Crisis management in a digital world


Surviving a crisis in the digital world

In the new world of social media and mobile technology, communication is instantaneous, incessant and capable of reaching an international audience within seconds. News travels fast and every individual with a mobile device and access to social networks can broadcast their version of the news – we have seen the advent of “citizen journalism”.

Our latest White Paper provides advice tailored for the digital world, to help you prepare for and respond to a crisis using social media. You can download it here.

Social media has created new channels of communication that allow the public and key influencers to vent their feelings or fury at an organisation or brand. This means that an issue can very quickly escalate to become a crisis. Even if a crisis does not begin in the social media space, it is likely that people will talk about it here. Rumours about a crisis can circulate quickly via social networks and these can increase the damage caused by the original crisis.
On the flip side, businesses can use social media proactively. It provides them with a fast and effective means of communication, which can be utilised in a crisis situation.
If you have not yet embraced social media you are not alone – many businesses are not using it to its greatest effect. However many pressure groups, unions and other special interest groups are well ahead in the social media race with Facebook, YouTube and Twitter being the key platforms. Be aware that your potential adversaries are embracing the real time speed, global reach and level of true engagement these platforms provide.

A crisis can cause immense disruption, cost a lot of money to rectify and damage your company’s image if you end up trending on Twitter or on the front page of the newspapers. In a world where social media makes it easier than ever before for people to publicly have their say, brands are more exposed than ever to public scrutiny and vulnerable to reputational damage in the event of a crisis.
If crisis management is handled badly, long-term damage can be done to an organisation’s reputation. This will affect relationships with stakeholders and in turn may affect a business’s bottom line. If handled well, a crisis can actually be an opportunity to improve an organisation’s reputation – in the real as well as the “virtual” online world.

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