Category Archives: strategic reputation management

Crisis Management Musts – Keeping a Healthy Trust Account

Considering how stakeholders will react to change is key

The impact of stakeholder trust on reputation and the bottom line is at an all-time high, yet organizations are burning what little faith their proponents have left on a daily basis through penny pinching, poor customer service, or a simple lack of caring from top to bottom.

A recent LinkedIn post by author and entrepreneur Daniel Burrus caught our eye by calling out the increasingly common model of organizations driving the bottom line by tacking on additional fees, slashing standard services, and other changes that are all but guaranteed to raise the hackles of stakeholders, and sharing an elegantly simple way to avoid this pitfall that will leave your trust account in the red:

Here’s a better approach: Before you implement any new product, service, or change in policy Crisis Management Musts - Keeping a Healthy Trust Accountor procedure, ask yourself, “Where is trust, currently, between our company and our customers?” Then ask yourself, “If we implement this change in this way, what happens to trust?” If the answer is, “Trust will go down,” then don’t do it in that way.

Notice the words I used. I didn’t say “don’t do it.” I said, “Don’t do it in that way.” The insight is: It’s not what you do; it’s how you do it. It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it. It’s not what you implement; it’s how you implement it.

So the next question is: “How could we change how we say it, do it, implement it, or charge for it so that people would maintain trust?”

As in so many other areas of crisis management, maintaining trust is very much about the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Looked at from the executive suite, a change that will bring profits up with little effort looks absolutely delightful. Look at that same change from the perspective of an outsider, however, and you’ll often see the situation in a very different light.

Now, what happens when you have no choice but to implement a policy you know will be unpopular? As Burrus points out, it’s not necessarily what you do, but how you do it. Think again, what would make me feel better if I were the one being affected by this change? Typically an explanation and a dose of compassion are due, but you’ll have to really explore the minds of your outside stakeholders to see what further action is warranted.

Keeping your trust account in good shape is a crisis management must that, left neglected, can, and has, put organizations of all kinds out of business. Don’t wait until you’re taking flak to start worrying what people think of you. If you want to stick around, begin building trust now, and fight every day to keep the balance of that account as full as you possibly can.

The BCM Blogging Team

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Crisis Management Tools: A Lie Detector for Tweets

Will a program be able to sort fact from rumor on social media?

Social media rumors have created crises not only for those who find themselves the focus of said rumors, but also those who propagate the untruths. Now, European researchers say they have created a system which would help Twitter users discern exactly how reliable any given 140-character message is.

The UK Telegraph’s Keith Perry shared details on the new “lie detector for tweets”:

Pheme will classify online rumours into four types: speculation, such as whether interest rates might rise; controversy — such as the heated debate over the MMR vaccine; misinformation, where something untrue is spread unwittingly; and disinformation, where false statements are published with sinister motives.

The system works by assessing the quality of information and sources, giving more weight to established news outlets and experts, and looking out for “bots” (computer programs designed to send spam). It will also look for a history and background of users, so that it can spot where Twitter accounts have been created purely to spread false information.

Pheme will then search for sources that can back up or dismiss the information, as well plot how the conversations on social networks evolve, using all of this information to assess whether it is true or false. The results will be displayed to the user on screen, telling people if an untruth is taking hold among the public.

This is a lovely idea in concept, but we have serious reservations about whether it would be possible to make such a system reliable enough to be employed as a crisis management tool. We anticipate not only the expected technical issues, but also clever users figuring out how to game the system shortly after the “lie detector” goes live, putting anyone depending on its output to protect their own reputation at risk.

The BCM Blogging Team

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Responding to Social Media Crises

How you react can make all the difference

Let’s be real here – no matter how hard you try to avoid trouble, it’s not only possible, but also quite likely, that you’ll eventually encounter the need to do a bit of social media crisis management.

Considering that the way you respond could mean the difference between a blip on the radar and a reputation damaging crisis, you may want to take notes on the following infographic, from the blog of social media expert Neira Jones:

SoMe Crisis PR Infographic August 2012

The BCM Blogging Team

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Improve Your Online Reputation this Summer

A strong online reputation has quite a few benefits

Getting serious about online reputation management is a win on many fronts. You’ll draw in more customers, head of crises before they can get started, and build a cushion of goodwill that will protect you from the impact of negative incidents.

To reap these rewards, though, you have to get started, and there’s no better time to start connecting with your stakeholders than the coming summer. To help, ReachLocal has put out a great infographic, “3 Steps to Building a 5-Star Reputation”:

The BCM Blogging Team

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Jenny McCarthy’s #JennyAsks Hashtag Hijacked

The dangers of social media self-promotion

Twitter hashtag hijackings have become a common form of both protest and entertainment for the Internet crowd. McDonalds has run awry of this several times recently, most notably with its #McDStories campaign that drew out thousands of extremely creative, and often stomach-turning, tweets tweaking the company, as also happened to Quantas airlines, Walgreens, and many more.

Now, you can add actress/model/TV host Jenny McCarthy to join the list, after she faced the wrath of Twitter users. Here’s her (seemingly benign) post that kicked it all off:

Seems pretty harmless, right? That is, until you consider the fact that McCarthy has been an extremely vocal anti-vaccination activist, a position that has those on the other side of the debate heated up (a debate we’re not going to touch with a ten-foot pole, in case you were wondering). Within 24 hours, pro-vaccination posters had completely and utterly hijacked the #JennyAsks hashtag, with tweets like these summing up the type of sentiment expressed by most:



Here’s the deal – before starting any hashtag campaign, it’s smart social media crisis management to consider how it could be used against you, and exactly how much impact a hijacking could have. While negative sentiment may circulate either way, creating a way for your detractors to connect and focus their energy, and attracting many more who are simply game to jump in on the latest trollfest for fun, is often a #badidea.

The BCM Blogging Team

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