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MARKETING: Crisis Management with Marketing
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Crisis Management with Marketing

By Anne Shore


树大招风,企业大了也有抗不住的突发情况。不论你的产品如何过硬、服务如何好,一旦出现了广大民众不买账的事件,苦心经营积累多年的信誉大概就会扫落一地。正如本期杂志“HR”栏目的中文部分提到的,优步(Uber)在发生性骚扰、高管与司机吵架事件后没有做好适当的危机公关,致使公司负面形象扩大,造成了不可挽回的损失。在互联网自媒体爆炸的今天,一个企业的口碑主动权已经不掌握在自己手里,而是掌握在大众的每一条转发和发帖中。面对危机如何巧妙应对,将事件化不利为有利,已经成为了每一位公司危机公关人员的必修课。那么如何才能做好一名合格的危机公关呢?


顾客喜欢诚实守信的商家,不谈真相,何来信任?此时有效、智慧的沟通是让公众了解真相、避免谣言损害公司利益的重要方式。沟通不仅是在当事人和调查者之间展开的,更需要通过各个层面与公众进行交流。去年的4月5日,和颐如家酒店少女遇袭事件发生后,相关事件的消息在网络上迅速传播开来,大家一致要求如家酒店追查事故真相并作出表态。然而如家酒店的态度是“冷处理”:酒店方微博回复语气冷淡,官方用词过多,并且没有第一时间向受害者道歉及解释,甚至提供给钱删帖这样的无理要求。事后的发布会也多次“戏耍”媒体,给出“无可奉告”的回应,犯下多个危机公关的致命错误。


从如家酒店的例子中,我们也可以看出,好的危机公关应当首先承认问题的存在,并迅速对当事人或网络平台的质问作出回应。在此期间,由一位固定的对外发言人回答各类质询是有效的解决途径。在“答记者问”的背后,当然还需要一个训练有素的危机公关团队,“三个臭皮匠赛过诸葛亮”,团队的力量永远不可小觑。


另外,在危机事件发酵期间,所有其他活动都应当一律延期。天津的朋友可能还记得发生在大悦城的幼儿不幸坠亡事件。虽然该商场栏杆高度、警示牌等设备全部合乎规范标准,在此事件中并不存在过失,但是商场市场部依然做出了取消一切活动,为逝者默哀的严肃态度。这样的做法不仅避免负面影响扩大,而且有助于维护客户感情。


危机公关虽然在平时不起眼,但是在公司遇到突发事件时却能力挽狂澜,救团队于水火,是每位管理者都需要考虑问题。

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A crisis can occur in any business at any point of time. Any untoward happening within the business can give rise to a crisis. Such situations need to be handled effectively and with a lot of care since any crisis can adversely affect the reputation of a brand.


The reputation of any business is built over a considerable period of time and is something which is very valuable for any brand. However, a single crisis or a mismanaged crisis situation can damage that reputation which has been earned over the years. Hence, proper crisis management should be of integral importance in any business.


Effective marketing plays a very important role in this regard. Businesses can use proper marketing to effectively handle such crisis situations and keep the overall brand reputation intact.


BT 201708 MARKETING 01What gives rise to rise to crisis situations?
A host of unprecedented and unwanted happenings can lead to crisis situations. Rumours which are detrimental to the overall brand image, problems with the quality of products, defects in products, negative customer feedback, loss of customers, accidents taking place on the job, strikes, a negative image portrayed by media, and a number of other similar events can eventually lead to a crisis.


Managing crisis situations
Most companies often do not realise the indications of a crisis situation which is about to arise. It is only after the occurrence of the event do companies realise that they are facing a crisis situation. A considerable amount of unrest is created amongst employees. This often leads to a sort of panic which subsequently leads to wrong decisions being taken and an overall mismanagement of the crisis situation.


Such mismanaged crisis situations can eventually lead to a host of unwanted outcomes like reduction in the overall productivity of workers, lower sales, lesser profits, additional costs to manage the damages caused due to a crisis and a negative impact on the overall brand reputation.


Hence, all business organisations should take appropriate measures to tackle such situations. A proper crisis management policy should always be in place in every business.


BT 201708 MARKETING 03Crisis management with effective marketing
Marketing plays a very important role in crisis management. A number of marketing techniques can be used do deal with crisis situations effectively.


Positive marketing of the brand through proper communication with customers is very important during a crisis. Customers always value honesty. Hence, communicating with them in an upfront manner in the face of any crisis works really well. Customers will be able to place their trust on the brand and this in turn will definitely help businesses retain their brand image and reputation in the market.


Here are a few ways in which businesses can use proper marketing to manage crisis situations effectively.


- Proper communication: Effective communication is the key to proper crisis management. Communication should take place at all the three stages i.e. before, during and after the crisis.


It is very important for companies to identify the indications of an impending crisis and communicate effectively. Steps can also be taken to prevent the crisis in this manner.


During an ongoing crisis, communication should take place at all levels, within the business and with customers as well. This can prevent any additional misunderstanding. Representatives of the company should never hide from the public eye in the face of a crisis. All employees should be kept informed about the crisis. There should be an open forum where discussions can take place. This will prevent the spreading of false rumours and the formation of misconceptions.


Similarly even customers should be provided regular and updated information regarding the present crisis situation.


Communication is very important after a crisis in order to repair all the damages done and restore relationships.


- Acknowledge the problem: The problem or issue which the business is facing should always be acknowledged in public. Being honest does create a good impression amongst customers. They should also be told how well the issues are being managed. Even if there isn't a concrete course of action decided yet, they should atleast be told that the problem is being looked into.


- Responding quickly: There are various questions and doubts which arise not only amongst the public and media but also amongst employees within the company. A constructive and timely response is very essential in such cases. This definitely puts people's mind at rest and eases out the tension considerably.


- Having an efficient PR team: An efficient team of workers should be delegated the PR management tasks. This team will handle all queries, complaints or requests and ensure that they are responded to quickly. They can work out an elaborate communications strategy using which they will safeguard the brand image and also deliver the right message to the public.


- Having a spokesperson: The spokesperson will be the face of the company during the crisis period. However, companies should ensure that the spokesperson is efficient and trained to handle the crisis situation well. The company spokesperson must regularly communicate with the media and handle them efficiently. This will surely increase the confidence which customers, employees and shareholders have in the brand.


- Postponing other marketing campaigns: All other marketing campaigns and product launches should be postponed till the crisis period is over. Marketing of other products of the same brand can remind the customers of the ongoing crisis.


- Conducting public relation activities throughout the year: Public relation activities give companies an opportunity to mould people's perception about the particular brand. If a good perception is created then it will surely build people's trust in the brand. This will enhance the brand's general goodwill and people are definitely going to support the brand during a crisis. It will also become lot easier for the company to get support from the shareholders at the time of crisis.


These marketing techniques if adopted and executed properly during any crisis situation in the company are sure to give excellent results. Thus, a proper crisis management plan with effective marketing should definitely be a part of the crisis management strategy of every company.


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