Conference: “Defence strategies are part of crisis management.”

The end of the semester is almost here and the only word coming in my mind is DEADLINES! Currently I have to write: 1 debate, 2 pitches, 3 reports around 1000 words each and 1 essay of 2500 words. All of them for the next 4 weeks, and of course during the Christmas break I have to do 2 essays around 2000 essay each and another 2000 words report for this project. Lord, have mercy!

Two weeks ago I had a conference on the topic: “Online brand promotion and defence strategies” where each member of our team had to speak for 5 minutes. We divided our topic and my part was   “Defence strategies are part of crisis management.”

Here is a summary of my presentation:

My Paper

My conference had three major points: how to prepare the brand’s reputation for different situations, how to manage a crisis and how to use post-crisis communication in order to repair or prevent reputational damage.

Crisis are seen as one of the biggest threats for a brand’s reputation, especially in the convergent media era, where it takes only a tweet to bring either success or failure.  The consequences of a crisis not only can influence the brand’s credibility and sales, but also can have an impact on the organizational-stakeholders relationship.

Firstly, In order to be able to manage a crisis, an organization needs to be able to understand all the aspects that influence this kind of situation. According to Timothy Coombs (1995) there are 4 types of causes: faux pas, accidents, terrorism and transgressions. He defines faux pas as: “an unintentional action that an external agent tries to transform into a crisis” (Coombs, p.455). Let’s take for example the controversial case of US Airways NSFW tweet. Everything started during a routine conversation with an unhappy customer. The next day US Airways twitted a NSFW image along with their response.  The tweet was removed an hour later, but it was already all over Twitter. The company apologized and explained that everything was a mistake, as their actual intention was to report the image. When they did that the URL of the image was copied into that tweet, and the two tweets actually linked to each other.  (Ryan Broderick, 2014)

Images used in the slides in order to present the case study:

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Source: ( http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/us-airways-just-tweeted-out-one-of-the-most-graphic-things-y )

Secondly, there are three major key points to consider when it comes to manage brand reputation facing a crisis: be prepared, cope with the situation and actions after the crisis.

  1. Be prepared!

Investing time and resources in a crisis management plan will enhance the brand stability. To be considered is a SWOT analysis which helps to determine what the possible scenarios of a crisis might be (Strengthening non-profits group, no date). Also, considering that traditional crisis management isn’t enough anymore, the ability to be ready to create multi-media content is a necessity. In the interest of that, the online volume of conversations regarding the brand should be monitored. The best tool that can be used is to set up alerts. (Jasmine Jaume, 2013)

  1.   Cope with the situation.

Once a crisis started, it can’t be approached from a general perspective without acknowledging the context. There are many theories when it comes to crisis communication, but maybe the most known and used is the “Situational crisis communication theory” (SCCT) elaborated by the same Timothy Coombs. He focuses on three main factors when evaluating the situation. Those are: crisis responsibility, crisis history and prior reputation. From these three factors, three crisis clusters are formed: victim, accident and intentional. At this point of applying the theory there are three strategies of response that an organization can use such as: denial, diminishment and rebuilding. (Matthew Wayne Seeger, 2003). The mind map used in the presentation offered a view of the SCCTs concept and how the theory applied in the case of US Airways tweet. I believed it was useful as it visualize the theory in general and applied on the case. I am aware that I have to improve my mind-mapping skills.

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3.After the crisis

It is important to understand how the crisis evolved and affected the brand. In the interest of that, documenting and analysing each event will allow the preparation for future attacks. Also, the work done will reflect in the future social media marketing campaigns where the approach will relate with the perception that the brand has upon its consumers. (BERNSTEIN crisis management)

In conclusion, as crises are seen as one of the biggest threats for a brand’s image, an organization should have an “in case of” plan, having approaches such as a SWOT analyses or the SCCT theory. In this way an organization will be able to change the course and outcome of a situation.

I tried to make the presentation as clear as possible, because at some point it was too heavy. Even if to me made sense as it was related with everything that I read, when I asked for a second opinion I realized that the structure wasn’t clear enough and I cut down some of the theoretical aspects. I really enjoyed the topic and I gathered some useful information that I could use in the future.

Referencing

BERNSTEIN CRISIS MANAGEMENT. (). Social Media Crisis Management. Available: http://www.bernsteincrisismanagement.com/social-media-crisis-management.html                               Last accessed 3.11.2014.

Coombs, W.T. (1995) ‘Choosing the right words: The development of guidelines for the selection of the “appropriate” crisis response strategies’, Management Communication Quarterly, 8, 447–476.

Jasmine Jaume . (2013). Using Social Media Monitoring for Crisis Management. Available: http://www.brandwatch.com/2013/02/using-social-media-monitoring-for-crisis-management-draft/  Last accessed 2.11.2014.

Matthew Wayne Seeger, Timothy Lester Sellnow, Robert R. Ulmer ( 2003 )Communication and Organizational Crisis, : Greenwood Publishing Group.

Ryan Broderick. (2014). US Airways Just Tweeted Out One Of The Most Graphic Things You’ve Ever Seen A Brand Tweet. Available: http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/us-airways-just-tweeted-out-one-of-the-most-graphic-things-y.  Last accessed 4.11.2014

Strengthening nonprofits group. (no date). Managing Crisis. Available: http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/e-learning/online/managingcrisis/default.aspx?chp=1 Last accessed 4.11.2014.

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