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A Scandalous Keynote Takes the Demand Success Stage

Judy Smith - Demand Success KeynoteJudy Smith honed her skills through her experiences with some of the most historic and sensational events of our time, including the LA riots, the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Enron and the General Petraeus CIA scandal.

Now Ms. Smith, “the fixer,” will deliver the closing keynote at Demand Success 2014.

Perhaps best known for her expertise as a crisis management advisor, Ms. Smith has served as a consultant for a host of profile, celebrity and entertainment clients over the course of her career, including Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., NFL quarterback Michael Vick, and the family of Chandra Levy.

She became the inspiration for the character Olivia Pope in the hit TV series Scandal.

At Demand Success, Ms. Smith will share insights on crisis communications based on these experiences, and offer a unique perspective and expert advice for less scandalous communications as well.  Learn how to handle tough situations from the best in business!

To celebrate Ms. Smith joining Demand Success, let’s take a look at a few basics of crisis communications from the Vocus Blog:

Want to see Judy in person? Register for Demand Success 2014 now!

1. Prepare for the present and future

Believe it or not, you can and should be prepared for any crisis.

Sit down with representatives from across your organization to list every possible crisis your organization could face. Then determine the likelihood of each crisis happening.

Don’t forget to factor in emerging threats.

“You forecast what would be the damage of ‘X’ happening today and what is the likelihood of ‘X’ happening today,” says Ike Pigott, spokesman for Alabama Power. “Then you ask what would be the damage five years from now of ‘X’ and what is the likelihood five years from now for ‘X.’”

Ike used an incident from September where a man bought Promoted Tweets to bash British Airways as an example. Of course, Promoted Tweets didn’t exist five years ago, but Google Ads did and a disgruntled customer could have done something similar.

PR Crisis Plan - British Airways

2. Listen

Most often a customer goes from irritated to irate not because of a mistake, but because the company refuses to fix the mistake.

Monitor social media for mentions of your brand and specific keywords to extinguish fires before they start.

3. Embrace social

Yes, it’s unpredictable and explosive, but it’s also a way to engage with and understand what the naysayers want.

Be sure you identify the team who will respond and have created a list of stakeholders to communicate with people directly before a problem emerges.

Avoid deleting social media criticism, it can lead to even more problems. Use the comments to understand the major issues or complaints. This will help you resolve the problem quicker.

When you do respond, always remain factual. Never promise results you cannot be 100% certain of delivering.  You need to repair and maintain trust.

4. Take a breath

You work hard to build your brand and when faced with criticism, will want to defend it immediately. Before you do, pause to ensure that your response is rational, not emotional.

Besides, if you respond as the crisis gains momentum, your response could become lost in criticism, trolling and in-fighting. It’s not personal no matter how bizarre and off-putting remarks may seem.

5. Maintain civility

Avoid arguing with people, especially on social media. That strategy backfired for a bakery in Arizona last May, and the story went viral.

Instead, show that you care about the problem that your clients have. This shows that your priority is their happiness. If done well, you can turn a frustrated customer into a loyal one.

6. Remember the silent audience

As crises occur, not everyone has formed an opinion. Consider the people who are waiting to gather facts before making a decision.

The best way to appeal to them is to show how you plan to alleviate or have alleviated the problem, even if it’s just an apology.

Want to have a Scandalous Demand Success? Register today!

Plus the first 700 registrants will receive a copy of Judy Smith’s Good Self, Bad Self: How to Bounce Back from a Personal Crisis!

About Brian Conlin

Brian Conlin is a content marketing manager for Cision. A former journalist, he enjoys researching and developing accessible content. When not writing, you will find him watching baseball and college basketball, sampling craft beer and enjoying Baltimore. Find him on Twitter @BrianConlin13.

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