Crush Crises: Engage With Influencers Before Threats Hit
With the ever-increasing use of social media, brands have to accept that they’re no longer in complete control of their image.
To put it simply, the luxury of time no longer exists. In the blink of an eye, a single negative tweet can overwhelm an entire organization. So who can PR professionals rely on when a threat looms above their brand?
At his recent “Crush Crises Before They Spread” webinar, Peter LaMotte emphasized that in addition to setting up an internal crisis communication team, brands should turn to influencers to help contain and resolve a crisis when it strikes.
Here are Peter’s top tips for incorporating influencers into your crisis communication strategy:
1. Identify Influencers to Be Brand Ambassadors
When the going gets tough, most flee the situation. But what if you had people already by your side? Would that give you the strength to fight the online Negative Nancy attacking your brand?
Peter explains that diluted or prevented crises are a result of having tremendous customer loyalty. Target key influencers to build a brand ambassador barrier.
“They could be anyone. They most likely have been reaching out to you already,” Peter says. “The information is there in your organization to realize who they are.”
Peter emphasizes the necessity of true and authentic relationships. If you can get them to support the same effort, they’ll carry the flag during peacetime as well as in an online battle.
2. Think Like a Marketer
“Communication is now marketing. Branding is now communication. They’re all blending together.” — Peter LaMotte
To be successful in your crisis communication plan, think from a marketing perspective to attract influencers as key brand ambassadors.
“Maybe you don’t need to appeal to 5 million people. Maybe you only want to target 5,000, but it will come down to the five people who are there defending your brand online and in person in every means necessary,” he continues.
Whether you get people involved through a questionnaire or an in-person event, influencers will self-select to become your brand ambassadors. Keep it simple and start small. And remember, keep the conversation going even after they’ve purchased your product or service.
3. Provide a Message to Spread
Once you’ve given the incentive for an influencer to jump on board as a brand ambassador, provide them with the tools to spread the word and a channel to use. To do this, first think about the impact they can have on the overall conversation.
Peter highlights the fact that your efforts don’t always have to be digital t0 make an impact. He explores how Quicken Software sends influencers boxes of free t-shirts, mugs and a note with messaging to use.
What’s so exciting about a free mug? At some point, Peter says, someone is going to stop by your desk and ask, “What is up with that mug?” Then, soon enough you’ll find yourself talking about your personal finance software.
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