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Crisis Management in Social Media

Case studies
by

Sam Thompson

on 12 December 2012

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Transcript of Crisis Management in Social Media

Case study 1. Upset public figure - Southwest Airlines A single tweet = hundred of angry fans

In September 2011 Green Day singer Billie Joe Armstrong was removed from a Southwest Airlines plane for refusing to hike his pants higher and asking the flight attendant if she didn’t have anything better to worry about. What did fans do on Social Media? Posted on SWA (Supplementary Welfare Allowance) wall Created a Facebook Group Bloggers/fans kept blogging How did Southwest Airlines overcome
the crisis using Social Media? Quick reaction = Crisis over Apologies to a customer and a public
(prioritized diffusing the situation over adopting a defensive approach) Social Media monitoring
(analysis by the Brand Monitor team at Position²) 24/7 media monitoring by Southwest Airlines staff Not blocking out the negative comments showing the‘human' side of Southwest. Timeline Conclusion Southwest Airlines overcame the crisis successfully, because of: Quick reaction
Apologetic/’human’ faced/personal response KFC’s Crisis Management Failure Case study 2. Rats in Taco Bell/KFC outlet in New York City, 2007 What KFC/Taco Bell Crisis Management did wrong? They mistook the story to be a local and not a global problem. It became painfully obvious when they issued their Press Release: “This is an isolated incident at a single restaurant at 331 6th Avenue in Greenwich Village, New York, and it is totally unacceptable,” said the statement, attributed jointly to KFC and Taco Bell. “The restaurant is closed and we will not allow it to be reopened until it has been sanitized and given a complete clean bill of health.” They failed to leverage the web for "defensive branding“ Positive messages weren’t heard across negative chatter Poor homepage presence Consumers looking for reassuring information from the marketers had to work hard to find it. Official statements about the problem were buried deep, rather than on the front page No personal engagement with the audience The statements were placed on the press pages in the company-information menus, rather than on YouTube and blogs. CEO produced an online video apology, but unlike the dozens of rat videos, Yum Brands (owner of KFC and Taco Bell) didn't post it on YouTube. What have we learnt from this failure?  Agree your communications strategy and formulate a rapid response. - more attention must be dedicated to hiring standards, training, monitoring, management, and ways of engaging and involving every employee in the brand. The attack may be targeting specific countries, but that doesn’t mean it won’t damage the brands reputation globally. The brand is being attacked, not the business area. Think about the impact of Google on your reputation. These days you need a solid search strategy to sit alongside your crisis communications plan, to ensure your side of the story gets heard. Be where the people are, talk to them personally through social media. What happened after the incident? People in the restaurant uploaded the videos on Youtube ‘KFS rats’ dublicates and versions started multiplying and went viral In a year the videos had been viewed around 1.2 million times The Social Media Crisis #NBCFail #McDstories #oilspill #southwest What has changed? Crisis Mitigation Building out a response network

Building out social media network to handle different stages/create audience specific communication Putting in place scenarios and guidelines for crisis management
Keeping staff informed and giving advice on public/press interaction
Mapping out the process for handling different types of social media crisis - corporate, internal, customer relations, social media Having a dedicated team on standby with relevant training
Designated staff members, ideally with community management experience and presence, who will handle different channels
Identifying and confirming key stakeholders within the company who will handle different types of crisis. Instant news

Social engagement with the news and public control of what becomes newsworthy

An insatiable thirst for information

Growth of sensationalist media ( type of media in which events and topics are over-hyped in a sensationalist, trivial or tabloid manner to increase viewership or readership numbers)

Citizen journalism (is when private individuals do what professional reporters do - play an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing, and disseminating news and information)

Anonymity and removal of other barriers to public communication A crisis is deemed to have occurred when either:
A company becomes aware that one of the identified risks has occurred
OR
When an event has occurred and an Authorised Spokesperson is uncertain as to whether a crisis exists What is a Crisis?   Respond in a timely manner
Define a process and contact points (out of business hours too)
Follow Rules of Engagement
Follow up with regular updates
Monitor responses and pre-empt any potential crisis escalation
Consider responding in “social speak” – do not rewrite an official press release Crisis Response Best Practise     Step 1: In the first instance, the Authorised Online Spokesperson is required to categorise the crisis as a Technical, Legal, Reputational or Commercial Crisis.
Step 2: The details of the crisis need to be confirmed by the Authorised Spokesperson – note down the time, location and other details
Step 3: The details of the crisis need to be assessed by the Authorised Spokesperson as to cause, severity and appropriate response. Recommended Crisis Response Process in social media   Step 4: If an Appropriate Response becomes evident, it should be executed, and the External Affairs Director informed
Step 5: If no Appropriate Response is evident then the Crisis is escalated to the External Affairs Director, Dan Cooke
Step 6: External Affairs Director, Dan Cooke, will escalate to Senior Management Team if crisis is deemed detrimental to the brand’s reputation and cannot be mitigated by above procedure   Doing it right Doing it wrong What do we tell our clients? Weekly reports, daily alerts

Specific, actionable, contextual

Our in-house Social Media team can manage your campaigns/build up Social Media presence ??? Social Media Alerts from Web Liquid How can you measure a potential problem before it becomes a crisis? Mass Effect ending Crisis management is the process by which an organization deals with a major event that threatens to harm the organization, its stakeholders, or the general public.

“A crisis is the perception of an unpredictable event that threatens important expectancies of stakeholders and can seriously impact an organizations performance and generate negative outcomes”

“An event that is an unpredictable, major threat that can have a negative effect on the organisation, industry, or stakeholders if handled improperly.” Tracking a crisis Knowing when to respond Closing the gap Customer service Corporate BP Oil Spill Despite positive reviews amongst the industry journalist community, a large group of vocal fans became outraged with the ending of the game.

