MSLGROUP Crisis Network Report: Every Crisis is Global, Social, Viral


Published on

MSLGROUP Crisis Network is a global network of 50+ MSLGROUP crisis experts, with deep vertical expertise across industries and geographies, connected to each other by our proprietary People’s Lab crowdsourcing platform. For more, see:

Published in: Business, News & Politics
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

MSLGROUP Crisis Network Report: Every Crisis is Global, Social, Viral

  1. 1. MSLGROUP Crisis Network is a global network of 50+ MSLGROUP crisis experts,with deep vertical expertise across industries and geographies, connected to eachother by our proprietary People’s Lab crowdsourcing platform. Our experts can notonly tap into each others insights in real time, but also leverage our proprietary crisistoolkit including our crisis planning framework and our crisis simulation workshop-- to help our clients plan for and respond to crisis situations effectively. 2
  2. 2. Foreword Olivier Fleurot Chief Executive Officer, MSLGROUP As the world prepares for what could be a prolonged recession, business leaders also need to prepare for a “new normal”, or a fundamental reset in the dynamics between individuals, influencers and institutions around trust, power, risk and crisis. I am delighted to present to you our report on managing risk in a world where every crisis is global, social and viral. The report is a collection of insights and foresights from the MSLGROUP Crisis Network, a global network of 50+ MSLGROUP crisis experts, with deep vertical expertise across industries and geographies, connected to each other by our proprietary People’s Lab crowdsourcing platform. Our experts can not only tap into each other’s insights in real time, but also leverage our proprietary crisis toolkit to help our clients plan for and respond to crisis situations effectively. In the end, however, managing risk in the “new normal” is less about saying the right things and more about doing the right things. Corporations that are rooted in a shared purpose and have fully integrated corporate citizenship into their strategy are more likely to respond to a crisis situation with authenticity, transforming a potential crisis into an opportunity to reconnect with its stakeholders. So, in many ways, what you do before a crisis happens is more important than what you do when a crisis happens. I hope that you’ll find value in both the insights and foresights in this report as well as in the innovative model of the MSLGROUP Crisis Network.3 Every Crisis is Global, Social, Viral NOVEMBER 2011
  3. 3. Introduction:Every Crisis is Global, Socialand ViralPascal Beucler Gaurav MishraSVP and Chief Strategy Officer, Asia Director of Social Media,MSLGROUP MSLGROUPThe End of TrustThe decade has witnessed a profound erosion of trust in all types of institutions,including governments and corporations.Even as North America and Europe prepare for a prolonged double dip financialcrisis, we have seen social unrest in France, UK, Spain and Greece; a grassrootsmovement to occupy public spaces across the United States to protest againstcapitalism; right wing terrorist attacks in peaceful Norway; disclosure of statesecrets by Wikileaks; a series of regime changes across the Arab world; and a sexscandal disgracing the IMF.Even in the buoyant emerging economies of India, China and Brazil, the hithertosilent middle class is beginning to raise its voice and take to the streets to protestagainst chronic corruption that disproportionately rewards the entrenched eliteat the cost of the other 99%; and the low quality of life that persists in spite ofincreased prosperity.Trust in corporations, too, is at an all-time low, as a result of astronomicalexecutive salaries paid by banks and auto companies, even as they were beingbailed out by public funds; BP’s inability to either control the Gulf of Mexico oilspill for almost nine months, or take full responsibility for it; and perceptions ofgreenwashing by corporations, brought in sharp focus a series of viral campaignsby Greenpeace.We are also seeing anger against the inability of governments and corporationsto show the will to solve our most pressing problems: the short-sighteddependence on fossil fuels that threatens to undermine our planet’s ecosystem;the tradeoffs between economic progress and the good life, like urban pollutionand lifestyle diseases; and the barriers to achieve the full human potential, withmore than half the world’s population still struggling with poverty, malnutrition,disease and illiteracy. 4
  4. 4. Crisis management in today’s fragile world is intrinsically interlinked with global shifts in trust and power between individuals, influencers and institutions. Phto by mugley on flickr5 Every Crisis is Global, Social, Viral NOVEMBER 2011
  5. 5. Power to the PeopleAt the same time, people have new sources of power, asindividuals and communities.First, people are beginning to believe that governments andcorporations have failed them and only they themselves cancome up with innovative solutions to the world’s most pressingproblems.Second, people are leveraging social media platforms to createnew public spaces for discourse and dissent that are irrevocablyreshaping the global news ecosystem; organize themselves intodistributed communities with a shared purpose and a shared visionfor a better future; co-create new social innovation solutions andsustainable business models; and collaborate across continents tocoordinate participation and action and act as catalysts for change.Third, people are demanding that governments becomeboth more transparent and less intrusive with their citizens;that government and corporations work together to create anecosystem that enables civic participation; that corporations notonly rediscover their social purpose but also put it at the coreof how they engage with people, as employees, consumers andcitizens.Facebook’s Marc Zuckerberg underlined these shifts during therecent “e-G8” we organized in Paris: “People being empoweredis the trend for the next decade: that’s the core social dynamics…People have the ability to voice their opinion, and it changes theworld, as it rewires it from the ground up”.Unilever’s Paul Polman has also pointed to the new risks suchpower creates for corporations: “If [social media activists] can bringdown the Egyptian regime in a few weeks, they can bring us downin nanoseconds.”Every Crisis is Global, Social and ViralThe social web is playing an important role in these shifts aroundtrust, power, risk and crisis.Specifically, we need to master three interplays shaping crisis inthe “new normal”: the interplay between mainstream media andsocial media, the interplay between local and global dynamics,and the interplay between crisis planning and response.First, the boundaries between mainstream media and social mediaare blurring as online influencers are linking to media stories andnews organizations are quoting online influencers.Second, no crisis is truly local in our interconnected world, asmemes or hashtags can spread globally in seconds on the socialweb, yet local considerations must be factored into crisis planningand response.Third, it’s critical to plan and prepare for crisis scenarios, but it’seven more important to respond to emergent crisis situationsauthentically, without over-reliance on scripted messages andworkflows. 6
  6. 6. Photo by Ben Chau on flickr7 Every Crisis is Global, Social, Viral NOVEMBER 2011
