June 2017 Print

Preparing for an Online Crisis

Are You Prepared for an Online Crisis?
by John Deveney, IABC Fellow

Your company could be worth billions, but your reputation is priceless. Yet a 2013 Accenture survey revealed that only 28 percent of corporate risk managers are prepared to deal with crisis. How would you rate your company’s preparedness, especially in the digital realm? The time to determine that isn’t in the moment. By preparing today, you dramatically increase your organization’s chance of weathering a crisis.

Identify vulnerabilities

Digital preparedness begins with assessing your brand’s risks from every angle. Could any of your policies be interpreted as discriminatory? Is there any potential for food-borne illness? Identifying and cataloging potential vulnerabilities for your company will empower you to act quickly and effectively when a crisis begins. Take a critical look at the level of risk associated with each, and consider factors like company impact and length of time it could take the issue will play out.

Use the data gathered in your risk assessment to determine your response team. Remember that crises affect the entire organization, not just your social media manager. Determine a crisis response flowchart, and don’t be afraid to bring in your heavy hitters. The more acute the issue, the more a senior-level responder is needed. Depending on the complexity of your organization, you may want to work with your legal team to get a process pre-approved. Social media often moves faster than decision makers who are determining next steps, so significant response time can be wasted on bureaucracy in a crisis. We ask our clients “can you get a video online from your CEO within four hours, any time of the day, from anywhere in the world?” If the answer is no, then you’re not fully prepared.

When a crisis emerges, act fast

Every crisis is different, but when the day of reckoning arrives, there are standard public relations response steps to initially follow. Immediately acknowledge the situation, even if zero information is available, to stem the tide of “hey, did you know?” comments on social media.

Read the full article in Communication World. 


Authentic Leadership Expertise

Be an expert on authentic leadership: An interview with Gabrielle Dolan
by Khyla Flores, Associate Editor for IABC’s Content Department

Storytelling is a popular buzzword in communication today. Everyone wants to add storytelling to their speeches, but how do they do it authentically? Many believe the true power of storytelling comes from the sense of connection made possible by telling personal stories. Good storytelling can be seen as a key leadership skill and has become closely linked to authentic leadership. 

Gabrielle DolanGabrielle Dolan

IABC Associate Editor Khyla Flores recently spoke with global thought leader on authentic leadership and business storytelling, Gabrielle Dolan, who believes, “There’s a real push for people to be more authentic in their leadership.” Dolan states that in the past, we’ve been told to keep personal and business separate, but authentic leadership is all about being more real and vulnerable, and being able to bring your whole self to your work and your leadership.

 Click here to listen to the full interview. (Approx. 7 minutes)

Gabrielle Dolan, is the opening keynote speaker at the IABC World Conference, happening 11–14 June 2017. She has worked with thousands of leaders around the globe helping them to embrace authentic leadership and business storytelling. She has published several best selling books including Stories for Work: The essential guide to business storytelling, which was published in March 2017.


Brand Experience: A New Era in Marketing

New Study Reveals Branding Value of Events
by MeetingsToday.com

Sensory brand experiences—encompassing everything from events, tradeshows and sponsorships to virtual or augmented reality experiences and cutting-edge pop-ups—are increasingly being emphasized and invested in by brand managers and event planners, according to a new survey by Freeman and SSI.

As marketers see the positive results from these experiences at face-to-face events they expect to increase spend in this area to get closer to customers, build loyalty and remain top of mind in purchase decisions.

For the study, “Brand Experience: A New Era in Marketing,” Freeman polled nearly 1,000 marketing professionals across North America, Asia and Western Europe, in roles focused on both B-to-B and B-to-C segments, confirming that brand experience is more central to business today than it was in the past.

The survey found that audiences are seeking more personalized interactions with brands, and more than nine out of 10 respondents agreed that brand experiences deliver more compelling brand engagements.

“The role of brand experience continues to increase in scope and importance, as audience expectations evolve,” said Chris Cavanaugh, Executive VP & CMO at Freeman. “Steep competition, changing demographics and more sophisticated audiences mean now, more than ever, marketers need new approaches.

"The right brand experiences have the power to evolve brands, build relationships and inspire action. Our new research helps us understand brand experience as a medium of the future.”

Across the board, more than two-thirds of survey respondents agreed that brand experience is an effective way to reach their organizations’ goals. Key findings from the research include: 

  • By and large, marketers feel brand experience is great for building loyalty, with 59 percent of chief marketing officers (CMOs) recognizing brand experience for its ability to create ongoing relationships with key audiences.
  • As marketers realize the value of brand experiences, they are shifting spend, with more than one in three CMOs expecting to allocate 21-50 percent of their budget to brand experience marketing over the next three to five years.
  • Marketers believe in customizing experiences to create stronger connections, yet they may not be moving fast enough. Currently, the top three tactics they are using to drive brand experience are standard: website (58 percent), social media (57 percent) and email marketing (51 percent). Companies involved in more than 20 events per year are taking greater advantage of these tools, which include touch screens, location mapping, virtual reality, and gamification.
  • In Asia especially, marketers appear to be early adopters of more immersive, interactive technologies, with 42 percent tapping into sensory interaction as a way to personalize brand experience, compared to 28 percent in North America and 13 percent in Western Europe.
  • Brand experience is growing across all sectors, yet when looking at marketing roles within an organization, there is a disconnect, providing an opportunity for greater alignment. For example, 48 percent of CMOs value brand experience for its ability to showcase thought leadership, yet that number drops to 33 percent among brand managers and 28 percent among event planners.

The full report, “Brand Experience: A New Era in Marketing,” is available for free download.