In a Crisis? Opinion Research Can Answer Key Questions

Research prior to or early on in a crisis, says Bill Dalbec of APCO Insight, sets a baseline for the enterprise’s image, awareness of the crisis issues, recall of the issues and impact of the issues; research during and after the crisis measures the impact on the enterprise’s reputation and associated business outcomes. Here are some examples from Dalbec of what opinion research can provide:

• Understanding current perceptions and attitudes toward the enterprise;

• Determining awareness of the issues involved;

• Uncovering the language used by stakeholders to help guide development of public messages;

• Evaluating an enterprise’s story line and isolating the most powerful messages in protecting its reputation;

• Identifying emerging issues as the crisis unfolds and how the messaging may need to be refined;

• Connecting the enterprise’s reputation with specific business outcomes such as giving the enterprise the benefit of the doubt in litigation or a crisis situation; and,

• Monitoring any escalation in negative attitudes toward the enterprise, its executives and products or services, and developing appropriate responses to mitigate these negatives.

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