  7. 7. MSLGROUP Crisis NetworkIn a world where every crisis is global, social and viral, it’s critical to tap intothe tools and insights from across our global network, in real time.MSLGROUP Crisis Network is a global network of 50+ MSLGROUP crisisexperts, with deep vertical expertise across industries and geographies,connected to each other by our proprietary People’s Lab crowdsourcingplatform. Our experts can not only tap into each other’s insights in real time,but also leverage our proprietary crisis toolkit – including our crisis planningframework and our crisis simulation workshop -- to help our clients plan forand respond to crisis situations effectively.In a world where every crisis is global, social and viral, here’s a roadmap tothink about the interconnections between trust, power, risk and crisis, fromour experts at the MSLGROUP Crisis Network.In the first section, we explore how social media is changing trust, power, riskand crisis. We start by looking at the role of social media in societal upheavalsin the West, including the terrorist attack in Norway, the riots in London andthe Occupy Wall Street movement in the US. Then, we move to the East andlook at how social media is changing the news ecosystem in China, erodingthe wasta system of personal influence in the Middle East and uniting theIndian middle class in a grassroots movement against corruption.In the second section, we outline how corporations can leverage social mediato manage risk and reputation. We outline how social media can play a role ateach stage in the crisis curve, describe the art and science of crisis simulation,recommend engaging third party influencers in crisis planning, share lessonsfrom managing the global Crisis Command Center for BP, provide a playbookfor handling a crisis on Facebook and end with tips and tricks on crisismanagement from our network of senior trusted advisors.In summary, here are the most important tips from our global network ofcrisis experts that you will see across this report:1. Proactively work on crisis preparedness, including crisis simulation workshops, crisis manuals, crisis collaboration wikis and dark crisis websites.2. Create local crisis plans in collaboration with key influencers, instead of merely localizing global crisis plans.3. Train staff, including the C-suite, on the new news ecosystem and guidelines for social media engagement, before a crisis hits.4. Specifically plan for communicating with all key influencers, including employees, as part of crisis planning.5. Build trust assets, including the reputation of being rooted in a shared purpose, strong relationships with key influencers, and strong owned media channels like blogs and microblogs, before the crisis.6. Respond to the crisis with authenticity, integrity and the will to do the right thing, not only say the right thing.We sincerely hope that the insights and foresights we are bringing here willbe useful to you. To know more about the MSLGROUP Crisis Network, or tosubscribe to receive similar insights and foresights in the form of a quarterlynewsletter, please visit 8
  8. 8. In a world where every crisis is global, social and viral, it’s critical to tap into the tools and insights from across our global network, in real time. Photo by alancleaver_2000 on flickr9 Every Crisis is Global, Social, Viral NOVEMBER 2011
  9. 9. Photo by h.koppdelaney on flickr 10
  10. 10. Index 12 SECTION 1 How Social Media is Changing Trust, Power and Crisis 14 Power to the People: When Main Street Occupies Wall Street PASCAL BEUCLER 16 The Norway Attacks and Social Media: Lessons in Crisis Management for Governments and Corporations JOHN INGE OGLAEND 19 Lessons in Social Media and Crisis Management from the UK Riots GARETH DAVIES 24 How the Great Indian Middle Class Used Social Media to Create a Grassroots Anti-Corruption Movement JAIDEEP SHERGILL 28 How Social Media is Changing the News Ecosystem in China BENJAMIN TAN 30 Wasta: How Power and Influence are Changing in the Middle East FRAN MCELWAINE 32 SECTION 2 How to Leverage Social Media for Managing Risk and Reputation 34 How Social Media is Changing News and Crisis: The Crisis Curve Framework GAURAV MISHRA 37 Crisis Simulation, Experiencing a Crisis First Hand, Before it Happens ERIK NILSSON 39 Engaging Third Party influencers in Crisis Planning JACK YEO 44 Managing a Crisis Command Center in the Social Media Age: Lessons from BP STEVE MARINO 46 The Role of the Community Manager in Managing the Crisis on Facebook DIMITRI GRANGER, ROMAIN VEZIRIAN 48 In Summary: Being Trusted Advisors in a Turbulent World ANDERS KEMPE11 Every Crisis is Global, Social, Viral NOVEMBER 2011
  11. 11. 12
  12. 12. SECTION 1 How Social Media is Changing Trust, Power, Risk and Crisis In this section, we explore how social media is changing trust, power and crisis. We start by looking at the role of social media in societal upheavals in the West, including the terrorist attack in Norway, the riots in London and the Occupy Wall Street movement that started in the US. Then, we move to the East and look at how social media is changing the news ecosystem in China, eroding the wasta system of personal influence in the Middle East and uniting the Indian middle class in a grassroots movement against corruption. Occupy Wall Street Pascal Beucler, Chief Strategy Officer of MSLGROUP, outlines how the Occupy Wall Street protests have grown into a global movement of the “indignants”, or “the other 99%”, against the excesses of capitalism, especially financial institutions. Norway Attacks John Inge Oglaend from JKLGROUP Norway outlines social media’s role in the recent terrorist attacks in Norway. John specifically focuses on how Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and journalist Rune Thomas Ege effectively used social media to engage with the public with empathy in the aftermath of the attacks. UK Riots Gareth Davies from MSL London talks about the role of social media during the recent London riots and argues that “there is no best practice for governments to use social media in such protests; instead, if you engage with communities and influencers on an ongoing basis, they will be more inclined to listen to you and to stand up for you in time of crisis”.13 Every Crisis is Global, Social, Viral NOVEMBER 2011
  13. 13. Power to the People: When Main StreetOccupies Wall Street Pascal Beucler SVP & Chief Strategy Officer, MSLGROUPOccupy Wall Street Even if mistrust of governments and The movement started in SouthernAs we get used to the idea that the corporations has been developing Europe, particularly in Greece andfinancial crisis is here to stay, it’s over the past decade (Enron, the Spain. Then the USA joined theworth analyzing what’s happening burst of the high-tech bubble, 9/11 movement, dubbed Occupy Wallin various European countries, etc.), the continued financial crisis, in Street. Hundreds of Americansand now in the USA, where the combination with the emergence of have been camping there for weeks,crowds of “indignés” (the indignant, a new mindset, in a context of social and thousands are following theirthe angry) are growing every day media explosion, has dramatically example across the country, fromand occupying public spaces. It’s transformed public opinion. And, in Boston and Chicago, to Houstonamazing to see how fast the game fact, far beyond public opinion, we and San Francisco. The protestershas changed within a few months: should probably start questioning are using social networks, blogsfrom celebrating regime changes in the “public acceptance” of our socio- and websites -- such as Occupythe Middle East, the West has had political and economic systems, Wall Street, Occupy Together andto deal with a series of revolutions and be prepared to deal with bigger Ad Busters -- to connect people allat home, many of them triggered by crises in the coming times. around the country.the continuation of the crisis. Photo by Nessy du Loch 2011 on flickr 14
  14. 14. The Occupy Wall Street movement is a really interesting hybrid ofThe way Occupy Wall Street defines working at all. We are getting nothingitself is insightful. Occupy Wall while the other 1 percent is getting “traditional” and socialStreet calls itself “a horizontally everything. We are the 99 percent.” media, “real” andorganized resistance movement virtual gatherings.employing the revolutionary Arab In terms of beliefs and values,Spring tactic to restore democracy whether American, Spanish orin America”. It relies on an approach French, in my view these young 3. They demand purpose, and sharedit calls a “people’s assembly” to people have three things in value. Financial institutions,“facilitate collective decision making common: like other corporations, need toin an open, participatory and non- not only rediscover their socialbinding manner” and welcomes 1. They don’t trust institutions purpose but also put it at the corepeople from all colors, genders and anymore. Trust in corporations of how they engage with theirbeliefs to attend its daily assemblies. is at an all-time low across stakeholders. There is no valueIt has also published a “quick guide the world. The destruction of creation without solid profits. Buton group dynamics in people’s wealth is rarely lethal. But the profits cannot be the only criteriaassemblies“ for others who wish to destruction of confidence, brand of value creation. The “corporate”start their own people’s assemblies equity and reputation among side of organizations is more andto “organize local communities to financial institutions and public more important. People expectfight back against social injustice.” bodies is terribly damaging. In a companies, brands, institutions, world where banks and financial to commit to core values, among companies are seen as reckless,Never have the ancient Agora which transparency, sustainability fraudulent and disconnected(physical assembly, here and now) and accountability are central. from reality, whilst governmentsand the digital one (each and every Value for All is the new mantra, around the world are blamedsocial network, as well as the sum of everywhere. for their inaction, we shouldn’tall of them) been so closely inter- be surprised to see more andconnected. The Occupy Wall Street more social outrage. Never havemovement is a really interesting corporate reputations been sohybrid of “traditional” and social precious, and so, “real” and virtual gatherings. 