New Rules in Crisis Communications – Alerting The World
If you make anything, sell anything, impacted by weather, traffic or other events driven by nature or man, you need a plan. For purposes of this article, terrorism are events perpetrated by others against you and trust are events or efforts of goodwill or negligence/incompetency by you. Recall communications occurs by what you make or sell to the public and need a plan to stop others from selling it and consumers from buying it. There is one other category such as Katrina falls under trust because it’s about what you do when there is a crisis. We hear every day of hacker attacks but seem a bit blasé” about them until they impact you directly. Few would argue that Identity theft is certainly one of the new growth industries. There are also an increasing amount of gawkers, hackers, attackers whose profession is to ruin you. In addition, there are others like the person who caused the Tylenol poison scare in the 1986 yet still impacting the product today. It may also be blasé’ to say that privacy is gone and the more you use social media and indeed, the less privacy you have. It is also easy enough to understand is theft of credit cards and user account information perpetrated by evildoers.
It’s not that you will be attacked, you already are being attacked, your IT security staff and others are already at work trying to stop them. The question is when hackers succeed and the odds are they will, do you have a crisis strategy plan already in place to respond to it. Because the way you respond to the attack in the new social media, you may have already lost the trust of your customers. We worked on building a strategy process plan ahead of the crisis so everyone knew what do to when it did. Like a fire evacuation plan, except for any attack response plan.
As with the concept of terrorism, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. In fact, the problem is that if you are not speaking on the social media soapbox, then someone else is speaking and they may not be saying what you want them to say. Or worse, trust once lost is seldom regained. The price to regain trust is also more than the cost of the original mistake. Last summer we all watched millions of gallons of oil a mile deep everyday on nearly media source.
If you are not learning from and acting upon all the details and consequences from these instances of corporate negligence it will certainly happen to you. In addition, your own gross negligence and incompetence may be fatal to your career and also never forgiven. Remember the world is all in “ink” and it’s not a “dress rehearsal.” There are now great tools that track social media (Actiance) and provide corporate tracking of both internal and external media threads. Moreover, with an increasing amount of corporate compliance requirements, social media marketing must be in a position to respond in a crisis. Whether an attack on corporate systems or epic disaster such as BP or Exxon oil spills or other disasters, you need to anticipate and build plans or models to be ready for every social media situation. No one would doubt that Tony Hayward the former BP CEO who made the situation even worse with his comment about “waiting his life back.” The internet is also “ink” and everything will always be there and you can delete it, so plan your content and respond to your crisis carefully.
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