Aug 07, 2018 / in Comms Best Practices / by Cision Contributor

Almost every brand goes through a phase when its reputation is at stake. While it takes years to garner goodwill and create a strong reputation, a single negative comment/review gone viral can destroy any brand’s image.

Fortunately, we live in times when brands prefer to be prepared to handle a crisis in advance than deal with a difficult aftermath. However, they cannot be prepared for everything, as some matters remain unforeseen.

Media monitoring can help by making a crisis more manageable and it can offer valuable insight, which can be used to prepare better for the next time.

Prepare to Navigate a Crisis

When a crisis strikes, it is crucial to respond to it as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your brand’s reputation. This has become extremely tricky, though, as millions of internet users can make a matter viral in minutes.

An example of this is the United Airlines’ incident where a staffer was filmed dragging a passenger off the plane. Needless to say, the airlines received tremendous backlash from all over the internet with consumers threatening to boycott it and lawmakers demanding legal action.  

It is, therefore, important to stay one step ahead from the start. Monitoring social and traditional media constantly even before a crisis arises can help. Additionally, keeping tabs on media during and after a crisis is also recommended.

Your brand can use media monitoring to prepare to navigate a crisis with the following strategy:

1. Analyze Past Crises

With the help of media monitoring, you can evaluate all past crises which you, your competitor, or other organizations may have endured. The insights gathered can furnish you with some tried-and-tested tactics that worked in curtailing the damage and can be repeated in similar situations.

One may argue that every crisis is different and the solution cannot be preplanned entirely. However, thanks to media monitoring, calmness can be maintained, patterns can be predicted, crisis management plans can be developed and responses can be given out before the crisis receives much attention and spirals out of control.

2. Early Detection

The early discovery of a budding crisis can be of immense help to PR practitioners as it can go a long way in containing the problem. You can take the proverbial bull by its horns before the issue gets out of hand and lessen its impact.

Setting up simple media monitoring alerts can enable brands to stay on top of the news or posts coming out about them. 

This way brands can know exactly where they are mentioned and can collect the necessary information to come up with a suitable reply.

3. Keep an Eye on News Post Crisis

Even after the crisis has been mitigated, brands will do well to continue their media monitoring initiatives to figure out if the controversy has ended and if audiences are looking at their brand positively after all their effort.

Media monitoring is great if brands want information about the aftermath of the crisis. It gives them an idea of the general consensus on the brand’s image and also helps them decipher if they can handle the situation differently the next time.

Why Set Alerts For Media Monitoring

Every crisis management plan should include media monitoring alerts to watch for negative stories. When you set alerts specifically for intercepting controversies in the making, you can start responding to criticism and negative comments/news before they spread like wildfire.

1. Catch Brand Mentions

You can bring specificity to your alerts by adding names, phrases, and the required, optional and negative keywords to them. Doing so will make it easy for you to filter out unnecessary brand mentions that have nothing to do with your crisis management initiatives.

With the help of a tool like Cision, you can also employ automated sentiment analysis to capture negative mentions across media platforms.

2. Craft Replies

Social media is a commonly used platform by disgruntled customers to vent against brands that have disappointed them. This is why you need to track your mentions on social media all the time.

Employing social media listening tools makes perfect sense because they make complainers easy to track and respond to from a single point of contact. Hence, they enable quick crisis communication, which is the entire point of it all.

3. Learn and Move On

Once you’ve doused the flames and sailed through the crisis with things seemingly going back to normal, take stock of everything that affected your brand’s reputation. Get reports regarding the impact of the crisis ready so you can take a look at the hard numbers.  

You may realize that the damage to your brand is far greater than you thought and that you’ll need time to get things in good shape. You may also feel the need to measure the impact of the crisis and record how you dealt with it in order to improve processes for the future.

Thanks to your media monitoring efforts, you can store all the data you gather and go back to it any time you want to.     


Whether the crisis is big or small, businesses and PR practitioners know that any brand’s image matters to customers. News is created and can spread faster than ever now, and has taken on a more conversational style. It is crucial to track and manage these conversations to keep them favorable. Media monitoring is the best means for brands and PR professionals to stay on top of everything that matters in the business world.

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About Vivek Patel

Vivek Patel is a Local Search Specialist at E2M, a content marketing agency based in San Diego specializing in content strategy, creation, promotion, and SEO, for domestic and overseas clients. His expertise includes local search optimization, strategic planning for multi-location and link-building tactics. You can find him on Twitter: @vivekrpatel

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This post was written by a guest Cision contributor.