONS LEARNED Establish a relationship with another website where you can post crisis information in the event of a server crash - or use your social media outposts (Facebook, Twitter) Virginia Tech posted messages on the Virginia State Police website.
  52. 52. PRESS CONFERENCES
  53. 53. • Invite the media • Provide latest info • Provide fact sheets
  54. 54. • Spokesperson leads • Rehearse beforehand • Have talking points for tough questions
  55. 55. • Show sincerity • Focus on 2-3 simple messages that can be remembered
  56. 56. • Don’t comment on what you don’t know • Never lie
  57. 57. • Offer electronic info on a social platform
  58. 58. BLOGGING DURING A CRISIS
  59. 59. BLOGGING DURING A CRISIS • Use the company blog - immediate - respond quickly with your side of the story - use video and photography for extensive coverage - show a human side - photography of spokesperson - encourage conversation and clarify the message • Keep a stealth blog that you can launch during a crisis • Use the weaknesses to build content for potential crises • Build relationships with bloggers • Counter the traditional media’s POV or lack of response • Respond to all commentary
  60. 60. LISTENING & MONITORING
  61. 61. LISTENING & MONITORING • Listen to what is being said • Launch a monitoring program • Use your company name and keywords
  62. 62. LISTENING & MONITORING TOOLS
  63. 63. SOCIAL MEDIA IN A CRISIS
  64. 64. Social media is public.Your fans and followers have a right to make negative comments. It’s your company’s job to turn those negative comments around and defend yourself - changing it from a negative to a positive situation. Monitor your business on social media and respond to tweets, mentions and comments on your company’s profiles in a timely manner. Social media is real-time. The faster you respond, the better your customer service will look.
  65. 65. Mark Juleen, J.C. Hart
  66. 66. SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS If possible, suggest that customers contact you privately to send their email address or phone number for more in-depth discussion.
  67. 67. SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS On Twitter, you must follow the customer so she can send you a direct message. On Facebook fan pages, you must share a personal profile the customer can send a message to. On YouTube, customers can visit your company’s channel and send a message.
  68. 68. Aside from private messaging, anyone can read conversations between you and your customer. If you provide thorough, great customer service, it can go a long way in impressing your customers - increasing their likelihood of giving you positive referrals. For the other followers watching the situation unfold, it can be a great first impression that leads to a potential new customer.
  69. 69. POST CRISIS
  70. 70. POST CRISIS • Establish assessment group A to see what worked and what did not • Revise the plan if necessary • Establish assessment group B to examine root causes of crisis • Assessment group B to recommend next steps to prevent recurrence • Go public with results of assessment • Build trust with community
  71. 71. Bozuto Case Study
  72. 72. • The fire at Riverwalk Apartments destroyed two of the four buildings at this property. • Three hundred residents were permanently displaced • All residents were temporarily displaced
  73. 73. ■ Red cross and SPCA were extremely crucial ■ Ownership paid for five nights at a hotel (ownership required renters insurance) ■ Determine a location to convene and or from which to stage communications if situation prevents personnel from getting to or using office ■ Agree upon a company spokesperson ■ Consider crafting a pre-approved emergency message ■ Ensure Web team is ready to activate online crisis hub ■ Make certain social networking sites are established and ready to use ■ Collect emails and cell phones ■ Establish solid news/web/blog sites ■ Keep media offsite ■ Centralize communications. This way, onsite people can focus on their job instead of fielding press requests
  74. 74. Best Practices
  75. 75. Rigorously maintain the plan Update it/ Rehearse it Keep contact info updated Keep fact sheets updated Keep media contacts alive Move Fast/Transparently/Take responsibility
  76. 76. Use meetings, phone, text, social, email, blog, and web Take strong compassionate action Take care of people Prepare & rehearse various scenarios
  77. 77. 5 REALITIES OF A DIGITAL CRISIS
  78. 78. Events unfold at light speed People demand hyper transparency Dialogue is as important as message Search reputation delivers video, photos, text Your critics have the same tools as you
  79. 79. SPEED: THE FIRST 24 HOURS • Bad news spreads faster than ever before via Facebook and Twitter • Monitor all relevant consumer generated media - not just traditional media • When responding to emerging crisis, you may need to react fast - in a matter of hours, not days • Have a streamlined approach and a team in place • Experience in social media helps you respond quickly
  80. 80. HYPER TRANSPARENCY: 1 MILLION FORENSICS EXPERTS • There are no secrets anymore - don’t assume you can hide information • Any individual has the power to expose what were once “private” conversations, making them public - expect what you say to be blogged • Be ready to reconcile contradictory business practices • Ensure any CSR efforts are sincere, defensible and authentic
  81. 81. DIALOGUE: GET READY FOR A 2-WAY CONVERSATION • One way messaging doesn’t work anymore in a world where people crave dialogue • Inviting customers into a conversation is the most effective way to build goodwill and brand advocates who will support you if crisis hits • Communicating solely through press releases and scripted interactions doesn’t satisfy • A system for listening is critical to remaining responsive
  82. 82. REPUTATIONS: BUILT & BROKEN IN SEARCH • 80% of internet users start their session at search • Organic search is sensitive to social media content due to the cross-linking • Google delivers “universal search” making multimedia critical • Difficult to dislodge content once it is in search results
  83. 83. DETRACTORS: YOUR DETRACTORS ARE RESOURCEFUL • An individual voice can travel around the world more easily today • Small organizations can often be fast and nimble with social media • Listening to consumer generated media is critical • Everyone is an influencer in their own circles, so traffic alone can no longer be the only metric for judging influence
  84. 84. Duncan Alney President Firebelly Marketing www.firebellymarketing.com duncan@firebellymarketing.com 317-557-4460 @firebelly
  85. 85. Thanks to for sponsorship

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