Why The 9-to-5 Communication is Dead

It’s no longer optional. You need to be accessible whenever your consumer is online and demanding attention, whether positive or negative.

 

Here’s a quick fact to prove the point:

 

Twitter has become the go-to platform for reaching out to brands with an endorsement, question or an urgent complaint. The platform's users are an impatient crowd though.  Over 72% of complainers expect to get a response from a brand within an hour. What’s more – 53% will agree to refresh their feed patiently for less than an hour before escalating the matter further. And things will go even further awry if no one is available to attend to those complaints.

 

Allow us to illustrate this with one recent, highly relevant example:

 

The British Airways PR Crisis

 

The timing for BA’s IT meltdown, depending on how you look at it, couldn’t have been better – the Saturday of the bank holiday weekend at the start of the May half-term holidays.

 

The rants and complaints of customers spread like wildfire across social media and news publishers, and with zero response from the company, the fury grew.

No wonder – there was little to no leadership on the ground to extinguish or at least control the situation and more importantly to communicate with affected passengers.

Already dubbed as one of the largest PR crises, British Airways have taken a serious hit to their reputation.

What Start-Ups can learn from the BA PR crisis management gone wrong is this:

Communication is absolutely paramount. Throw in all the manpower you have towards delivering accurate information to the customers. British Airways would have controlled the situation infinitely more successfully if far more of the company’s personnel had been on the ground or even were simply accessible via social media to address the passengers’ queries. Ignoring people simply fuels their anger.

 

Staying in control is everything. When you are hit by a PR crisis, you should face it - you should NOT hide behind your “official operating hours” or make any excuses, for example, that your key spokespeople were on annual leave.

Mobilise additional forces, establish leadership on the ground and don’t allow the mainstream media and social media users to tell your story for you.

Don’t forget about customer loyalty. “Oh, they’ll get over it soon” is not the position your brand should be taking. For a business, it costs 5 to 8 times more to obtain a new customer, than retain an existing one. Failing to cater to your customers’ needs in the time of a crisis could lead to serious financial consequences for your brand, not to mention the effect it will have on your reputation.

Think about Uber. The company lost over $2.8 (£2.2) billion last year and rolled into 2017 with a series of PR disasters including allegations of sexual harassment, use of "Greyball" software to deceive legislative regulators and the company's CEO acting aggressively towards a driver.  Unfortunately, in most cases, the company's PR team failed to respond to the issues in a timely manner.

 

How To Navigate Graciously Out Of A PR Crisis

 

When your reputation is at stake, you should react at the pace that will not allow the crisis to spin out of control i.e. quickly. That’s the first rule of DisPRuptive startup communication strategy. Unlike many PR agencies in the UK, we offer 24/7 support for our clients and act immediately when a public issue occurs. After all, failing to attend to one negative review or a comment posted online by an employee can result in massive damage to your brand.

 

Here are some quick tips on how you should act when a PR crisis hits your company:

- Appoint a PR Crisis Response Team immediately -

The people whose responsibility it is to respond to the public on behalf of your company can make or break the PR crisis resolution.

 

Your first step is to decide who will be on your team. Ideally, that should be at least one of the senior executives, including the CEO, as well as additional well-informed employees to attend to social media queries.

 

- Some Key ‘Don’ts’ -

 

Do not publicly lash out or show strong negative emotions. The people you chose for the team should be able to act cooly, confidently and calmly, especially when giving comments to the press.

 

“No Comment” is a never an advisable strategy. You need to stay firmly in control of your communication in crisis management and don’t let the media second-guess what’s going on. If you do you will not like the assumptions they make and the public will think that you are trying to avoid addressing the issue in the first place.

 

- Devise Your PR Crisis Management Plan -

 

Everyone on the team should understand their particular responsibilities and which approach they, as a team, are taking. Establish a protocol of how each person should act when approached by the media. This saves you from having to explain comments obtained by “unofficial inside sources” later on.

 

A wise move is to also appoint an expert to review and approve each crisis management statement before it is made.

 

- Stay Honest and Transparent -

 

Trying to play innocent or, even worse denying the situation, will only escalate the conflict further.  If your brand made a mistake, own up to it. Then communicate what your next steps will be and how you plan to make amends.

 

You should clearly acknowledge the issue, explain what was done to prevent/resolve it and what will be done next to make sure it will never happen again.

 

In today’s high-paced world, you cannot afford to wait too long with your response. Being consistently available is the new norm, especially for truly disruptive brands - and our agency is ready to help with that!

How To Navigate Graciously Out Of A PR Crisis

 
When your reputation is at stake, you should react at the pace that will not allow the crisis to spin out of control i.e. quickly. That’s the first rule of DisPRuptive startup communication strategy. Unlike many PR agencies in the UK, we offer 24/7 support for our clients and act immediately when a public issue occurs. After all, failing to attend to one negative review or a comment posted online by an employee can result in massive damage to your brand.
 
Here are some quick tips on how you should act when a PR crisis hits your company:
 
- Appoint a PR Crisis Response Team immediately
 
-The people whose responsibility it is to respond to the public on behalf of your company can make or break the PR crisis resolution.
 
Your first step is to decide who will be on your team. Ideally, that should be at least one of the senior executives, including the CEO, as well as additional well-informed employees to attend to social media queries.
 
- Some Key ‘Don’ts’
 
-Do not publicly lash out or show strong negative emotions. The people you chose for the team should be able to act cooly, confidently and calmly, especially when giving comments to the press.
 
“No Comment” is a never an advisable strategy. You need to stay firmly in control of your communication in crisis management and don’t let the media second-guess what’s going on. If you do you will not like the assumptions they make and the public will think that you are trying to avoid addressing the issue in the first place.
 
- Devise Your PR Crisis Management Plan
 
- Everyone on the team should understand their particular responsibilities and which approach they, as a team, are taking. Establish a protocol of how each person should act when approached by themedia. This saves you from having to explain comments obtained by “unofficial inside sources” later on.
 
A wise move is to also appoint an expert to review and approve each crisis management statementbefore it is made.
 
- Stay Honest and Transparent
 
-Trying to play innocent or, even worse denying the situation, will only escalate the conflict further. If your brand made a mistake, own up to it. Then communicate what your next steps will be and how you plan to make amends.
 
You should clearly acknowledge the issue, explain what was done to prevent/resolve it and what will be done next to make sure it will never happen again.
 

In today’s high-paced world, you cannot afford to wait too long with your response.
 
Being consistently available is the new norm, especially for truly disruptive brands - and our agency is ready to help with that!

9 thoughts on “Why The 9-to-5 Communication is Dead

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