By: Rui Sun
Nowadays, the news cycle is measured in seconds, and the court of public opinion doesn’t wait to pass judgment. They happen anywhere, anytime recklessly. We, as a PR person should understand that when a crisis hits, minutes are money. We should know how to strategically manage client’s message and frame the debate.
While in the midst of a crisis, knowing what community is saying and what their expectations are very necessary to help people get through to the other side. Put a system in place for dealing with crises so your brand isn’t left unprepared. and might even help with deeper brand engagement.
Years before, Pepsi came under fire because of a commercial ad known as “Live for Now Moments Anthem”. Some one mentioned during the class this week, “always think what’s the worst that could happen.” It’s hard to believe that no one questioned this commercial ad during process. The set-up is a multiculti cast engaged in street protest. While Pepsi never commits to a particular cause, Black Lives Matter and immigration both come out in the video. The ad spot sets Jenner as a model who becomes politicized by a protest happening near her street shoot, and she joins the march. At a pivotal moment when there is a stand-off with cops, she gives officer a Pepsi, diffusing tensions, and everyone cheers. Soon after, this attempt to position Pepsi as both a protest drink and a balm to heal tensions was lampooned. The in-house-produced campaign was pulled within 24 hours and Pepsi apologized. Many of the signs being held up by the commercial’s protesters read “Join the Conversation,” the iconic beverage brand was at a loss. Even though, this situation is unable to hurt their bottom line, it serves to highlight the importance of anticipating engagement and making sure that a brand’s position can be rebuilt.
The crisis is not terrible, it happens all the time. The key points is how to handle it. With the right plan, a company could rebuild their brand and social image as an opportunity to not only start new, but expand stronger:
Acknowledge The Problems
Rebranding can stem from an internal culture shift, business focus shift or a PR crisis. Acknowledge the problems is the first necessary step or rebranding after a crisis. Addressing the issue publicly and presenting your intent to improve helps you get rid of the crisis and can reduce scrutiny and make rebuilding more successful.
Review and revise tactics
Effective crisis communications tactics are not one for all. With content and news being shared at break-neck speed, many times through new mediums and channels that didn’t even exist when you developed your plan, it’s important to evaluate and update your plan at least on a yearly basis.
Getting know team Members.
It is important to have a defined crisis team with assigned roles and responsibilities. If your client or organization had some employee changes recently, revise the team roster and make sure you have everyone in their most appropriate position.
Use channels and monitoring tools.
Having effective monitoring tools — Talkwalker, Hootsuite, even Meltwater — in place, and paying attention to them, can help you identify an issue before it becomes a crisis. Do not only merely list them. Think of the priority and relative significance in the light of the situation as well as the purpose of your client.