Kade Dworkin, founder and Chief Crisis Officer of Red Alert Social Media, a company that focuses on helping corporations and individuals handle crises by leveraging social media, sent me the note below after reading my recent post on crisis management on iMediaConnection. I’m delighted to share Kade’s thoughts on that subject with you here.
After reading Drew Neisser’s “Crisis Management: No Time for Amateurs” I felt compelled to reach out to him. Over the course of the last five years I have not only moved into social media marketing but I have become a specialist in crisis prevention, management and communications using social media. My list of clients and employers includes nine different $100mm+ brands including several of which that are household names.
There were two points in Drew’s original interview with Doug Duvall, Vice-President, Corporate Communications at Sprint, that I think most people will actually miss. Not because he didn’t stress them enough but rather that Doug says them in such a matter-of-fact way.
The first is in regards to the event at Freddie Mac where the CFO committed suicide. Most corporate communications people may not have direct access to the CEO and access to an individual who can make statements on behalf of the company is absolutely crucial in a crisis event. It is a habit of mine for both my corporate and individual clients to make a list of several people who have the authority to make statements for the company as part of my crisis preparation.
The second point is that large companies need to have people trained in crisis management techniques in various departments in the company. These people are the early warning system and can activate additional resources such as corporate communications. Additionally, with this training they can actually contain minor crises before they become larger. If they can take action within the first 15 minutes, they can entirely eliminate the threat. A smart social media manager trained in this fashion can do this regularly for your company.
The one area that I think Doug misses in this interview is that in crisis events [having] a constant flow of information on a regular schedule can make a massive difference in how the public perceives the crisis. Breaking communications into three distinct types for the company story, the legal story and the personal story can help immensely. By releasing each type on a defined time schedule it can eliminate the public’s concerns that the company is hiding information or failing to address all the affected parties. Finally, these smaller content types can become the original pieces of content that your brand evangelists can use to spread your message to a much larger network of people.