Crisis management has been essential in PR since the dawn of time. A good old cock-up is not a new thing in business and you have more than likely seen a company executive grovelling in a televised interview in order to recoup the reputation of their brand.
But ever since the inception of social media and its omnipresence in our everyday lives, crisis management has now become a PR assault course.
Pickets and protest have now turned into a barrage of frenzied tweets for the whole world to see. If anything, when criticism is dished out to your brand on social, it’s even MORE necessary now to address the furore promptly and in the correct manner so as to avoid tarnishing the image of your brand.
Crisis Management Kings; KFC
As recently as a week ago, KFC showed why they are kings in managing in a crisis. Their chicken shortage has been well documented on television and in newspapers, and the usual response would have been a dull dud of a press release which would make the brand seem apathetic.
There's gossip in the hen house, here's the facts…
*UPDATE: Now none of our team members will lose out financially this week. pic.twitter.com/8F6ipUvIuc
— KFC UK & Ireland (@KFC_UKI) February 21, 2018
However, they’ve been HOT on social media with their crisis management, posting out quippy graphics as their press releases with colloquial, relatable and self-depreciating language.
Whilst there is an element of genuine disappointment behind some of their words, they’ve answered any questions regarding the situation whilst also making themselves seem human! In conjunction with their hilarious “FCK” ad in newspapers, the bullish, humorous and frivolous nature of their crisis management has made the crisis… seem not so much of a crisis at all!
Don’t Be Cross… I Was Slizzard!
A similarly hilarious approach was adopted by Red Cross when a crisis landed on their social feeds. One of their social media executives accidentally tweeted on the Red Cross account rather than their own about #gettingslizzard.
A charity like Red Cross does not want to be associated with binge drinking and reckless behaviour (I promise I’m not a God fearing goodie-goodie). But like KFC, Red Cross humanised and humorised their management of the situation with this hilarious tweet that made the national news.
We've deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we've confiscated the keys.
— American Red Cross (@RedCross) February 16, 2011
— Gloria Huang (@riaglo) February 16, 2011
Again, it effectively dispelled the shoddy work as ‘just a silly mistake’ like we can all make in the workplace. Just because a cock-up is made in the public sphere, that doesn’t mean you should instantly reel from an impending smear campaign. Have fun with it!
Sh, Stop Taco-ing!
Of course, there are instances when social media SHOULD have been used instead of the usual expensive forays into advertising. Taco Bell was accused of not using real beef when their ingredients were outed as containing only 36% real beef.
Punters gave the Mexican fast food joint a wide birth, they dropped in the stock market and their reputation became tarnished. What’s disappointing is that Taco Bell actually uses 100% real beef, however, a large part of what makes it up are additives; just like most food.
— Steve Bottari (@WMTWSteve) January 25, 2011
Despite this, social media was FILLED with tweets like the above one for years on years without a response from Taco Bell. They decided to make a televised advert screening the Taco Bell president trying to justify their food. It was boring, disingenuous and wasn’t very believable, even though what he was speaking was the truth.
Why couldn’t they have mocked people on social? In today’s air of #FakeNews, they could have had great fun with this widespread false information. Instead, the reputation remains (for some) that Taco Bell uses products which are bad quality and not as good as they used to be.
@tacobell was soo good in the 90s. They used real brown ground beef 🌮 and soft cheese that curled from shredding. I could eat a 6 pack. Now the pre-packaged red meat is nasty. Ew. 😒
— Amberlance (@amberbowens) January 22, 2018
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