A crisis is one thing that very few PR professionals want to think about. However, crisis management is a critical part of any good PR plan. Did you know that brand tracking can help you prepare for a crisis, deal with it and report on it when it’s all over? Let’s find out how.
When a PR crisis strikes, it can take various forms:
- Customers disliking your new offering,
- Consumers taking offence to your marketing material, or
- News breaks about a problem in your company or a scandal involving an employee.
Before you can contain a crisis, you actually need to know that it’s happening.
In the midst of a crisis, responding quickly can often be the key to preserving your brand’s reputation. Thanks to social media, crisis containment is becoming even harder for brands, as millions of users on social media can very quickly make an incident go viral. This makes it imperative to stay on top of the conversation from the get-go.
This is where brand tracking comes in. Here are three ways it can help you manage a PR crisis before, during and after it hits:
1. Before a crisis hits
The best time to prepare for a crisis is before it strikes. But how do you do that?
Brand tracking comes in handy here as you will be notified when your brand is mentioned in the media. That way, you can respond to the mention, and handle the issue before it spirals out of control.
You can also utilise your brand tracking for crisis management planning. Look back at past media coverage during a crisis that you – or a competitor – may have experienced. How was the issue dealt with? What kind of reaction did it receive from consumers?
Armed with that information, you can put together some guidelines for dealing with a crisis. Although each crisis is different, and details can’t be predicted in advance, developing a crisis management plan before the fact can help to keep response times quick.
2. During a crisis
While you can’t know months in advance that a crisis is headed your way, you can know when something bad is brewing. Your brand tracking service provider will deliver articles, blog posts, audio and video clips mentioning your brand to you as soon as the information is made public.
This can help you detect negative coverage as the news breaks, giving you a head start on containing the crisis and minimising damage to your brand.
It will also allow you to reply to any negative comments or queries before they spiral out of control. However, if your replies aren’t enough to stop the crisis in its tracks, you can use brand tracking to minimise its effects.
Once your crisis has started, it’s easy for this PR nightmare to grow, despite your best efforts to stem the flow of information. Use brand tracking to keep up with the story as it evolves, and make information available to the public as new facts and rumours are reported.
3. After a crisis ends
Once the news coverage starts to die down, take time to revisit the coverage you received during the crisis and analyse it.
See if the sentiment of the coverage changed as the crisis evolved. If it did, take note if the change was caused by a particular publication or reporter and see if a response might have played a role in this change.
Take your time and use your brand tracking service to do a good post-crisis analysis. What you learn from examining your most recent issue will help you prepare for – or even prevent – the next one.
Looking deeply into the coverage you received can give you good post-mortem of the crisis. Was the general consensus that you responded well? Was there anything you should do differently next time?
Wondering how brand tracking can help your business perform at its best? Check out our blog post, How to keep track of your brand's media coverage.