Crisis Communication is a facet of business that I had never previously considered to be a core component of a basic business strategy. I erroneously thought that when problems large enough to be labeled as crises occurred, the solution was then for the company leaders to have meetings with the appropriate department heads to discuss how best to address the issues both internally and publicly.
Such meetings do indeed, take place, but they are a final line of defense in order to address what has already happened. Initially, before anything negative takes place, a plan for how to combat crises of many different types has already been formulated. One of the many things that this crisis communication plan did ahead of time was allocate team members to key roles — i.e. who will present information at press conferences or who will be in charge of social media updates. However, it also pre-created responses and solutions for a variety of incidents that could be planned for in advance.
When it comes to crisis communication the use of a dark website can also be very useful. Authors Tim Lloyd points out that having “a website you prepare (but don’t promote) in advance of a crisis as an alternative or fallback to your corporate website” just makes sense in a variety of different situations (Lloyd, 2015). Seeing how Apple used a dark website after the death of Steve Jobs and the way in which Tesco used one during the horsemeat scandal to great effect, gave me a new perspective on the benefits of this premeditated dark website usage as a way to assuage consumer fears and to help maintain stockholder confidence.
Overall, learning about online reputation management (ORM) was fascinating, although it is a broad topic. Better understanding how to optimize search engine content and how to create a strategy around the content being introduced into the ORM plan (or that is produced as a result of it) will be useful to both my future clients and for my own business. It’s easy to overlook the importance of planning and to just react to situations as they arise, but having a thorough and well thought through plan prior to any crisis occurring will set my business and my clients’ businesses up for success moving forward!
Lloyd, T. (2015). Dark sites in crisis communication: six reasons to consider. Retrieved from https://socialsimulator.com/dark-sites-fad-fundamental/