2. They have new power, and theyWe are the 99% know how to use it. They are inIf the first “indignés” were activists, control. And the more it goes, themost of the newcomers are young more they realize the power theyemployees and graduates. It looks have in their hands. Like Marclike a whole generation is joining Zuckerberg underlined it, duringa deep and wide “value-for-all” the recent “e-G8” we organized inmovement here, best expressed by Paris, “People being empoweredthe “we are the 99%” group: “We are is the trend for the next decade:the 99 percent. We are getting kicked that’s the core social dynamics…out of our homes. We are forced to People have the ability to voicechoose between groceries and rent. their opinion, and it changes When he published his short essayWe are denied quality medical care. the world, as it rewires it from Indignez-vous!, could Holocaust the ground up”. As a matter of survivor and French resistanceWe are suffering from environmental fact, what the crowds of people leader Stéphane Hessel imagine thepollution. We are working long hours gathering in San Francisco said power of his call?for little pay and no rights, if we’re is exactly that: “We just want our voice to be heard”.15 Every Crisis is Global, Social, Viral NOVEMBER 2011
  15. 15. The Norway Attacks and Social Media:Lessons in Crisis Management forGovernments and Corporations John Inge Oglaend Senior Advisor, JKL GROUP NorwayLeadership in the time of iPad looking at his newsfeed. The For corporations, obvious lessonscrisis entire press corps has praised his can be drawn. If you do not have aOn the day of the Norway attacks, leadership and his approval ratings social presence, and you encounterPrime Minister Jens Stoltenberg have gone through the roof. a crisis, you will miss out on mosttweeted the following message: of the conversations about your“Today, we have been hit by two Mr. Stoltenberg’s seasoned use company.savage and cowardly attacks. of Twitter shows not only thatTonight, we all stand together, taking leadership begins at the top but also A Journalist’s Socialcare of each other”. In another how critical honesty, transparency Influencetweet, he acknowledged Russian and timeliness are in crisis situations. It’s been amazing to watch thePresident Vladimir Medvedev who Moreover, we can see how important intersection of social media andhad expressed his support of the social networks have become. This traditional media in recent months.Norwegian people. A few days crisis intersects social media from all For his part, Rune Thomas Ege, aafter the attacks, Mr. Stoltenberg angles: from the killer’s motives to journalist at VG, Norway’s largestalso posted a picture of himself on people’s attempts to save lives and newspaper, was among the firstFacebook: it showed him with his remember those who perished. to tweet eyewitness reports of Social Media: Another angle to the Norway Story Following the Norway attacks, Journalist Rune Thomas Ege tweeted and gave interviews on the growing number of people using social media to share information. 16
  16. 16. Elected officials, the police, corporations, activists andeveryday people can all use social media for good---when they chose to do so. Photo by OwlLens on flickrthe attack. He was tweeting in Tweeting “Do Not Call Eyewitness Accounts andNorwegian, but was soon asked People on Utøya” Support Groupsby people in different countries to The first signs that something was Only one day after the killing ontweet in English. Upon doing so, he truly wrong on Utøya, where 69 Utøya the first eyewitness accountssoon gathered more than 3,500 new people were assassinated, came on appeared on blogs. Prableen Kaurs,followers. Twitter. People on the island used the 18–year-old deputy leader Twitter, Facebook and SMS to inform of the Oslo Labour Party youthThe websites of several foreign their loved ones about the shooting organization, wrote about the “Hellnewspapers picked up Rune’s tweets as it happened. As it became at Utøya”. Such blog posts gavein their Twitter feeds. Even though he clear what was going on, people people the possibility to sharehad been at the bombsite he quickly started to call their loved ones on thoughts, feelings and analysis—amoved to Utøya and continued to Utøya. The people on the island critical activity for crisis recovery,tweet from there, while writing for tweeted, pleading for people not according to Psychologist Andersthe newspaper. Due to his tweets to call, because it would attract the Skuterud in several media interviews.he was soon contacted by news attention of the killer, and reveal theservices from all over the world to places where people were hiding. In just a few days, people usedgive comments and report on TV. Others followed up and spread the social media to organize gatheringsIt can be argued that Rune, by his message: “Do not call people on and memorials, such as roseuse of social media, set the agenda Utøya, they are hiding”. So action marches in numerous towns acrossfor many of the world’s leading created counter-action in the social Norway. Online support groupsnews agencies; He was used as a media sphere. were established for victims whoreporter for news organizations in survived; even the killer’s mother14 countries, including BBC World, and his lawyers got their own supportSKY, ABC, CBS, and as far as way as groups. In the immediate aftermath,Australia and Chile. the group “Light a candle for the Photo credit: Twitter17 Every Crisis is Global, Social, Viral NOVEMBER 2011
  17. 17. Photo by OwlLens on flickrdead and injured after the tragedies have also been criticized for not Moreover, due to pressure toin Oslo and Utøya” got 500 new participating in discussions on social produce articles and be the first withmembers per minute. networks. They have relied on the new story angles, some journalists traditional media and used press used any pictures they could getTwo Sides of the Coin statements and press conferences their hands on without thinking thatWhile those are positive examples, to communicate, thereby avoiding a some of them were coming form thehate groups also formed. On the two-way dialogue with the public. murderer himself. Some journalistsmorning of 23 July more than 70 unwittingly published photos that hesuch groups appeared on Facebook, The extensive use of social media as himself wanted published.with one totaling almost 12,000 a source for reporting isn’t withoutmembers. Many of the groups problems. As argued by journalist Nevertheless, we can all learn fromnamed the killer and posted pictures Emanuel Karsten in SVTV Debat, what happened. Elected officials,taken from his profile on Facebook, the media acted as useful idiots the police, corporations, activistsnow removed. for a calculating mass murderer. and everyday people can all use Furthermore, when journalists social media for good---when theyMuch of the criticism of how the received the manifesto via email they chose to do so. Like I said, it comespolice have handled the situation, in were surprised to learn that it had down to honesty, transparency, andparticular debates about how long been available on Twitter for a long timeliness. It’s what we all want toit should have taken to get to the time and had a massive circulation see from people in a crisis.island and by what means, has also already. He achieved his goal oftaken place in social media. Many circulating photos and manifesto toprominent politicians remained quiet a large audience by the use of socialfor a long time, possibly sensing the media.strong emotions on the issue andfearing how people would react totheir public statements. The police Photo credit: Youtube 18
