When asked, most companies who do not have a complete and vetted crisis management communications plan reply they will be able to handle or respond to a crisis when it occurs.
Unfortunately, when an event does occur in a company without a set plan and educated key internal groups, it may result in a negative experience. Adverse results may include:
- diluted or unfocused messaging
- inability to respond/react in a timely manner
- lack of shared and relevant information and inability to deliver materials to internal and external audiences
- negative media coverage
- confusion by internal and external audiences and
- other crisis pressures triggered by consumer concerns, activist groups, and discussion in social media.
Develop your Crisis Communications Plan
The first step to a solid crisis communications plan is to assemble a crisis response and communications team. The team should conduct an audit to assess the company’s or association’s situations, including:
- documenting procedures and policies
- collecting information on the perception of the company (which may help identify resources for information)
- identifying locations and resources and
- identifying crisis scenario modules.
The crisis scenario module should include a myriad of potential situations that ultimately compose the bulk of your plan. Crisis scenarios may include a natural disaster event, a product safety issue, or even an activist protest. Each module is structured to define key messages, statements, resource materials, an information chain, and a spokesperson, but the specific situation will determine which and how each of those elements are used and when.
Going through a crisis is never a pleasant experience, but planning and developing a solid communications plan may produce beneficial results and potentially lessen an impact by mitigating on-going risk. Developing an effective crisis communication response plan is an important first step.
It’s All About The Brand
During a branding exercise, we asked the top 25 executives of a Fortune 400 company, “If this company were an animal, which animal would it be?” From the 25 responses, they named 24 different animals.
Elephant… Alligator… Lion… Bear… Gorilla…Horse…Water buffalo…
You see where this is going, right? As each executive offered cited characteristics of the animal chosen, it was obvious no one thought of the company in the same way, or as the same animal. (Except for the two who chose gorilla.)
So what does it mean when 25 top executives give 24 different responses on the personality animal of their company? The disparity illustrated (quite literally when we showed a graphic of the animals) that if the top leaders in the company were not in accord with the company’s brand personality, then customers’ perceptions would be just as varied.
If You Don’t Stand For Something, You’ll Fall For Everything
The company needed to identify and define its brand image because it didn’t have one. A good branding strategy lists the one or two most important elements of your company’s product or service, describes your company’s ultimate purpose in the world and defines your target customer. Within that is the development of your company’s personality. The result is a blueprint for what’s most important to your company and to your customers.
Several of the executives had a hard time accepting a corporate branding strategy. In this multi-billion dollar corporation there was disparity among the ranks; several business units operated rogue. They didn’t want to be part of the larger corporate image – they thought they were doing just fine on their own, thank you very much, so please leave them alone.
Unfortunately, this maverick attitude wasn’t working for a North American company attempting to establish roots and a foothold in the global marketplace. They had four major brands running independently from the corporate brand, competing in overlapping markets for products and services. Ultimately, there were missed opportunities and duplicitous business development activities. A unified brand strategy would have helped remedy this, not to mention a firm global business strategy.
How do you define your brand, whether it’s for your company, your product/service or for you? Which animal are you? And do your customers see you the same way?
For more information on what you should not miss in your branding strategy, check out this article in Forbes http://www.forbes.com/sites/glennllopis/2014/03/10/6-brand-strategies-that-most-cmos-fail-to-execute/
2015, buying process, C-Suite executives, change, conversions, customers, digital age, growth, internet, Internet marketing, marketing, marketing mix, Marketing Sherpa, online content, research, results, sales, strategy, website
It’s January – time for the New Year’s resolutions and change.
Change affects everything in a business, from improving product offerings to streamlining operations. Just like other departments—from operations to finance to quality assurance—marketing also continues to evolve. In our digital age, marketing products and service is more complicated than ever before.
If you’re still marketing the old-fashioned way and waiting to send information to your customers, your marketing programs may prove less than effective.
Customers no longer wait for you. Engagement starts on the Internet when customers begin their research on your company, your competitors and your products.
Nearly 70% of the sales process is complete before a new customer ever contacts a company. This means by the time a customer comes to you, s/he already has hardened expectations. Customers have more control than ever before, and only want to hear from you when they have a need. They can avoid you by hiding behind technology. They can delete your information instantly.
If you wait until you have personal contact with a new customer to begin your marketing process, you may be too late. So how do you get in front and stay there when your customers have the control?
To ensure customers are reading the right content information, your website is ground zero. Consumers read and research, they ask around, and they analyze their needs against key stats and facts. Your marketing has to be focused and your technology flawless, and it must be available when your customer is ready to engage.
Customers look for three things in your marketing content:
1. Does your company have a product or service that meets their need?
2. Can you demonstrate what you do in a way that proves you are worth consideration?
3. Is your company easy to engage?
Customers will continue to drive their buying process deeper into the sales process. As a result, changing and improving your relevant on-line content marketing is more important than ever. How are you changing your marketing mix?