Most FMCG companies understand the importance of engaging with consumers on social media for building loyalty and trust.
At the very time that consumers start to question that trust - in a fast escalating crisis, many companies still rely on outdated and ineffective approaches to crisis management.
It’s not their fault. PR companies continue to push the cold, carefully crafted media statement that tries to make a bad situation sound better as the primary means of communicating in a crisis.
It doesn’t work. In fact it can actually make things worse.
I’m Steve Hather from CrisisClarity. We help food and consumer goods companies prevent a social media crisis and keep more customers through training, coaching and real-time crisis simulations without the PR fluff.
For the video version of this post, check out my YouTube video below:
Ive been working in crisis management for over 30 years, working for some of the worlds best known brands like Coca-Cola through to small businesses. Ive seen some extraordinary changes in that time.
The most significant change has been the impact that social media has had on how companies manage, or should manage, potential reputation crises.
Social media means that news of problems spread faster and further than ever before.
Consumers are now more than ever before focussed on authenticity and transparency. 60% of consumers - a figure increasing daily, use social media as their primary source of information about companies and brands. They go to social media to engage with brands.
That builds loyalty and trust.
Consumer complaints, negative comments, allegations of wrongdoing or bad behaviour (regardless of whether they are true or not!) or being on the wrong side of an emerging social issue can happen to the best of companies. There is no such thing as perfect systems, processes or people. Bad things happen.
As they start to escalate, consumers will have questions and concerns. They will be coming to your social media sites looking for you to address those questions and concerns and it’s not just the few, the 4% complaining loudest. 96% of consumers that have a problem never tell you about it - they will simply be watching how you manage the incident and vote with their feet.
The more you engage, the better you engage and the earlier you engage, the less chance it will escalate and the more customers you retain.
There a number of ways we can help you better protect your business and brands.
Reviewing your plan is a good start. Most crisis management plans don't work. They're too long and don't include the right guidance. Often the focus is on coming up with a media statement. That’s one outcome of good crisis management but certainly not the only one. If it’s cold and defensive, it will probably make things worse. Good plans focus on asking the right questions, not trying to document every conceivable solution. I’ll show how to create a plan that works.
Training and coaching will get your people up to speed fast. We have online training courses that focus on protecting your brand and keeping more customers. Our small group coaching really builds those skills and confidence and gets the team on the same page fast. We unpack real incidents - yours and your competitors and learn from them. We also put the team through a real-time crisis simulation to really prepare your team.
For your senior executive team or crisis management team, a real-time crisis simulation is the best way to stress test your plan and your people and build the confidence that you can prevent a crisis. This as close as you can get to a real crisis but in the safe learning environment of our online simulator.
Don’t wait for a social media crisis to figure out that you are not as prepared as you thought you were. Our training coaching and real-time simulations are the best way to build your skills and confidence. You will protect your business and brands, prevent a social media crisis and keep more customers.
Look forward to talking with you soon.