Last week, we had a guest speaker, Melissa Agnes, Skype our class. Her view on Crisis Communication was not only insightful, but brutally honest. We often misuse the word “crisis”. So allow me to clarify, a Crisis is when a situation directly threatens the reputation of an organization for the long term. The term that we tend to confuse with “crisis” is the word “issue”. An issue is when a situation is negative and threatens the reputation of an organization for the short term. Knowing the difference actually makes a difference!
One of the main things that Melissa stressed was that it is all about how you handle the situation. If you are dealing with a social media issue and you are trying to deal with the repercussions, you have to make the response personal. A good example of a company that just absolutely missed the bar was Epicurious Bagels during the Boston Marathon bombing back in 2013. Take a look below.
If you can see up above, they are promoting a whole-grain cranberry scone all while trying to newsjack the Boston bombing. Not only did it really strike a chord with customers and tweeters around the country, but it was also incredibly insensitive. To make matters worse, they tweeted the same copy and paste response to every person that tweeted them.
Tip: Don’t do this ever ever EVER!!!!
A company that got it right was DiGiorno Pizza. While the #WhyIStayed hashtag was spreading like wildfire to promote domestic violence awareness, many women were tweeting why they stayed in abusive relationships. DiGiorno tweeted “Why I stayed #YouHadPizza.” Not only was the just awful, someone clearly did not do their research behind the hashtag. BUT, what made the difference between DiGiorno and Epicurious is how the situation was handled. DiGiorno actually personalized ALL of their responses to every tweet they got.
^^^This is how you handle a situation.
The best way to handle an issue or crisis is taking the time to figure it out. Always prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Personalizing your responses, especially on social media, will always show that you are at least trying. If you give an artificial or generalized statement, people can see right through it and you were honestly better off saying nothing than saying anything at all. I hope you guys learned something from this post. I also want to thank Melissa Agnes for truly giving such an awesome lecture and you can check out her website here. Photo credit goes to Forbes, Mashable, and Time.
Until next time,