Let’s face it. We all love it when everything is going well, without a worry in sight that could possibly dampen our moods. While these imaginary settings are a great place to live in, the reality is that bad things happen, regardless of how hard we’ve worked to do the right things.
When it comes to the digital world and social media, brand crises are almost unavoidable. They usually happen at times and situations when we least expect them too, making us wonder whether all the efforts we’ve put into building our brands are worth it at the end of the day.
Whether you like it or not, like paying your utility bills, it’s important to have the correct tools and people in place to ensure a crisis doesn’t occur. As they say, prevention is the best cure.
While it’s quite difficult to predict when exactly a brand crisis will happen, there are a number of tools that your brand could use to prevent one from occurring in the first place.
Have a crisis or risk management strategy
The old adage goes “preparation is everything”. No matter how good your organisation is at managing crises, one thing for certain is that having a crisis prevention strategy goes a long way.
It’s therefore necessary to have a proper laid out plan for what to do when each potential event or crisis happens. This plan needs to be specific for each possible problem and should not be too rigid.
A crisis strategy or risk management strategy should have predefined roles for staff members or any other stakeholders on the marketing or brand crisis team. This ensures that issues are dealt with in a structured manner so that people don’t scramble around for too long trying to make a decision on how to put out the fire.
Monitor your socials and the media
This is one of the most important activities that can save your business from unnecessary negative attention. It should form a part of the daily tasks of an organisation’s marketing or public relations team.
You may think that this requires too much time and effort than you would rather prefer to be spent on other tasks. However, only responding to a crisis after you’ve been contacted by a journalist may be too late.
It’s easy for information, and in particular misinformation, to spread like wildfire. A negative Tweet based on wrong or incomplete information can put your brand in a negative light, and may cause you to lose your audience or customers. This could then lead to a loss in business.
With social and media monitoring, this can be avoided as you can immediately deal with the threat as soon as it surfaces, rather than playing catch up. Responding late to an ongoing crisis can also be costly to fix and must be avoided, where possible.
If you have a successful or popular brand then it means you are doing something right. Even so, there is a good chance that there are negative sentiments being expressed by your audience or customers online on some platform. Besides, you cannot please everyone.
Sentiment analysis or opinion mining monitors media text to identify whether the user-generated contents’ sentiments are negative, neutral or positive. It should form a part of your media monitoring strategy and can be achieved using various electronic tools.
This can be done manually though can be a tedious feat. Most digital marketers make use of media monitoring software. This can be either open source or paid. Another option is to use a media monitoring company to give you regular insights on whatever media topics or product reviews you’re tracking.
Do your research
Google is everyone’s friend, well for the most part. Doing online searches on business reviews and social media posts will cost you nothing, except time. First figure out what kind of brand you are and the type of products or services you offer then see if this is the way customers view them too.
Carefully craft social media posts, recheck and read them from your audience’s point of view before posting. Listen carefully to your audience and what they are saying about you or your rivals. This will give you an added advantage when it comes to preventing a brand crisis.
Another worthwhile research technique is to study carefully how other brands, both in and out of your industry, are managing or have previously managed crises of various forms. This gives you a good starting point when developing an ongoing crisis strategy or creating a crisis policy for staff
Tips to consider when tackling risk management
With all the right tools in place, you should always know that your responses to your audience determine your destiny. Try to ensure that your brand management team listens carefully to your audience giving well calculated responses that put their concerns at ease.
According to the novelist and brand consultant Mohsin Hamid, “empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself”. It’s important to exercise some empathy when communicating with your audience.
Oftentimes, they may use social media only after trying to contact your business through other means with little to no success. Try not to undermine concerns or issues they have with your brand or its products.
Take your time to address the issue and use a step-by-step approach to determine the cause. Once you have addressed the issues, your brand will come out better for it. You could even get a positive review for good customer service.
Prevent a crisis and safeguard your brand
Brand crises can be managed effectively by ensuring that all the right tools are in place. If you do not have the time or patience to engage with your audience directly, there is always the option of hiring a dedicated third party.
Know the difference between what is and what isn’t a crisis. Respond, but don’t argue—sometimes people are just looking for attention. Be prepared for any crisis. You never know what may come your way.
Talk to Digital Grind to learn more about digital tools for your marketing campaigns.