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Blog post
June 24, 2019

Are you ready to deal with a crisis?

CRISIS
noun, plural cri·ses [krahy-seez] /ˈkraɪ siz/
a time when a difficult or important decision must be made.

It’s a topic hot on the lips of many, but if you’re a communications professional you know the power a crisis can hold to make or break a business, career or the 24-hour news cycle. Almost everyone has a story, and having been in the industry for over three decades we understand that communications professionals typically live at the centre of these experiences and can often influence or shape the outcome.

While Chatham House Rules applied, we recently held some exclusive crisis events in support of better crisis management and wanted to share some of the notes from our expert panel, for what can be the most defining moment as a professional.

  • Own it! Be authentic, honest and open with your stakeholders – both internally and externally.
  • If you’ve made a mistake, apologise – don’t make excuses. There’s nothing more damaging for your reputation than not acknowledging you’ve made a mistake. While it’s not great to fail, it’s even worse when you don’t fess up.
  • Know your organisation’s key risks and audit them regularly. It is impossible to ensure you’re prepared for a crisis if you aren’t aware and immersed in the finer details. Is your team ready to manage a serious consumer issue if it were to go viral on social?
  • Ensure you have operations and communications plans in place to deal with these risks – even better, have a dedicated crisis response team (and protocols in place) really to go when you need it most. There’s nothing worse than scrambling to contact people when the chaos has already begun.
  • Identify your key subject matter experts and spokespeople to represent your organisation and test and approve each of their potential key messages – why not consider running a simulation for your executive and communications teams to take it to the next level?
  • Have a plan in place to deal with (and respond to) national and international media interest, including 24-hour access to strategic communications counsel and traditional and social media monitoring. Set up a crisis plan with Isentia so you can urgently engage the team when you need us most.
  • Have a strategy or ‘reputation recovery program’ in place to restore and build on your organisation’s reputation after a crisis. Your business is going to need some quick wins, so make sure you’ve prepared some simple initiatives that can work to restore your stakeholder’s faith and sweeten the sour taste in people’s mouths.

Dealing with a crisis is stressful at the best of times, but when you need the support to know what is being covered and where, we’re here to support you! For more information on how your organisation can be better prepared for a crisis, contact us now, or reach out to your Account Management team.

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The effects of COVID-19 are being felt worldwide. During this time, choosing the right brand messaging and executing it at the right time can give greater resonance to your brand. It can also strengthen customer relationships.

As businesses are under increasing pressure and governments urge citizens to stay home, communicating the right message has never been so important. In the corporate world, it’s a balancing act that highlights the essential value of the PR, marketing and communications role for the ongoing operations of their brands.

What metrics can PR and comms professionals use?

Being proactive is key. 

We’ve spoken extensively about Reputation Analysis and how this proactive framework provides a benchmark metric brands can follow to understand their reputation. However, as a modern PR, marketing or comms professional, there are numerous measurement metrics that can give important insights about your brand’s reputation. 

Brand reputation often influences the actions or choices audiences and buyers make, impacting a brand financially and its ability to grow. It’s especially important throughout a crisis to determine whether your key messages are getting to the right audience at the right time. 

Share of Voice

Utilising Share of Voice as part of your PR, marketing and comms toolkit can help you contextualise your media coverage in relation to a particular message, topic, brand or industry. It can also help you understand how effectively your brand is participating in the conversation. Using COVID-19 as an example, Share of Voice can help you identify: 

Volume of mentions for COVID-19 over another (and over time) - measure your brand’s visibility in the conversation in your industry in relation to COVID-19.

Volume of mentions of COVID-19 over another as it relates to sentiment - measure your brand’s visibility and the sentiment about your brand in relation to COVID-19. 

Volume of mentions by media type/channel (example below)

Measure mentions by volume by media type/channel
Measure by volume of mentions by media type/channel

Mentions

Throughout a crisis, tracking media mentions can help you spotlight spikes in coverage due to expected or unexpected events. Here are some of the key metrics you can use to examine brand mentions:

Brand mentions by media type - track the volume of brand mentions by media type (social, broadcast, print or online)

Brand mentions over time - see spikes in mentions and can be particularly useful when comparing mentions pre-event, during and post-event.

Sentiment related to those brand mentions - understand how your brand is perceived by your audience (and wider audience)

Brand mentions by spokespeople - understand who is talking about your brand and how often

Day to day volume of mentions per entity (example below) - understand how prominent your brand is in various locations.

Brand reputation can be measured mentions by volume of particular entities
Entities over time helps you measure mentions by volume of particular entities

Sentiment Analysis

Sentiment analysis is one of the key metrics that a PR, marketing and communications professional can use to understand their brand’s reputation. It also enables you to analyse negative sentiment to uncover new ways to improve brand reputation, PR and marketing campaigns.

Key Outlets

Monitoring your target outlets can be a great way to understand whether your message is landing in the right hands and how it is likely to resonate with your audience. Not surprisingly, most campaigns rely heavily on the successful execution of two key elements:

Consistency of the message

Share of Voice across target channels

The below outlet chart provides a visual representation of coverage published by volume. This helps you understand which outlets are amplifying your messages and provides you with more context into how your content or message are being received.

Measure brand reputation by coverage published by volume
Media outlet analysis can give you an important measure of coverage published by volume

Media intelligence is key

Media intelligence allows you to be proactive. In a rapidly changing environment, it’s crucial to stay across the latest, most relevant news and information. With COVID-19, we are seeing record levels of content across a single issue and a constantly evolving traditional and social media landscape.

