Corporate Crisis Management

The 9th chapter of the Luttrell book; ‘Social Media: How to Engage, Share, and Connect’, is about corporate crisis management, and how to protect the brand when things go viral. The first few pages covered instances where social media was used to orchestrate attacks on brands/institutions public image. Customers can use FB, Twitter, and YouTube, to push certain injustices into the public’s view and rally support against companies. In effect, sullying brands with bad press.
The book outlines some stages of crisis management for situations like; prepare in advance, isolate the origin, evaluate the impact, mitigate the crisis, and learn from it (pg.159). Failing to acknowledge the urgency could lead to the company losing credibility, ruining the business.
The chapter then turns to several situations where companies used social media to respond to concerns that arose regarding their products. Some backlash about some rainbow cookies is met with a brand comment about pride and celebrating diversity, concerns about a Nazi tea pot is responded with some respectful light humor. In the event of an accidental post, a quick sincere response makes all the difference.
The chapter then lists out several instances where the situation was Not handled correctly. A diner fires a waitress for violating customer privacy, because she posted a photo of the note that a customer left on her receipt, then the diner blocked and deleted comments from people who disagreed with their actions. Failing to show empathy, honesty, patience, authenticity, and transparency about the situation, incited public fury, rage, and annoyance (pg.167). And another case, where Failing to acknowledge or apologize for using the n-word in a timely manner, results in all sponsors pulling their support from a TV cook.
The book emphasizes how speed is  of utter importance, and reiterates after every example what was good or bad about each company response. I find it interesting that some of the failed interactions had perfectly lawful explanations, without insult or bias, but still they failed. The social networks demand a more human response with honesty, patience, authenticity, and transparency.
I think that digital modalities has really changed the expectation of how companies are expected to interact with customers. It’s no longer acceptable to have a cold diplomatic legal explanation of “against company policy”, it’s got to be a quick honest response to appease the fury of the social-net. It frequently seems like the social networks just like being upset about ordinary things [that can be as  mundane as rainbow cookies or tea pots], so companies that interact with their customers on a personal (digital modality) level are better prepared to handle a crisis.


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