Size matters, particularly when it comes to social crises. In fact, large brands with extensive presences globally are very big targets for those with mobile phones, which is just about everyone. Walmart has absorbed its share of social crises this summer. Dan Kneeshaw, the brand’s senior director, global communications, digital strategy & brand engagement, provides insight on how Walmart views social crises.
Facebook has announced a new feature: Crisis Response, a center that brings its various tools and features for responding to tragedies and natural disasters into one place. Open Crisis Response, select one of the ongoing crises in the world and you’ll be able to use Safety Check, Community Help, get important news updates and more.
The cruise ship industry is often on the wrong end of crisis communications, but Hurricane Irma has given Royal Caribbean the chance to show its humanitarian side, even as it deals with pressing customer service issues on social media. The Miami-based company is mobilizing four of its ships to help people in need with food, water and other supplies, in coordination with the federal government as well as local governments in St. Thomas and St. Maarten.
On the surface, Equifax seemed to respond to its data breach in textbook fashion. It issued an apology both in writing and in a video. The brand also set up a web site where consumers could check if their data had been compromised. A deeper dive, though, shows Equifax may have committed several costly errors in terms of crisis response. An early lesson from Equifax’s crisis is that merely having a crisis plan is not enough. Execution of the plan is critical, too.
New Hurricane Harvey-related public health concerns arose Aug. 31 when two explosions were reported at a chemical plant in Crosby, TX, about 25 miles outside of Houston. The plant, owned by French chemical company Arkema, lost power on Aug. 26 as a result of Harvey’s floods. Here are five ways Arkema’s communications team has responded to the crisis so far.
In the Houston area the priorities are rescue, assistance and recovery. Finger pointing about who’s to blame has started, but properly should come much, much later, if at all. Still, there are PR lessons in the early stages of what looks to be a years-long issue. Here are a few.
The experts we talk to routinely stress the importance of having a crisis plan. Of course, as we all learned when writing papers in school, it’s not enough simply to do the initial work—we must revise mindfully and make important adjustments. Attempting to appraise every aspect of your plan is intimidating and overwhelming, so start the evaluation process in stages.
Katie Paine grades the crisis response of Merck, whose CEO took a stand against the President that eventually led to the downfall of two White House advisory groups, and Kapersky Lab, which whiffed when its integrity was questioned.
In a crisis, a solid framework can make sure you’ve touched on all the major areas you need to communicate and that you haven’t overlooked something major. When the goal is to demonstrate responsibility and leadership, these “5 C’s” can cover all your bases for a reassuring and competent response.
The upside of technology is obvious. But when things go wrong on the tech side it can create havoc for a technology dependent brand. That was the case for Southwest Airlines last summer, when a computer malfunction grounded a slew of its flights and left thousands stranded. See how the brand used Facebook Live and other social media to keep its passengers and employees informed.