  18. 18. Lessons in Social Media andCrisis Management From the UK Riots Gareth Davies Head of Social Media, MSL LondonDeconstructing the Role of many have called out social media you ask much younger generationsSocial Media in the UK Riots as a key factor in enabling the they will simply say it is the focusSince the London riots we’ve widespread, coordinated chaos many for blame because many still don’tseen many individuals, groups, of us witnessed firsthand over the understand its usage or potential.organizations and the media summer.dissecting every detail to understand But either way, whilst you can’twhere it all went wrong and what Whether it is right or wrong to blame blame individual trees for a forestdrove so many people to “revolt”. social media will never be decided, fire, neither can you call out socialAmidst the many discussions and as it really depends on whom you media as the key “reason” that thesedebates there has been much ask. Pose the questions to politicians riots happened in the first place.finger pointing and unfortunately and lawmakers and they may say technology is at fault, whereas if Photo by mastermaq on flickr19 Every Crisis is Global, Social, Viral NOVEMBER 2011
  19. 19. Looking at recent history, in So how should we look to “better Being Social and Trustworthy inparticular the uprisings in Iran, Egypt manage” the usage of social Times of Non-Crisis, Like Lady Gagaand Tunisia, these revolutions were media in a time where protests In my opinion, the true answer liesformed on the back of a desire to and demonstrations are becoming in how governments and relevantmake a change. Whilst social media increasingly prevalent across the organizations use social mediadidn’t create such desire, it did show world? in times of “non-crisis”. Daviddisparate groups and individuals that Cameron has sung the praises ofthey were not alone whilst helping The answer is that there is no best the new e-reform system allowingthem act “as one”. It enabled them practice in how to use social media UK citizens to propose newto coordinate and deploy a much in such situations. Restricting access legislation and even Gordon Brown’swider, far-reaching effort. in times of chaos is simply a knee- government got No. 10 Downing jerk reaction that needs extensive Street on Twitter. But how muchThis, at its heart, is what has helped consideration. Both Twitter and of this is just show? How manysocial media become so widespread Facebook provide real-time, always- politicians can readily say that theyso quickly - the ability to connect on dialogue. If you switch off access understand and regularly use socialwith like-minded individuals over in one country or region, others media? Even Barack Obama, who setshared goals and interests. But would find out and that in turn would the rules on how to use social mediamore important is the fact that until create a crisis for the government for electioneering, is limited in howgovernments and organizations or organization enforcing the shut much content he himself actuallyunderstand this point, we will see down. publishes versus a team of publicistsmany more knee-jerk reactions. who have the time to do it for him. Photo by renaissancechambara on flickr 20
  20. 20. Being Social and Trustworthy in Times of Non-Crisis, LikeLady Gaga. The true answer lies in how governments andrelevant organizations use social media in times of “non-crisis”. Photo by JohnLucas1983 on flickrIn the social media space, credibility We’re not recommending that Think how different things couldand transparency are your greatest Britain’s public officials use social be if the government had usedassets you have to play. They can media channels to broadcast more– social media to listen to the growingmake or break a politician or an they need to use social media for concerns of the “disaffected youth”organization just as they can make better engagement, for igniting that they blamed for fuelling theor break a brand. But you need to critical conversations with people anger and aggression that was at thebe engaged with social media to who matter: people in communities heart of the riots. Think of how thingsunderstand its power. that are highly active online; could have changed had the UK commentators with the influence to and London governments created aLady Gaga is considered one of the affect policy and legislation; people rallying cry to local communities viamost influential people in the world who represent the voiceless and social media to help stop or at least– simply because of the size of her those who have no inclination to better manage those individualsonline, virtual following. Imagine if a interact with government (based on causing the chaos.politician applied the same rules to many factors but trust and credibilityhis/her own personal “MP” brand? probably being the most prevalent). When plugged in, governmentsShe can call upon and rely upon her gain greater visibility and a betterfans to support her in whatever she By spending time building up understanding of what is happeningdoes simply because she has taken credibility and acting in a transparent at the grass roots. Subsequently theya journey with them. She regularly manner, governments will develop will be better informed and moreposts, she answers questions (by positive relationships with online able to react in a way that benefitsherself and not via a publicist) and influencers who will be willing to all those involved. It’s clear that ourshe shares content and access to speak and act on the government’s government needs to connect withher life that has proved to be of real behalf simply because they believe. their “Little Monsters”.value to her fans. Subsequently shehas an “army” who will stand by herside.21 Every Crisis is Global, Social, Viral NOVEMBER 2011
  21. 21. 22
  22. 22. India’s Anti-Corruption Movement Jaideep Shergill, CEO of Hanmer MSL in India, draws crisis communications lessons from the anti-corruption protests in India, led by 74- year old Gandhian activist Anna Hazare. Specifically, he highlights the importance of creating your campaign around an idea that resonates with people and using powerful symbolism and imagery to move people. China’s New Media Ecosystem Benjamin Tan, Client Engagement Director for MSLGROUP Greater China, talks about how social media, especially microblogging service Sina Weibo, is changing how news stories and crisis situations spread in China’s government controlled news environment. Benjamin says that citizens trust mainstream media for business-related crisis situations, but turn to social media for government- related crisis situations, like the recent train crash in Wenzhou. Middle East, Jasmine Revolution and Wasta Fran McElwaine, Managing Director of Capital MSL in Dubai, says that social media is changing how governments and businesses manage crisis situations in the Middle East, as “wasta”, which means using your power to influence outcomes, does not work on social media. Fran says that social media has an invaluable role to play in financial communication, especially in situations that are time critical, like crisis situations and quarterly results.23 Every Crisis is Global, Social, Viral NOVEMBER 2011
  23. 23. How the Great Indian Middle ClassUsed Social Media to Create a GrassrootsAnti-Corruption Movement Jaideep Shergill CEO of Hanmer MSL IndiaIndia’s Anti-Corruption As the government resisted, Indians social media (Facebook, Twitter,Movement across geographies and communities YouTube, apps), news media,For over a week in August 2011, rallied in support of Hazare and television and mobile telephony.New Delhi’s Ramlila ground took forced Parliament to relent.on the air of Cairo’s Tahrir Square. The “Social” RevolutionRevolution was in the air. What was astonishing about The lessons were clear: A good the movement, which began in product generates its own PR.The agitation for a strong anti- January, was the exceptional Hazare’s Jan Lokpal Bill satisfiescorruption law and an independent use of public relations tools and the need to reduce corruption.authority that would investigate techniques without the help of a Clear messaging and use of thecharges against ministers and the communications agency. right communication tools for ourbureaucracy – launched by 74-year- age (it was a social media-fueledold Gandhian, Anna Hazare – had The campaign made impressive use stir, which is why it had such areached a crescendo. of symbolism (fasts and meditation), large youth participation) made it Photo by ssoosay on flickr 24
