Pre-crisis Analytics to Help a Brand Respond Effectively When the S*** Hits the Fan

No executive wants to be awakened at 3 a.m. with bad news and told that the company has gone to hell in a handbasket. No company or brand is immune from a crisis. Even the most experienced executives can’t help but ask themselves, “Can we recover from this?” “How long will negative coverage last?” A good crisis plan would be reassuring, but don’t minimize the value of analytics.

One important thing I have learned at Fineman PR is to put situations into perspective for worried clients in times of crisis. A PR agency can do this in various ways. It can be done by comparing your organization’s crisis to past crises in terms of duration, volume of coverage, reach and momentum over time. For example, a New York Times article that reflects negatively on your brand may seem catastrophic, but when compared to past crises, whether one of your own or those of other organizations, the New York Times article may not be as big as you originally thought. Not to say that a proper response isn’t necessary, but it will help your client and other company execs sleep easier at night knowing their company isn’t going down the drain.

With this bit of information in mind, Fineman PR researched all major product recalls in a client category over the past two years. We used the research to develop a “crisis predictive tool” that would provide our client with better perspective and comparison data should any similar crises arise in the near future. The tool gauged the size and scope of the crisis scenario we were planning compared to similar situations we researched. We were also able to assess how brands normally respond in each case and determined what worked and what didn’t.

After some blood, sweat and tears, we ended up with an impressive tool that carefully plotted and dissected media coverage of all the various recalls into a concise, easy-to-read format. We developed detailed graphs outlining trends in coverage, outlets that drove ongoing media coverage, influential journalists in the industry that helped direct the conversation as well as coverage trends related to various response tactics from each company.

Not only were the media impressions plotted out on a graph throughout the duration of the crisis, but we were also able to provide a brief summary on the cause of each peak in media coverage. In addition, we researched the company’s response, or lack thereof, and how it helped stop or fuel ongoing media coverage. This data allowed us to develop a ranking scale from 0-11 with 11 being the worst (considerable brand damage) and zero signifying minimal or no brand damage.  Our methodology behind the ranking scale was simple: we developed a point system based on media impressions, media outlet types and the duration of media coverage.

When a brand is facing a crisis, the duration and reach of media coverage is often, directly correlated to the damage inflicted on a company’s overall reputation and business. If our clients find themselves in a crisis, they can rest assured that we are well prepared to assist with this predictive analysis tool.  Of course, their hope is that they don’t need to use our crisis predictive tool, but its value is indisputable. 

Is crisis management your kryptonite? I recommend you call us.

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