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PR disasters: is social media the problem or the solution?

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In the social media age, managing your message and communicating effectively during a crisis has never been more important for leaders and their organizations. Social media’s power to build image and to destroy reputation is making public relations more important, while many of the old methods of corporate communication have suddenly become outmoded. This presentation contains recent public opinion research on social media, fake news, and PR disasters — backed by practical recommendations for leaders who need to communicate effectively as they deal with digital disruption.

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PR disasters: is social media the problem or the solution?

  1. 1. PR disasters! Is social media the problem …or the solution? 2018.02.12 The Ottawa Chamber of Commerce
  2. 2. Signal Leadership Communication Inc. § A new public relations consultancy for c-level executives dealing with digital disruption § Exclusively serving senior leaders with PR counsel that is both strategic and social § Focused on image creation, issues management, relationship building, and reputation protection § Serving clients in Asia, Europe and North America § Partnered with Nanos Research Group
  3. 3. Social media seen as most damaging A large majority believe that social media has the capacity to do the greatest damage to an individual or organization’s image. 84% 71% 71% Social Media Online News Broadcast Television 52% 48% Print Newspapers Radio Nanos Research, RDD dual frame hybrid telephone and online random survey, March 31st to April 4th 2016, n=1000, accurate to 3.1 percentage points plus or minus, 19 times out of 20.
  4. 4. Social media negative impact on news Nearly seven out of ten Canadians think social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are negatively affecting the news. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of Canadians think social media platforms have a negative (33%) or somewhat negative (35%) impact on the news. Eighteen percent (18%) believe the impact is positive (4%) or somewhat positive (14%), while 11% view the impact as neutral – and 3% are unsure. 68% Negative or Somewhat Negative Impact Neutral Unsure 18% 11% 3% How are social media platforms affecting the news? Nanos Research, RDD dual frame hybrid telephone and online random survey, January 28th to February 1st, 2017, n=1000, accurate to 3.1 percentage points plus or minus, 19 times out of 20. Positive or Somewhat Positive Impact
  5. 5. Social media seen driving PR disasters More than half of Canadians (54%) say that social media is a major contributor to PR disasters for companies. Roughly a third of (35%) feel that social media is a minor contributor and five percent (5%) say that social media is not a contributor to PR disasters. Six percent are unsure. Would you say that social media like Twitter and Facebook are major contributors, minor contributors or not contributors to public relations disasters for companies? Nanos Research, RDD dual frame hybrid telephone and online random survey, May 24th to 25th 2017, n=1000, accurate to 3.1 percentage points plus or minus, 19 times out of 20. 5435 5 6 Major contributor Minor contributor Not contributor Unsure
  6. 6. Social media is making PR more key When asked about the importance of PR today compared to 10 years ago, more than three- quarters (76%) feel that PR is more important, 16 percent (16%) say that it is as important while five percent (5%) say it is less important and three percent (3%) are unsure. Do you think that with the rise of social media, public relations, also known as PR, is becoming more important, less important or as important for organizations today compared to 10 years ago? Nanos Research, RDD dual frame hybrid telephone and online random survey, May 24th to 25th 2017, n=1000, accurate to 3.1 percentage points plus or minus, 19 times out of 20. 76 16 5 3 More important As important Less important Unsure
  7. 7. Best way to respond in a PR disaster Just over seven in ten (70%) say that the best way for a troubled organization to respond is to “acknowledge the problem and communicate on social media.” Twenty-three percent (23%) say organizations should “acknowledge the problem but not communicate on social media.” Two percent (2%) said they should “communicate nothing” and five percent (5%) are unsure. When an organization has a PR disaster on social media like Twitter or Facebook, what would you say is the best way for the troubled organization to respond? Nanos Research, RDD dual frame hybrid telephone and online random survey, May 24th to 25th 2017, n=1000, accurate to 3.1 percentage points plus or minus, 19 times out of 20. 70 23 2 5 Acknowledge and communicate Acknowledge but don't communicate Communicate nothing Unsure
  8. 8. The importance of communication skills for leaders continues to increase
  9. 9. Social media is now the most powerful communication platform
  10. 10. Alas, many leaders are struggling with social media
  11. 11. Social media sentiment about CEOs DATACONOMY (2017)
  12. 12. Spheres of social CEO PR influence DATACONOMY (2017)
  13. 13. Risk-averse chiefs are cautious to avoid making big social media mistakes
  14. 14. When something goes wrong (and it always does), all eyes go online looking for the leader
  15. 15. The absence of leaders creates an information vacuum that is filled by critics and naysayers
  16. 16. Just about everything that goes wrong in a famous way is now called a ‘PR disaster’
  17. 17. Meanwhile, inside many companies, digital has been taken over by marketers who see social as a way to sell stuff, not build relationships
  18. 18. Companies are now expected to communicate like real people, not like machines or things
  19. 19. The leader is the ultimate personification of the brand
  20. 20. For leaders, social media should be about relationships, custom connectivity and listening with real people
  21. 21. “Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely”
  22. 22. Tuning into people’s emotions, channeling their ideas, sensing their sentiments, rallying them to shared purposes
  23. 23. Communication that prevents PR disaster
  24. 24. “Providing information as we get it”
  25. 25. “This is my worse nightmare”
  26. 26. If they fail to ‘feel,’ leaders will magnify mistakes when inevitable crisis situations occur…
  27. 27. Communication that causes PR disaster
  28. 28. …causing one PR disaster after another!
  29. 29. Next-gen leaders will be social CEOs
  30. 30. The six dimensions of social-media-literate leadership McKinsey Quarterly (2013)
  31. 31. “We think we know someone, but the truth is that we only know the version of them that they have chosen to show us” — Taylor Swift
  32. 32. The looking glass self
  33. 33. Thank you ! @bobpickard @niknanos 2018.02.12 The Ottawa Chamber of Commerce

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