  24. 24. Photo credit: Indiaagainstcorruption.orga mass movement. In contrast, the the bureaucracy, the judiciary and it filled a media vacuum. Teamgovernment goofed up repeatedly in even the prime minister was an Anna made sure the campaignits crisis communications. idea whose time had come. was centrestage in the media all the time. Hazare himself refusedA team of IT experts ran the India 2. Create symbols, icons: Every to leave Tihar Jail after his arrest.Against Corruption campaign’s main timeless brand has its symbols – This created a larger impact thanwebsite along with 14 city-centric Nike and its swoosh, for instance. any media interview could havewebsites round-the-clock. They also They also have their icons – Steve had. There was another criticalmonitored TV channels and posted Jobs at Apple, for example. aspect: the campaign had onlyvideos on the internet to create a Similarly, Hazare and the Gandhi three or four people speakingbuzz across the globe. cap became the icon and symbol to the media. This was smart respectively of the anti-corruption thinking. The fewer the voices, theAnother team ensured that the fight. The movement’s slogan, “I less scope there was for distortionlatest information about Hazare was am Anna Hazare”, internalized the of the message.posted on social networking sites struggle for millions of people. Itsuch as Facebook (nearly 514,000 made individuals want to act. 5. Use the right imagery: The imagelikes by early September) and Twitter of Hazare meditating at Rajghat@janlokpal, (more than 140,000 by 3. Create a compelling experience: (where Gandhi was cremated)early September). His video from Hazare chose the Ramlila ground or of him lying down at RamlilaTihar jail has had 163,000 views. for its size, allowing thousands to ground and clapping along to take in the atmosphere. Having devotional songs proved to beWhat Hazare Taught Us experienced their own power, iconic. With a giant image of1. Have an idea that connects: the people began to believe they Mahatma Gandhi in the backdrop, Rocked by five major scams over could change things. the message was not lost on the past year, India was angry with anybody – “here is a frail 74-year- the government for its seeming 4. Make a media plan: The campaign old taking on the establishment, lack of will to tackle corruption. was timed perfectly. Launched much as another frail old man had A strong, independent agency between the cricket World Cup done in the 1930s and 1940s, and that could investigate ministers, and the Indian Premier League, he deserves your support.”25 Every Crisis is Global, Social, Viral NOVEMBER 2011
  25. 25. Photo credit: YoutubeHow the government got it corruption law, showing that it 2. It arrested Hazare: If arrestingwrong was out of touch with the nation’s Hazare was ill-advised, takingPrime Minister Manmohan Singh mood. Reeling from a wave of him to Tihar jail was a PR disaster.used to be known as the architect of corruption scandals, it would have Tihar is where those accused ofIndia’s economic reforms. Today, he’s done better to start the process some of the worst corruption inthe face of a discredited government. for framing an effective law. As a recent times were lodged. As a result, a perception was created result, Hazare turned his arrest1. It kept the blinkers on: The that the government was trying into victory by refusing to leave government steadfastly refused to stall an effort to cleanse the jail, even when allowed to, until his to accept the need for an anti- country. demands were met. This shamed the government. 26
  26. 26. Photo credit: Facebook3. It failed to communicate: Top in July. A publicity blitzkrieg In summary, the India Against leaders stubbornly refused to would have done wonders for Corruption movement is an engage with the media. This its reputation, especially with important case study, both on allowed the anti-graft crusaders young middle-class Indians who combining traditional control on drive the debate. Singh’s silence benefited most from the reforms. messaging with the virality of new gave the impression that he wasn’t It is these people who heeded media tools and on responding really in charge. Silence makes Hazare’s call. to crisis situations catalyzed by you look guilty. The government grassroots dissent on social media. should have been honest about 4. It sent out the wrong message: While Indian politicians have surely its misgivings and communicated When he did speak, Prime learned much from the experience, like crazy. As a result, Team Anna Minister Manmohan Singh said there’s much that corporations in pushed its point of view, but there all the wrong things: “There is no India and elsewhere can learn from was no counter, cementing the magic wand to curb corruption.” it too. national mood. The government He should have declared that should have seized the initiative the battle against corruption was by moving aggressively on the integral to the reforms process. unfinished economic reforms As a result, people thought that agenda, but it did not even Singh was not serious about celebrate 20 years of reforms battling corruption.27 Every Crisis is Global, Social, Viral NOVEMBER 2011
  27. 27. How Social Media is Changing the NewsEcosystem in China Benjamin Tan Client Engagement Director, MSLGROUP Greater ChinaMicroblogging is shaping a on each. Many journalists are also affecting personal safety, personalnew public space in China present in social media, and they grievances and perceived negligenceThe prominence of social media, often publish their stories on Weibo. by authorities. One can see this in thespecifically on Weibo, the cases involving the milk scare, themicroblogging service similar to While Chinese netizens pay train crash in Wenzhou, in easternTwitter, which is blocked in China, considerable attention to corporate China, and the scam with a furnitureis playing a huge role in how news and non-profit scandals such as the chain, whose Chinese ownersspreads in China. All the main one with China Red Cross (a man claimed that China-made goodsinternet players in China, including with ties to the organization funded were imported from Italy.Sina, Sohu and Tencent have weibos his girlfriend’s lavish lifestyle), suchwith more than 100 million users issues pale in comparison to crises Photo by davesamuel.20091965 on flickrIn general, for crisis situations involving public authorities,people trust social media and ignore traditional media,especially if the government is clamping down on part ofthe story. 28
  28. 28. These crisis situations can originate Corporations in China are crisis and building owned mediafrom a short news article and using social media for crisis assets online, so that they can bespread to social media and back to communications deployed during a crisis. Sometraditional media, and vice versa. In As far as corporate crises are corporations have even taken togeneral, for crisis situations involving concerned, the media tend to cover SEO/SEM to manage their searchpublic authorities, people trust social not only the actual event but also engine rankings, making sure thatmedia and ignore traditional media, previous issues or crises involving their name is associated as muchespecially if the government is the company in question. This as possible with positive news andclamping down on part of the story. has been made easier due to the thought leadership. availability of historic news in theIn China, it’s not uncommon for digital space, creating a negative Specifically, B2C corporations aregovernment authorities to clamp long-tail effect. focusing increasingly on socialdown on government-related media to mitigate crises whilecrisis news by leaning on the Some corporations in China still B2B companies are still focusingtraditional, local media channels choose not to respond to crisis on traditional media to get their-- this happened with the Wenzhou situations, hoping the situation will message across. B2C companies aretrain crash. It is harder, however, for pass. When a crisis hits, they react to investing in social