A recent survey on post-crisis brand reputation conducted by the Innovative Research Group, found that 6 in 10 Canadians form an opinion about a brand in a crisis within a day of the news hitting, while 4 in 10 form an opinion with the hour.
Of course all marketers will hope they never have to use their crisis plan at launch, it is critical to have one just in case, so everyone is clear on the process and protocol that needs to be implemented in 60 minutes or less!
So how ready are you?
Here are 5 questions to help gauge your crisis-readiness:
#1) How quickly can you react? Does your crisis plan/process rely on consensus gathering and legal approvals that typically take hours or days? How quickly could you respond to a breaking issue on Twitter, even if it’s just to assure your followers that you’re aware of it and are acting? When you fail to take control, the information vacuum will be filled by consumers, critics, regulators, media, maybe even by your own employees. The damage is done.
#2) Who you gonna call? When you see the first tweet or get that phone call, is it clear who needs to be engaged? Do you know how to reach them, at 10 pm, on a summer weekend? What external audiences need to be consulted and updated?
#3) How do you get the message out, fast? Do you have a channel strategy for media and social media? How will you arm your call centre with breaking news? How will you ensure consistency in messaging across the organization? Do you have a separate (non product/promotional) web site that you can spring to life to provide news updates?
#4) Who’s doing the talking? The seniority and expertise of your spokesperson needs to fit the situation. Are they knowledgeable? Are they media trained? Will they reflect accountability and concern at a high level?
#5) How will you listen and respond to ongoing inquiries in every channel? How well you do this is essential to long-term reputation. Consider that 71% of consumers who receive a response from a brand go on to recommend that brand, while only 19% of consumers who do not receive a response go on to recommend the brand (Source: NM Incite).
Harbinger is a Toronto-based North American marketing agency with expertise in product launches. We help brands get noticed and purchased.
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