Your brand’s reputation is one of its most valuable resources. Using these metrics can provide valuable insights about your brand and help you achieve the best possible outcome for your brand reputation.

If you would like more information on how we can help your brand monitor the media during the COVID-19 crisis, get in touch with us today.

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Blog
The key metrics for brand reputation during the COVID-19 crisis

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are being felt far and wide. During these times of crises, choosing the right brand messaging and behaviour plus executing it at the right time can instil greater meaning to your brand and strengthen customer relationships.

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[updated] In this crisis management blog series we have looked at different leadership profiles based on their media coverage. From disruptive leaders that charge ahead and promote themselves along with their brand, to corporate leaders who are hesitant to build this kind of profile and instead promote a company wide view. The leadership, crisis management landscape has changed a lot over the past 2-3 years. As the world comes to terms with a post-Covid world, the business sector is feeling the repercussions of those terms. Employees are choosing whether they want to work from home, work in the office or navigate a hybrid model. This changes how leaders communicate with and essentially lead their teams.

Work culture has evolved but have crisis management processes? Audiences hold your brand's story and purpose in their hands or rather their smart phones. How does crisis management operate amidst an open, ever-changing, always on environment? Authentic leadership in crisis management is key to ensuring the message is sincere and is aligned with company objectives.

How to understand your audience during a crisis

Isentia assembled a panel of communications experts and leaders to break-down how comms processes have changed during a crisis along with the implications of volatile social media platforms.

If a crisis happened today, are you comfortable your organisation has the right plan and the right people in place to respond swiftly and effectively to show authentic leadership?  Listen to our panelists!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoP1Nk45l4E

In our last blog we spoke about the importance of response time during a crisis, with a fast response time being favourable. The next part of our leadership blog series we delve into authenticity and how to leverage it during a crisis. We also further explore high profile leaders, as they carry out their leadership throughout a crisis.

High profile leaders have shown us how crucial presence and authenticity are to ensure actions and motivations are believed, and how these traits need to be nurtured outside of a crisis.

The authenticity of a leader

We know that responding quickly during a crisis is crucial, yet coming across as genuine in response to crisis is just as important. Communicating with authentic language shows a genuine kind of compassion that marks a true leader. In our latest Leadership Index: Leading through Crisis, we explore the authenticity of four high profile leaders and how the authenticity of their actions affect the outcomes of their crises.

There are three components an authentic leader should possess:  

Emotional authenticity

This includes ways to increase self-awareness as a leader through unbiased processing of strengths and weaknesses, cultivating compassion and transmitting it to others with humility.

Behavioural authenticity

This includes acting in accordance with personal principles while setting the tone of change whilst also staying in control. It’s important to thoughtfully choose words and behaviours to resonate with the affected audience.

Social authenticity

This includes building an organisation to be authentic with a kind and caring mentality as well as promoting an inclusive identity. A social community should change with the current landscape and achieve a uniform balance.

Leaders in crisis management today

Leaders are facing an enormous test of character. Understanding the risks from crises and subsequent actions can be the difference between surviving and succumbing to them. Authenticity is a quality that could differentiate a poor leader from a great one and provides the ability to turn around a crisis. 

Authentic leaders are self actualised individuals who are aware of their strengths, limitations, emotions and genuinely lead with their heart, not just their minds. Communicating in a direct manner is critical to successful outcomes, but it’s done with empathy plus directness without empathy is cruel - especially in crises where lives are lost. 

Providing a calm, compassionate and strategic response to a crisis, portrays a genuine message and enables cohesiveness between those affected. A defensive and a disconnected message can lead to a narrative of evasiveness and create a struggle to gain trust and believability.

If you would like to learn more about these case studies or how we can assist with crisis management download a copy of our 3rd edition Leadership Index: Leading through Crisis.

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Blog
Authentic leadership in crisis management

In this crisis management blog series we have looked at different leadership profiles based on their media coverage. From disruptive leaders that charge ahead and promote themselves along with their brand, to corporate leaders who are hesitant to build this kind of profile and instead promote a company wide view.

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Measles cases are rapidly increasing in Hong Kong recently which arousing public concerns about measles infections.  More cases are expected to surface in Hong Kong, people are scrambling vaccines and fearing the outbreak of measles around the city. In this whitepaper, we will cover how measles outbreak would become a potential crisis in Hong Kong and how can crisis be predicted.

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Whitepaper
Measles cases to hit Hong Kong, can crisis be predicted?

Measles cases are rapidly increasing in Hong Kong recently which arousing public concerns about measles infections. More cases are expected to surface in Hong Kong, people are scrambling vaccines and fearing the outbreak of measles around the city. In this whitepaper, we will cover how measles outbreak would become a potential crisis in Hong Kong and how can crisis be predicted.

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Scoot, a low-cost carrier

Scoot, a low-cost carrier that provides flights predominantly within Asia, faced seven major flight delays in the last few months of 2018

Technical issues caused 356 passengers on the affected flight to be stranded in Taipei for almost two days. Replacement parts had to be flown in from overseas, causing serious delays.

This whitepaper uses Scoot’s TR899 flight delay as a case study to explore media conversations surrounding the incident.

We discuss service recovery, crisis management, PR approaches, and how the lack of communication leads to potential consequences.

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Whitepaper
How media comes into play in times of crisis

Scoot, a low-cost carrier that provides flights predominantly within Asia, faced seven major flight delays in the last few months of 2018. Find out media conversations surrounding the incident, Scoot’s approach to service recovery, and sentiments towards their approach.

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