media monitoringofficials to stop all the news and the situation without a strategy and systems and crisis strategy, focusingopinion-sharing on social networks, come off scared, or engage a PR on the interplay between socialas they cannot control the entire agency and go through the motions media and traditional sphere. but in reality don’t listen to counsel and simply use the PR firm as a In summary, gone are the daysFor crisis situations not related to media buffer. when an executive could rely onthe government, the traditional news personal influence with a journalistorganizations have more leeway. However, as social media is changing and make the problem go away. TheTherefore, traditional media often the public sphere and the news Chinese netizens are less patientprovides more insights into such ecosystem in China, it is also with corporations, and less forgiving,crisis situations (given journalists’ changing how corporations plan if they perceive any response frominvestigative nature) while social for and respond to crisis situations. corporations to be provides more timely updates. More corporations are taking crisisSocial media also allows people to preparation seriously, by trainingshare their comments and concerns, their spokespeople to handle aand in most cases, vent theirfrustrations.29 Every Crisis is Global, Social, Viral NOVEMBER 2011
  29. 29. Wasta: How Power and Influence areChanging in the Middle East Fran McElwaine Managing Director, Capital MSL DubaiIn the Middle East, the traditional crisis containment plan in place, but managing the social conversation.reaction to a crisis has been to it is still a long way from being the The typical response is to “shut itkeep silent and wait out the issue. accepted norm. down” with a big hammer, insteadHowever, the advent and fast of managing conflict in more subtleadoption of social media among Arab Spring and the end of ways.key influencer groups has meant Wastathat this is an even less satisfactory The recent Arab Spring that relied Generally speaking, negativestrategy than it was a few years heavily on information-sharing sentiment and information spreadago. Following the 2009 financial through social media is clear extremely quickly on social media.crash, our clients are beginning to evidence of how “behind the curve” Conversely, most companies andrecognize the value of having a solid the establishment is with regard to organizations are afraid to engage Photo by Magharebia on flickrUnfortunately wasta does not work with social media,where it’s more difficult to influence outcomes by usingpower or personal relationships. 30
  30. 30. Photo by Magharebia on flickrwith social media, as they are crisis. Twitter is especially useful for to reassure investors, employees,uncomfortable with the mutual alerting audiences about impending clients and partners, to maintaintwo-way dialogue that such networks announcements and directing a stable stock price. Capital MSLimpose. This means that companies them to websites, blogs, videos or created an email sent to clientsare usually slow to respond to issues whitepapers with in-depth analysis. and partners, updating them on theand lose valuable time in containing developments and reassuring themthem. For general financial of the bank’s commitment to working communications, which are not with and serving them; relationshipThere is a specific Arab word - necessarily time-sensitive, and managers called their contacts,“wasta” - that means using your where ongoing in-depth analysis and following a message training frompower to influence outcomes. It is factual support are essential, the use Capital MSL. We also briefed thegenerally considered a good thing of digital media is often constrained CEO for a townhall meeting toto have lots of “wasta”. As most to micro-sites where there is an update and reinvigorate employees.of the mainstream media in the opportunity to provide detailedregion are heavily self-censored, information that can be regularly As a result, the stock price stabilizedmost senior individuals are used updated. within 36 hours. The messages in theto leveraging their wasta to ensure media and marketplace were almostthere is no negative coverage of Social media engagement is very entirely positive, with neither partythem in the media. Unfortunately much the domain of the young, being criticized. Anecdotal feedbackwasta does not work with social educated and articulate in the from people in the market, investors,media, where it’s more difficult to Middle East - all the more reason partners and employees was alsoinfluence outcomes by using power for companies in this region to take overwhelmingly positive.or personal relationships. Again, it seriously. The expertise herefor most organizations it requires a is considerable and we have the Today, social media will play ancultural shift that is not comfortable. capabilities to host, design and build important role in managing all very sophisticated social media aspects of such a crisis, from holdingSocial Media and Financial engagement programs that allow townhall meetings from employeesCommunications people to interact with brands and on private community platforms, toWithin the realm of financial companies. using public social media channelscommunications, social media has for communicating with externalan invaluable role to play, especially As an example, when our banking stakeholders in real situations that are time critical, client started seeing signs that asuch as during the announcement of merger deal might not go through,quarterly results and in the event of they realized that they would need31 Every Crisis is Global, Social, Viral NOVEMBER 2011
  31. 31. 32
  32. 32. SECTION 2 How to Leverage Social Media for Managing Risk and Reputation In this section, we outline how corporations can leverage social media to manage risk and reputation. We outline how social media can play a role at each stage in the crisis curve, describe the art and science of crisis simulation, recommend engaging third party influencers in crisis planning, share lessons from managing the global Crisis Command Center for BP, provide a playbook for handling a crisis on Facebook and end with tips and tricks on crisis management from our network of senior trusted advisors. Crisis Curve Gaurav Mishra, Asia Director of Social Media for MSLGROUP, shares a framework to understand how social media is changing news and crisis. Gaurav outlines the four stages in the crisis curve: flash point, spotlight, blame game and resolution and highlights the role of social media at each stage. He then describes three types of crisis situations based on the interplay between social media and mainstream media: real world, slow burn and flash mob. Finally, he details a crisis planning and response toolkit, with tactics for each type of crisis and each stage of the crisis curve. Crisis Simulation Erik Nilsson from JKLGROUP Sweden believes that “that the best way to prepare for a crisis is to go through one.” Erik has run several crisis planning workshops with clients across Europe using MSLGROUP’s proprietary crisis simulation tool. The tool creates fictitious newspaper articles, TV broadcasts, interviews, blog posts, tweets and events etc. in a secure IT environment to stress test the organization’s readiness to manage a crisis. Apart from the workshops and the simulations, Erik has created crisis manuals and even crisis war rooms to help clients become better prepared for crisis situations. Mapping Your Key Influencers Jack Yeo, SVP at MSL Chicago, says that “third- party influencers play an important role in both how organizations prepare for crisis situations and how they are perceived during one.” Jack uses MSLGROUP’s proprietary IM MSL influencer mapping approach to identify an organization’s most important influencers and recommends that clients invite important influencers to share their perspectives in crisis planning workshops.33 Every Crisis is Global, Social, Viral NOVEMBER 2011