Their outrage became well covered outside of the industry, across media outlets discussing the influence and nature of their joint petition to get the developer to change the ending of the game How did BioWare deal with the petition?

Stage 1: Management
Twitter Facebook

Stage 2: Press Release

Stage 3: Buzz Capitalisation April 2010 BP Oil Spill Crisis Management failure 20 April 2010
Explosion and fire on the BP-licensed Transocean drilling rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico.

115 workers are rescued, 17 of which are injured.

11 people are missing, presumably dead.

More than 8,000 birds, sea turtles, and marine mammals were found injured or dead. Brief overview Impressions Impressions Lack of humanity (practical, official)
- The first communication from BP is practical one, estimating the leak at 1000 barrels/day (24. april) – 4 days after the incident.

- The first tweet from BP (in capitals): “BP PLEDGES FULL SUPPORT FOR DEEPWATER HORIZON” with a link to a press release (27. april) – 7 days after the incident BD communication disaster: overview Not owning up/doesn’t take the responsibility
BP CEO Tony Hayward tells Reuters (30. april):

“It wasn’t our accident’ but we’ll clean spill.” Blaming others
- blaming contractors for the pipe.
- blaming the engineers for not informing the them about the pipe faulty. Wrong strategy
- they use several strategies in order to solve the situation: compensational, bolstering and evasion of responsibility – none of them doesn’t seem appropriate – public is furious - BP doesn’t speak to them: Contradicting the truth
Hayward underestimates the impact of the leak on Sky news (15. May):

“The impact will be very very modest ... the ocean is very big and the oil we’re putting into it is tiny.”

The reality

BT reported 1,000 barrels of oil per day leaked to the ocean but the latter was 5,000 barrels of oil instead. This angered the public and trust was broken. On the BP.com ‘Gulf of Mexico response’ page BP updates on relief effort and contact numbers whilst NY Times creates an ‘Oil Spill Tracker’ to view predictions and actual spread. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xv6zX7YL1wA BT CEO Tony Hayward proclaims thoughtlessly:

“ There’s no one who wants this over more than I do. I would like my life back.” Due to lack of humanity, communication and trust with the wider public, somebody created a parody twitter account @BPGlobalPR .
Its author writes an ‘Open letter to
the media’ (which goes viral instantly) By the 1st June the ‘Boycott BP’ Facebook page has 233,000 fans, the official BP pages have 18,000. @BPGlobalPR (parody) has 125,000 followers and @BP_America (official) has 10,000
By 2nd @BPGlobalPR sells $10,000 of ‘BP cares’ t-shirts and donates all proceeds to the recovery mission and get 134 entries into the unofficial logo redesign contest from amateur and professional designers Parody Twitter page more successful than BT official Twitter account Have a rough crisis plan in place
- smart organizations routinely assess their risk for potentially disastrous occurrences and develop a crisis response plan for worst-case scenarios. Rough crisis plans are updated and practised regularly. What BP should have done to mitigate the crisis: how to prepare communications Recognize the problem early: be quick and respond actively
-  Be quick and try to have initial response within the first hour.
- Respond actively on all of the available communication channels including the Internet, Intranet and mass notification systems.
- Remember to include employees in the initial response. Be consistent
- speak with one voice within the organisation, so you leave no room for misunderstandment
- be consistent by keeping spokespeople informed of crisis events and key message points

Be empathetic
- Provide some expression of concern/sympathy for victims. Put on your jeans and boots and get out there to help. Be a human!
- Make public safety the number one priority
- Be ready to provide stress and trauma counseling to victims of the crisis and their families, including employees Over-communicate
- Issue regular
- Frequent progress reports
- Use all of the available communication channels including the Internet, Intranet and mass notification systems.
- Shortly - be in control of your own disaster!
Communicate only what you know
- Be honest and transparent! Stick to what you know
- Assemble all the facts before it communicates
  Have a crisis management plan and update it at least annually.
Have a designate crisis management team that is properly trained.
Conduct exercise at least annually to test the crisis management plan and team.
Pre-draft select crisis management messages including content for dark web sites and templates for crisis statements.  Have the legal department review and pre-approve these messages. Crisis Preparation Best Practices: general advice A crisis management plan (CMP) is a reference tool, not a blueprint.  A CMP provides lists of key contact information, reminders of what typically should be done in a crisis, and forms to be used to document the crisis response.  A CMP is not a step-by-step guide to how to manage a crisis.  Pre-assigning tasks presumes there is a designated crisis team.  The team members should know what tasks and responsibilities they have during a crisis. Crisis Management Plan: general advice The common members of the crisis team as public relations, legal, security, operations, finance, and human resources.  However, the composition will vary based on the nature of the crisis.  Crisis Management Team: general advice A key component of crisis team training is spokesperson training.  Organizational members must be prepared to talk to the news media during a crisis. Media training should be provided before a crisis hits.  Spokesperson: general advice Be prepared to use a unique web site or part of your current web site to address crisis concerns.
Be prepared to use the Intranet as one of the channels for reaching employees and any other stakeholders than may have access to your Intranet.
Be prepared to utilize a mass notification system for reaching employees and other key stakeholders during a crisis Crisis Communication Channel Preparation Best Practices: general advice Take control
- respond actively and take responsibility
Be human
- talk to people personally and be empathetic Last word This doesn’t help –> 3 Key elements to crisis planning
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