The standard line today is that it’s best for brands to practice transparency as much as possible. Maybe, though, the largest brands can get away with not being transparent. Amazon made two significant policy changes in the first weeks of March and refused to say anything about them. Nike endured a few months of crisis prior to Colin Kaepernick with nary a public word. Was avoiding comment the right call?
The fatal crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, 2019, re-opened PR issues surrounding a previous air disaster, the demise of a Lion Air flight in October 2018. Boeing’s 737 Max 8 was the aircraft in both crashes. Boeing denies a new flight control system in the Max 8 is to blame for the Lion Air crash. It also claims it communicated to airlines how to use the system. Some victims’ families deny Boeing’s claims.
Developing a social listening campaign is an important part of any communications strategy, as it can point to new trends as well as be invaluable as a crisis and issues management tool. But thanks to technology, it need not be difficult. Here are some tools communications professionals are using to ensure they know what is bubbling about their brands on social media.
Social media can be a brand’s greatest friend or greatest foe in a crisis. Being honest, saying you’re sorry and responding to complaints with an authentic voice are keys to success, a panel of communications experts told the PR News Crisis Management Summit this week. Here are a few more things you should consider.
A new study from PR News and Crisp, a social media issue detection and crisis monitoring firm, of more than 400 PR executives finds more than half of respondents saying their brands and organizations have current crisis plans. The downside is brands seem slow to react to a situation during off hours and communicators say they lack the resources to respond to a crisis.
Veteran PR guru Katie Paine looks at the crisis responses of the New England Patriots and the Chinese company Huawei. She gives neither one of them a passing grade.
A roundup of takeaways from select articles in the current edition of PR News.
While anecdotal evidence shows many or even most recent PR crises were self-induced and therefore predictable and preventable, more than a few “come out of the blue,” says Emma Monks, head of trust and safety at Crisp, a social media issue detection and crisis monitoring firm. Fortunately, many of the same tactics used in predictable crises are of use in managing unexpected #PR crises, Monks says.
One-size-fits-all is great for some things, but it rarely works when managing a PR crisis. Recent evidence is the statement the New England Patriots issued when its owner was caught in a sting operation. Uttering a quick denial of alleged wrongdoing is a bad move unless you can back up your statement with facts. Better to say you’ll wait to comment until more facts are available and move on.
PR crises are winnable, says Hill+Knowlton Strategies’ crisis chief and managing partner Kevin Elliott. In fact, organizations should see crises as opportunities to display their bona fides to the market. He cites research showing brands that manage a PR crisis well can and do improve their market value.