  33. 33. How Social Media is Changing News andCrisis: The Crisis Curve Framework Gaurav Mishra Asia Director of Social Media, MSLGROUPSocial media is playing an important stage, opinionsrole in shaping news stories in general are shared and ATTENTIONand crisis situations in particular. responsibility isSpecifically, even as social media assigned. In themakes it easy to track an emerging archival stage, the 2 Context 3 Analysiscrisis situation, it makes it difficult to story goes off the Sharing links via Sharing opinions hashtags via blog postseffectively manage the crisis situation. newspaper front page, the websiteSocial media and the news homepage and 1 Breaking news Archival 4curve the evening news Sharing stories via Searching forAll news stories develop in a similar retweets stories via Google on TV.manner, following the news curve. TIMEThe news curve has four stages: Social mediabreaking news, context, analysis and is playing anarchival. The breaking news stage is important role in shaping the news even in emerging economies. During curve. The news curve is becoming the 72-hour terrorist seize of India’s shorter in the “breaking news” and financial capital, Twitter, Flickr andBased on the interplay “context” stages, but longer in the blogs became important tools for “analysis” and “archival” stages. The citizen journalists to share originalbetween social media news curve is also becoming more reporting, news, and opinions.and mainstream fragmented and news stories are Social media, especially Twitter,media in the run up to becoming more viral. Different social played an important role in shaping media behaviors play different roles the mainstream media narrativethe crisis flash point, across the four stages of the news during the crisis, both in India andcrisis situations can be curve. News stories are now being internationally.categorized into three broken on the official Twitter channels of news organizations and shared Social media and the crisistypes, each needing a via retweets. Context is being added curvedifferent approach: real by sharing links on Twitter using a The four stages in the crisis curve hashtag. Blogs and video blogs areworld crisis, slow burn correspond to the four stages in the playing an important role in shaping news curve: flash point, spotlight,crisis and flash mob opinion. Finally, search is making blame game and resolution. Likecrisis. it easier to find and share archived the news curve, the crisis curve is stories that act as context for new becoming shorter in the “flash point” stories. and “spotlight” stages, but longer inconcerned with questions like: what the “blame game” and “resolution”happened, with whom and where? In The 26/11 Mumbai terror attack in stages. Like the news curve, thethe context stage, more information is 2009 is a good example of how social crisis curve is also becoming moreadded, as background. In the analysis media is shaping the news ecosystem fragmented and crisis stories are 34
  34. 34. SOCIAL MEDIA FOR CRISIS COMMUNICATIONSSocial media has a specific role to play at each stage of the crisis curve. MSLGROUP has created a crisis managementtoolkit that includes workshops, tools and best practices to map out, plan for and respond to the specific demands ofthe crisis situations at each stage in the crisis curve. 0 Before crisis: Map out alternate crisis scenarios in advance, and plan for their best, worst and most likely cases, in order to ATTENTION respond to them effectively. 1 Flash point: Track negative social media chatter, identify 2 Spotlight 3 Blame Game early warning signals, isolate issues, and resolve them, before Plot heat map of Shape narrative via owned media they turn into a crisis. crisis flows 2 Spotlight: Plot a heat map of crisis flows between social media and mainstream media, identify influencers who are 1 Flash Point Resolution 4 acting as hubs and focus crisis management efforts on these Track early Optimize for hubs. warning signals search results 3 Blame game: Shape the narrative by leveraging owned TIME media channels like blog and YouTube to reframe the issue 0 Before Crisis more positively and avert direct blame. Plan for crisis scenarios 4 Resolution: Optimize owned media content for search results, so that positive and neutral stories show up alongside negative stories on keyword searches related to the brand.becoming more viral. As a result, even Tony Hayward’s “I want my life back” reputation for creating shared valueas social media makes it easy to track comment, and the online spoofs they did not help during the crisis. Inan emerging crisis situation, it makes inspired, did not help BP’s cause. the end, Nestlé announced that itit difficult to effectively manage the would stop procuring from supplierscrisis situation. In the “slow burn” crisis, social associated with deforestation. media conversations (productThe interplay between social quality, customer support, employee Using social media tomedia and mainstream media is an discontent) build up into a crisis and manage a crisisimportant aspect of the crisis curve, are picked up by influential bloggers Social media has a specific role towith online influencers linking to and even mainstream media. For play at each stage of the crisis stories and media quoting instance, in 2005, influential blogger MSLGROUP has created a crisisonline influencers. Jeff Jarvis blogged about a series of management toolkit that includes bad customer service experiences tools and best practices for each stageThree types of crisis with Dell, and became the focal in the crisis cycle.situations point of the Dell Hell crisis. Dell HellBased on the interplay between social forced Dell to recommit to creating a In the flash-point stage, we trackmedia and mainstream media in the positive customer experience and led negative social media chatter, identifyrun up to the crisis flash point, crisis to several remarkable social media early warning signals, isolate issues,situations can be categorized into initiatives including the Direct2Dell and resolve them, before they turnthree types, each needing a different blog, the Dell Ideastorm ideation into a crisis.approach: real world crisis, slow burn community and Dell’s social mediacrisis and flash mob crisis. command center. In the spotlight stage, we plot a heat map of crisis flows between socialIn the “real world” crisis, a real world In the “flash mob” crisis, a social media and mainstream media, identifyincident (oil spill, financial scam, media meme (Greenpeace campaign, influencers who are acting as hubssex scandal) precipitates the crisis. anti-brand hashtag, anti-brand driving these flows and focus our crisisMainstream media puts a spotlight on video) creates a flash mob, turns management efforts on these hubs.the crisis while social media amplifies into a crisis, and is picked up bythe crisis. For instance, during the mainstream media. For instance, In the blame-game stage, weprotracted BP Gulf of Mexico crisis in in 2010, Greenpeace created a help clients shape the narrative by2010, the flash point was the oil spill viral video led campaign to protest leveraging owned media channelsitself, but social media played a critical against Nestle procuring palm oil like blog and YouTube to reframe therole in the spotlight, blame game and from Indonesian rainforests and issue more positively and avert directresolution stages. BP’s crisis response endangering orangutans. Protestors blame.was a textbook case study in terms hijacked Nestle’s Facebook page andof its scope and scale. However, a filled it with abusive comments and In the resolution stage, we optimizeseries of failed attempts to control Nestle Killer profile pics. Surprisingly, owned media content for searchthe oil spill over months, then-CEO Nestle’s strong corporate citizenship results, so that positive and neutral35 Every Crisis is Global, Social, Viral NOVEMBER 2011
