Crisis marketing, damage control, reputation management… whatever you want to call it, it’s a necessary evil. It’s like purchasing Alka-Seltzer on a hazy Sunday morning – you wish you didn’t have to take it, but it’s certainly effective in getting rid of a mojito-induced headache.
When disaster strikes it’s important to be quick, responsive and honest, especially for large companies in the media spotlight. Transparency is King here – people want and appreciate the truth, no matter how harsh the reality may be.
With B2B and B2C communication happening more and more on social media channels between both large influential companies and their customers, it’s important for businesses to be responsive to avoid the risk of further damaging their brand.
Social media backlash should be expected, and it’s important to have your marketer firefighters positioned on the front line – crises obviously vary in seriousness and responses should be worded appropriately, but the main point I’m trying to make here is a response, any response, will help.
Saying nothing can sometimes be as bad as the crisis in the first place. Take YouTube for example – Logan Paul’s since deleted video filmed in Aokigahara, Japan, quickly created a storm of criticism – for not only the vlogger himself but the video hosting platform also.
YouTube was quickly criticised for their processes, in this case for not monitoring and filtering uploads thoroughly enough, but also for their lack of response – for not being the ones to pull Paul’s video in the first instance, but for also not releasing a statement until a week after the event.
A media silence can create a sense of nonchalance, and indifference can easily be interpreted as having an uncaring or uninterested attitude towards matters of seriousness. A sensitive, human-crafted statement will make the world of difference to let consumers know you’re not only handling the situation but are empathic also.
It’s not all bad
Things happen, and things will probably happen in the future.
Obviously, sensitivity is key, but when amusing situations arise it can pose an opportunity for the brave – take advantage of the situation and use the opportunity to be playful and reactive.
KFC has provided us with a few laughs over the last week – an internal error with new logistics supplier DHL has seen nearly all KFC outlets without chicken for their hungry customers. It’s a pretty devastating blow, a fast food chicken chain with no chicken. Despite the disaster, KFC has done a good, proactive job in handling the situation online, even if some of their outlets are still either closed or running limited menus, some ten days after restaurants initial closures.
A print advertisement appeared in both The Metro and The Sun on Friday – a playful piece featuring an empty bargain bucket save for a few crumbs, with store name appropriately rearranged to reflect the situation alongside a frank apology.
As their advertisement says – it’s not ideal. Sales losses will undoubtedly hit harder than the success of their recent print advertisement, but by making light of the situation they’re ticking off several boxes at once – updating consumers on the situation, keeping the public interested in their brand and taking advantage of the exposure.
The important thing is to try and keep the public on your side – if you win that battle, then the war is not lost.