It’s a familiar scenario, you are developing a brand and it has grown to become a market leader and all of a sudden your brand and your company are hit by a crisis.  It started with a single consumer who was upset or disappointed for any given reason, that person then shares a post on FaceBook or a blog and it goes “Viral”

What do you do?

You call the marketing department who have been alerted by the social listening team or external consultants and they confirm it has indeed started to go viral, and because it a consumer brand this thing is gaining traction and fast.

In the modern context, most crises are played out in the social media and in some cases a specific social media could be the battleground.  Something might be being shared all over FaceBook but in Twitter it’s all quiet and because of the print and TV news cycles it will take a few hours before they can react.  These hours are valuable for companies to respond.

Who else is watching your crisis unfold?

Competitors are watching with great interest and it is an important time for them as well as they will be looking for opportunities to act.  Enter the “social seeding companies” who can and often do add fuel to the fire as you are trying to manage a public relations nightmare.

We have all heard President Donald Trump talk about fake news, it does happen, perhaps not as frequently as some might suggest but it can have a direct impact on a company.  There are other “fake” things that can fuel a real crisis, in more than one case in recent times, likes and shares from hacked or inactive accounts on FaceBook have made a video posting go viral.  Ironically the person who posted the video didn’t pay for it to go viral but it served a competitors best interest and they paid for it to be shared and liked to the tune of millions of views.

There are companies, in Malaysia and overseas that offer ‘social seeding’ to boost likes and shares, some have legitimate means others are not as above board.  Most of the time it’s not that important but imagine when you find yourself in a crisis and at the same time a competitive market place.

What can you do? What should you do in this type of crisis? 

Recent case studies have proven that there are effective strategies, technics and actions that will improve the way your brand, company and the key personnel will come out the other side of a crisis.  It is better to be prepared as not everyone in cyberspace is wishing you well.  In Malaysia there are options for companies if they can prove a competitor is fuelling a crisis through competitive social seeding but legal redress can come too late especially if too much damage has been done.  Most companies are not ready for what can literally happen when someone clicks a button and their friends and family start sharing it followed by those people’s friends and family and so forth.

Like insurance, don’t leave preparation till it’s too late.

Nordin Abdullah established the Crisis Management Centre to assist individuals, corporations and governments effectively deal with all aspects of a crisis. The key areas that the Crisis Management Centre can assist is; pre-crisis with risk assessment and key personnel training, mid-crisis response to limit the damage and post crisis turn around and recovery. For more information visit www.CrisisManagementCentre.com