  35. 35. THE NEWS CURVE AND THE CRISIS CURVEAll news stories develop in a similar manner, creating a news curve, with four stages: breaking news, context, analysisand archival.The four stages in the crisis curve correspond to these: flash point, spotlight, blame game and resolution.Social media plays an important role in shaping them, making it more difficult to control a crisis. 1 What happened? With whom? Where? Sharing stories via retweetsATTENTION 2 Who is involved? Has it happened before? Sharing links via hashtags 2 Spotlight 3 Blame Game 3 Why did it happen? Who is responsible? More Sharing opinions via blog posts fragmented, but more viral 4 Off the front page and the evening news. 1 Flash Point Resolution 4 Searching for stories via Google TIME Shorter head Longer tailstories show up alongside negative This toolkit include a workshop the right things and more about doingstories on keyword searches related to for scenario, keyword, influencer, the right things. So, corporationsthe brand. spokesperson and message mapping, that are rooted in purpose are likely and platforms like a wiki-based war to respond to crisis situations withMost importantly, it’s critical to map room for crisis collaboration and authenticity, and overcompensateout and plan for crisis scenarios a CMS-based dark site for crisis for mistakes, transforming potentialin advance, in order to respond to response. crises into opportunities to reconnectthem effectively. We have created with their stakeholders.a toolkit for mapping out alternate In the end, however, managing anycrisis scenarios and planning for their crisis successfully, including a crisisbest, worst and most likely cases. on social media, is less about sayingTHREE TYPES OF CRISIS SITUATIONSThe interplay between social media and mainstream shapes the crisis curve, with online influencers linking to orsharing media stories and media quoting online influencers.Based on this interplay in the run up to the crisis flash point, crisis situations can be categorized into three types – realworld, slow burn and flash mob -- each needing a different approach. 1 The ‘real world’ crisis A real world incident (oil spill, financial scam, sex scandal)ATTENTION precipitates the crisis. Mainstream media puts a spotlight on the crisis while social media amplifies the crisis. Example: BP Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill 2 3 2 The ‘slow burn’ crisis Social media conversations (product quality, customer support, employee discontent) build up into a crisis and are picked up by influential bloggers and even mainstream media. Example: 1 4 Dell Hell. 3 The ‘flash mob’ crisis A social media meme (Greenpeace video, anti-brand hashtag, TIME anti-brand video) creates a flash mob, turns into a crisis, and is Newspapers/ Blogs/ Twitter/ picked up by mainstream media. Example: Nestle Kit Kat Television YouTube Facebook Greenpeace video. Each circle represents a story on mainstream media or social media. The size of the circle represents the influence of the story. 36
  36. 36. Crisis Simulation, Experiencing a Crisis FirstHand, Before it Happens Erik Nilsson Crisis Management, JKL GROUP SwedenI wish I knew then what I spreads around the world in mere Bringing Realism to Crisisknow now seconds these days, more and more SimulationAt JKL GROUP, our simulations are companies and their top executives The key to a successful simulationbased on the belief that the best way are requesting programs to help lies in the realism of the case. Ourto prepare for a crisis is to go through them prepare for and avert crisis simulation system allows for anyone. Indeed, after going through a situations. Most executives today type of organization to go through areal crisis, our clients often say to us: know the risks that come with highly realistic scenario to prepare“I wish I knew then what I know now.” unprepared organizations. In our for a future event, such as a crisis, experience, what separates good major business transaction, badWith the rise of social media, crisis management from bad crisis financial news or even an executiveincreased media and consumer management is mostly how well kidnapping for companies working inscrutiny and the fact that news prepared the organizations are. volatile parts of the world.We have also built a unique crisis system that allows forfake articles, broadcasts, interviews, blogs, tweets, andevents to occur in a secure IT environment housed on ourclient’s servers.37 Every Crisis is Global, Social, Viral NOVEMBER 2011
  37. 37. Client’s Crisis Management Team Simulation Management - JKL The training itself usually lasts between 2-3 hours, followed News by an hour or so of feedback Portal and assessment of the team’s performance. Defining and Evaluating Success CMT GROUP JKL monitors The follow-up covers all aspects works together CMT and manage with the crisis in development of of the simulation, and is given on their normal the case in both an individual and group basis. crisis situation real time Feedback areas include: room » How did the crisis management group function as a team, did everyone have a designated role? During the simulation, participants from the Was there any expertise missing CMT can be interviewed live in the group, or anyone that was not needed? » To what extent did the group useSince the fall of 2009, we have might not even read the short one, to manuals, policies and directives?developed crisis-preparation be honest.) Should they be changed in anyplans and media simulations way?for investment banks, financial In addition, the “war room” at the » Did the group reach out to allinstitutions, law firms, and energy company is where all relevant relevant stakeholders? Internaland infrastructure companies. individuals would gather to handle audiences? Politicians?Together with the client, we invent the fictitious crisis during the training » How did the group handle thea realistic crisis situation. In fact, and during an actual crisis. The room crisis situation? Did they get offseveral of the situations we have needs to have business equipment to a good start, what could have“invented” have occurred later on. such as phones with conference been done differently? capability, high-speed and wi-fi » Did the group have sufficientWe have also built a unique crisis Internet connection, paper and pens, information for decision-making?system that allows for fake articles, and a printer. Did they initiate all the relevantbroadcasts, interviews, blogs, tweets, internal processes?and events to occur in a secure IT Of course, the people andenvironment housed on our client’s departments that need to be at the A crisis simulation is a great wayservers. ready include legal, operations, to stress-test your organization’s PR, HR etc. This process allows readiness, to identify areas ofOnce a client asks us for the us to develop deep insight improvement and to prepare thetraining, we take between one to about the client’s organization, crisis team for a real crisis situation.three months to develop all the issues, opportunities and level of In short, it’s an exercise that will putmaterials, including: information preparedness. your organization through a crisis,and background on the fictitious but on your terms.crisis; scripts and key messages forall spokespeople; pre-recorded TV How do we win readers? How do we win readers?broadcasts or fake articles, blogsand tweets about the crisis; and crisis Media Team 1 Competition Media Team 2response content such as press Client team 1 Client team 2releases, tweets, and Facebookupdates.Building Crisis PreparednessWe also do a review of the companyin question to assess if corporate Simulation Managementdecision-makers have the tools andpeople in place to handle a crisis. Business EventThese tools include a crisis manual,which in our view should be very How to act?short because in a real crisis no one Communication Managementwill read a long document. (They Client team 3 38
  38. 38. Engaging Third Party influencers in CrisisPlanning Jack Yeo SVP, MSL ChicagoThe Power of Influencers initiated a better working relationship Mapping Your InfluencersI once orchestrated a crisis between the agency and my client So who is an influencer? Third-simulation for a meat-processing going forward. This relationship party influencers are high-profileclient to help the decision- later proved to be invaluable when a individuals or organizations withmakers prepare for a potential separate and different strain of H1N1 the ability to change the perceptionH1N1 outbreak. We asked the U.S. first appeared in the United States a of your company, organization orDepartment of Agriculture’s Animal year later. product, or affect the debate orand Plant Health Inspection Service policy around a particular review the scenario created for Just goes to show that you can Influencers can be regulators,the simulation exercise and invited never underestimate the power of government officials, industrythe agency to participate in the drill. influencers who can speak for you leaders, academics, associations,The agency’s input and feedback when times get tough. NGO groups or members ofmade the session more realistic and the media. They are regularly Photo by Danilo Prates on flickrMapping out, building relationships with and engaginginfluencers can play a critical role in both crisis planningand response.39 Every Crisis is Global, Social, Viral NOVEMBER 2011