So. Here we are again, taking the wind out of our own sails re: our celebrations around hitting the FIFTY EPISODE milestone with the 4 AM Report.
And rightly so!!
With the protests against police brutality happening in the U.S., and around the world, we put the brakes on that shizz, and instead want to talk about crisis communications.
Earlier in the week, we published what we jokingly called “Episode 49.5” – well, today it’s the 4 AM Report episode 49 and three-quarters! 😂
Our point? We’ll get to episode 50, eventually. But now is NOT the time for back patting!
And YO! All you brands out there should be on this same page.
This episode started from a place of having seen one influencer voice after another get it WRONG. And then come up with self-indulgent apologies – which do not serve their audiences.
Talk Crap, then Walk it Back = WRONG
Everyone from mayors, politicians, influencers, business voices, sports stars (we see you Drew Brees, walking your crap-talk back), and large brands have walked on shaky ground this past week.
They’re either being conspicuously quiet or they’re taking a miss-step and then trying to be defensive.
And the mea culpa apologies don’t cut it.
Look, we’re all human, we all put our foot in our mouths from time to time – but b*tch, please.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past week and a half, you shouldn’t have to be walking your talk back – you shouldn’t be talking that crap in the first place!
So, that prompted a discussion that raised a question:
Is there a CRISIS 101 FRAMEWORK?
Crisis Communications 101
We decided if to create our own – and share it with you, because people are hurting, and the last thing anyone of us wants to do is add weight to that pain.
We broke it down into 5 areas. And here’s just a bit of what we talked about.
Acknowledge What’s Happening
“Acknowledge the problem, whatever crisis we’re in – acknowledge that something’s different or out of sync or atypical, if you will. The opposite of acknowledging is if you just continued with your promotions and your planned automation, as usual, there’s no acknowledging already, people are going to say, or see, that you’re in a totally different dimension than everyone else right now. And already, that’s not a good thing. A whole bunch of digital people out there, the big voices, have started picking on people who are doing that already: “Listen, tone deaf human, at the very least shut down your automation funnel!”
Be Agile – Like, “Switch Gears in an Hour” Agile!
“Nobody wants you to be fixing the world’s problems. They just want to know that you’re not that one unaware dumb ass in the room, right? And be humble about it – you don’t have to publish a blog post and tell everyone about it. You just have to reach out to a few people who are likely to resonate with that messaging. Make a few calls, write a private email to your client list to test [your messaging] out. Then call on your team! Once you trigger that crisis button, everyone
needs to get as agile as possible. What is true today is changing tomorrow. Reaching out to your team, making sure you’re all on the same page. And again, even with what you’re putting on social, if you have an expert [in tone on staff] to rely on check if you’re not sure. The number of large names that we’ve been seeing, who are getting into trouble, people are calling them out because of tone, or they’ve had to make a public apology. This is the time to reach out to your teams, guys.”
Hope for the Best, But PLAN for the Worst!
“It’s called scenario planning. It’s the idea of ‘If This, Then That.’ Work out the three possible things that could happen if I stay silent? Or, what happens if I make a specific statement that applies to me? What happens if I say something that is against the grain? Like really work it out, spend time on it – people pay good dollars for this kind of thing? And really focus on the worst case! Once you are prepared for the worst case, things go a little bit easier, right? Especially because in the climate we’re now we want the brands that we like and follow and are aligned with, we want to align ourselves with brands that do take stances on things that we value. We want to know that where I buy whatever is adamantly against what’s happening right now in the United States and is as outraged as everyone else. But again, it’s how that’s communicated. And when you do take a stance, you are opening yourself up for a lot of praise, but also potentially a shit ton of criticism and backlash. And that just the price you got to pay, to play!”
The only way to seriously prevent long lasting damage from “taking a stand” is to really play out those scenarios. Don’t wing it. And don’t ‘speak’ before you think.
There’s so much more on this subject in the episode – catch the whole thing here. I hope you’ll have a listen.
And while you’re there – subscribe to us – you won’t regret it!