Thursday, July 7, 2011

Digital Crisis Communication Planning

A new study of corporate perceptions of crisis communications in the U.S., Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America concluded that 79 % of business leaders surveyed believe their organizations are less than a year away from a likely significant crisis.

Executives from almost every industry, small or large, say a digital crisis is looming just around the corner.

Despite that confession, the majority are nowhere close to being prepared to prevent or manage a crisis that starts in the blogosphere or elsewhere in the social media. Almost half do not have even a basic social network monitoring system.

International public relations company, Burson-Marsteller, released the study at the beginning of July 2011, and it should get the attention of corporate leaders.

But, I fear, the old attitude, “nothing bad will happen on my watch” will prevail. Even with the admission that digital crises are looming over businesses of all kinds and sizes, less than one-quarter of companies surveyed, have any type of crisis communication plan for digital crises.

Advocacy Groups Are Gearing Up

Another recent survey sounds a clear warning – 74% of global advocacy organizations use Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to attack those corporations and recruit volunteers, activists and donors.

Since March of this year, at least a dozen major organizations have come under attack, and most were slow getting out of the gate to respond.

Among the “victims” – Sony Playstation Network, RSA Secure ID, Fox TV Network, Citigroup, Inc., Lockheed Martin, PBS, Google, Sonybmg, Nintendo, Turkish Government websites, Spanish National Police, International Monetary Fund, U.S. Senate, and the CIA.

There is no excuse, except denial, for any organization to fail to monitor the social media and watch for crisis warnings. There are more than 20 free or inexpensive monitoring tools available as well as thorough and effective mid-priced and high-price social media monitoring services..

The digital attack is no different than any other type of public opposition, except, it hits faster and spreads quicker. Any delay in heading it off, puts you deeper in the hole, before you begin to climb out.

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