|September 17, 2008|
|Crisis Pointers from the PR Blogosphere|
|By Greg Hazley|
|The tales of brands taking beatings in the early years of the blogosphere have been well-documented, perhaps never more famously than with the Forbes “Attack of the Blogs” cover story a few years back. But PR pros are getting to the point where a coherent strategy for blog crises should be coagulating. |
So who will write the definitive rulebook on tackling a blog crisis? Well, if it’s anything like traditional crisis management, PR professionals will break into two basic camps – fight the media or work with it – and write hundreds of books extolling similar philosophies for what to do.
But until we get to that point with online crises, I’ll settle for solid posts like Rohit Bhargava’s recent dispatch on managing a blog crisis.
Bhargava is the former Leo Burnett interactive guru who is a founder of Ogilvy’s digital unit. Among his observations are that every blog crisis has three categories of participants – the source, commenters and promoters – all of which can be traced back to an origin to build a picture of who they are and where a negative meme started.
Bhargava also notes there are times to respond and times not to say a thing, even if something negative has been posted. He writes: “.There are some very real situations where we have counseled clients NOT to respond to particular blog attacks and where I personally have chosen not to respond to bloggers who may have posted negatively about me.”
His five steps for diffusing a blog crisis are:
1. Identify the participants
2. Evaluate the conversation
3. Respond authentically
4. Publish your point of view
5. Monitor and respond to conversation
It’s surprised me how little material is being blogged about what to do in a blog-fueled or other online crisis. Bhargava’s post is a good starting point.
Earlier this year, Andy Beal at Marketing Pilgrim tackled online crisis management with an excellent post noting no one is safe: “…despite your best efforts to protect your online reputation from harm, at some point your good name will come under fire.”
To contrast with Bhargava, Beal's five-step guide for an online crisis:
1. A response from the top
2. Admit your mistakes and apologize
3. Host the conversation
4. Seek resolution
5. Turn detractors into evangelists
Incidentally, when the smoke clears, here’s a list of how some tech titans apologized online for various consumer infractions.
(Image: smarts england)
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