Impact of Marketing Communications / Marketing communications

Impact of Marketing Communications

Last Thursday Radian6 had the pleasure of hosting Shel Holtz, principal of Holtz Communication + Technology, for our weekly webinar. The topic of Shel’s presentation was the impact social media is having on internal crisis management.

Shel’s “Crisis Communications Conundrum”

While the fundamental principles of crisis communication remain the same, social media has changed everything.

Shel defined a crisis as an “unexpected event or disclousure that threatens your brand’s ability to do business”. Here the basic definition of what a crisis is, the public’s response to a crisis, and the fundamentals of how to respond to a crisis are unchanged by social media.

Crisis ABCs

Shel outlines the “Crisis ABC’s” in some detail in the webinar but the basics elements of a crisis that brands mustaddress are summarized here:

  1. The public is risk averse.
  2. The public attaches little credibility to business advocates.
  3. The media’s role is based on conflict.
  4. Advocacy groups will exploit your crisis.
  5. Emotion, not logic, is at issue.
  6. Crises are characterized by symbols.

These are the elements that every crisis communications response needs to account for — and these remain true in today’s social media era.

The Fundamentals of Responding

Just as the elements of a crisis have not changed, neither have the fundamentals of a brand’s crisis response. Again, Shel goes into deeper detail in the webinar.

  1. Respond quickly, accurately, and with care.
  2. Be transparent and accessible.
  3. Treat perception as fact.
  4. Acknowledge mistakes.
  5. Tailor messages to address the “angry” party.
  6. Note other side’s concerns.
  7. Make no public confrontation.
  8. Emphasize existing relationships.

The Modern Crisis and Why You Should Be Using Social Media to Respond

While the basic building blocks of a crisis and the fundamentals of a brand’s response have not changed, social media has altered to the way brands need to work through their crises.

The modern crisis has a tendency to erupt with unprecedented speed and people want a steady stream of information. Prior to the social media era, brands could rely on a more predictable news cycle to formulate and communicate their official responses. Communications professionals knew, for example, that they had to release a statement for the 6:00PM news and so they could gather with legal and company executives to wordsmith a response. Today, this isn’t the case.

Shel’s strategies for dealing with the “modern crisis” are to the point, brilliant, and best left to his own words. Check out the Internal Crisis Management & Social Media for his expert advice. And be sure to read our own ebook, All-Star Social Media Crisis Response for Brands.

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