Brands are evolving in a world where information is amplified by social networks, or even transformed by AI. It is therefore not surprising that crises that can have a harmful impact on the image of companies are becoming more and more numerous. In this article, we provide you with some of the key steps to take if your company or brand is facing an online crisis.
1. A crisis doesn’t just happen to others
While we cannot predict with certainty the number of companies that will have to deal with a bad buzz, it is clear that the risks of crisis are increasingly high and their occurrence more and more frequent. Indeed, consumers are more aware of the weight of their opinion on companies that influence the entire value chain, ranging from marketing strategy to product design.
Consumers now place the social and environmental impact of companies among the primary purchasing criteria. ecommerce seo firm For companies, having a deleterious impact in these areas means seeing their sales and turnover decrease. Social networks have become powerful tools for disseminating information, capable of reaching a considerable audience.
41% of companies that experienced a reputational crisis reported a loss of turnover. In 2018, the distributor Carrefour was involved in a scandal over the sale of spoiled meat which caused its turnover to fall by 2.8% in the first quarter of 2018. Other companies having faced a crisis on the Web can encounter difficulties in recruiting or even retaining their talents, this is the case for the company D+ For Care after the controversial interview with its founder Claire Despina. The latter awkwardly expressed her difficulties in recruiting (particularly interns), and had to face negative comments from Internet users regarding her vision of the world of work.
It therefore appears essential for a company, regardless of the size of its structure, to set up a continuous monitoring system to both better understand its ecosystem and its stakeholders, but also anticipate the occurrence of a crisis.
2. Anticipate to better protect yourself
In the run-up to a crisis, the key is anticipation. To do this, it is important to develop an upstream monitoring strategy. This must define the different steps and procedures to follow in the event of a crisis.
Some examples of questions to ask yourself first:
- What are the indicators to monitor?
- Which spaces should be monitored (traditional media, social networks, review platforms, other sources from the Dark Web, etc.) and how often?
- Who are the people to mobilize (internally/externally)?
- What is everyone’s role in this crisis?
- What are the typical messages to write? In what key? With what editorial line? From which account(s)?
- On which platform(s) can you potentially communicate?
Please note that you need to identify the different factors that could lead your business to a crisis. The objective is to prepare as many scenarios as possible in order to activate the right levers at the right time in the event of a crisis.
At Yamens, we recommend that you set up a monitoring system capable of detecting potential themes and weak signals that could be negatively associated with your brand or company, as well as influencers likely to comment on and relay a crisis. book marketing services
3. Report on the crisis situation
Just like traditional online media, social networks are strong allies in a social listening strategy focused on UGC, the famous “User Generated Content”. When a crisis occurs, a monitoring system is only complete if it includes monitoring of online media, combined with monitoring of so-called “conversational” spaces (forums, blogs and social networks). This 360° system can help you identify the triggers of a crisis as well as the propagation of information on these different channels.
Our experts, using different strategic intelligence tools, carry out personalized and exhaustive monitoring of the Web, in order to better help you identify the triggering signals of a crisis linked to your brand. The implementation of appropriate indicators makes it possible to quantify its evolution and regularly assess the state of the situation.
Analytical reports are also made available to take a step back from the subject and coldly assess the crisis in terms of virility, tone, comments and articles detected.
Understanding how people and media see and react to you is key to the next step in your strategy.
4. Master your crisis communication and occupy the field
It is essential to communicate the right message at the right time. Indeed, according to I fop 65% of French people expect a company to apologize and explain quickly after a crisis occurs.
Be careful, however, responding without having understood what you have been accused of can arouse the anger of Internet users and online media and worsen the situation. The Opera group experienced this after being at the center of several investigations for mistreatment of its residents in Ephod. The group reacted late to the accusations of mistreatment, giving time for media like Le Monde and Médiapart to take up the subject. Given the seriousness of the situation, an offensive press release was posted online to contest the accusations, as well as the conduct of independent investigations to refute the facts with which they were accused. Opera denied to the end the accusations of mistreatment of its residents. With extracts from the book Les Fossoyeurs (implicating Opera) published on social networks and a communication strategy inconsistent with what it was accused of, the group fueled the anger of Internet users.
However, communicating at the right time on the different channels available and with the right message is a real asset. Using appropriate social media gives significant visibility to the message you want to convey. Listening to conversations through social listening allows you to check whether this message has been conveyed correctly.
Another interesting case: in 2019, while Renault had to face the arrest of its CEO Carlos Ghosn in Japan, the repercussions on the company’s notoriety were quickly felt. In this case, Renault chose to use Twitter to communicate essential information on the situation while using usual means of communication such as press releases. This proactive communication allowed Renault to effectively manage the crisis and limit the impact on its reputation.
5. Be patient
Crisis communication can take time to resolve; businesses often need to be patient. If the elements of the crisis have been correctly identified, and intelligent, sincere and effective communication has been put in place, the crisis has a very good chance of resolving. During and after a crisis, moderation allows you to better control the speech of others. By answering people’s questions and removing false information, it allows the company to reduce misinformation. It provides answers to reassure consumers, demonstrating transparency. The establishment of a moderation charter must be done before a crisis. By evaluating the possible scenarios and the typologies of comments, the company can create its moderation charter, which must be adapted according to the situation, the comments and their tone.
It is important to keep in mind that a business will never be able to completely erase a crisis that has emerged on the web. However, Internet users will not always remember why a crisis started, but they will always remember how it was handled.
How does your company handle online crisis situations? Do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your crisis monitoring needs and find out how we can help you strengthen your brand image.