Does your brand have a clear crisis management plan?

Each day I hear more and more statistics around the majority of FTSE 100 or Fortune 500 companies getting into social media.

The reluctance to allow clients to communicate with brands is being overpowered as it becomes mainstream.

Brands that are not on Facebook or Twitter are:

  • At least, feeling the peer pressure.
  • At most, developing highly formulated infrastructures to support social media marketing and social business as their businesses are transformed by close relationships with their clients.

This pressure to “do social” doesn’t always mean brands are entering with clear plans objectives and tactics. They let the pressure build, dive in and open themselves up to customers. Unprepared for a face full of coke.

All Shook Up
© eviloars

We’ve seen some epic fails in recent time. Here are 14 for example.

Many PR and community managers are thinking – if I have to face a nightmare like @O2 – will I be able to respond with such finesse.

A lot of which could be avoided by establishing ground rules. On my list of priorities for any social media effort are:

  1. What is our crisis management plan?
    This should cover:

    • What constitutes an “issue”?
    • Who is authorise to respond?
    • Who do you call in what department?
    • Where will we respond – offline, in private or in public?
    • When – what real time quick response team is in place?
    • How will you respond? “Sweep and hid” or “my bad” ?
  2. What is our Objective?
    • Content syndication?
    • Brand building?
    • Advocacy?
    • Engagement?
  3. What does success look like?
    • How will I measure it?

Only from there will I move to looking at what success in a “campaign” or action might look like and how that fits with the overall strategy and path. Where the questions and answers vary, but having the following is key.

  1. A product owner – the task master that will ensure all content providers are in place, and that their content is on time and on brand
  2. A content calendar – however simple or elaborate.
  3. Regular content meetings – possibly even daily stand-ups where – “Each member talks about progress since the last stand-up, the anticipated work until the next stand-up and any impediments, taking the opportunity to ask for help”

But coming back to dealing with crisis – make sure you have the fallback plan in place. Know who is the second backup, who can respond with a video if nexessary, comments to the press, TV etc. Then at a smaller scale, preset authorised refunds or “gifts” as apologies.

Refreshment. Ice cold!Its important to have it all in place before the bottle explodes.


Especially over the hot summer months when someone’s server or service is bound to be brought down by the heat – just as half your team are on vacation sipping cool drinks.

I would love to hear your views!

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