Posts Tagged ‘crisis management’
Battling with a damaged reputation and internal unrest!
The national carrier of India, “Air India” seems to be in a complete disarray after a series of recent incidents jolting the reputation of the nation’s oldest airlines. Even before Air India could resurrect its image from the tragic crash in Mangalore which killed 158 passengers, another blow came with a strike called by Air India employees unions.
The internal unrest among the employees and management is due to faliure of the management to follow through on its latest verbal agreement to pay the lowest paid employees by July 3. The lowest paid unionized employees make less than $100 a week. Employees were angered with their pay being delayed at a time when the airline continued to buy new planes. This sorry state highlights the distorted image of the national carrier being plagued by chronic indiscipline. They lost credibility and with the mounting pressure to stay ahead in the race, Air India seems to have lost its track. This series of crisis exposes Air India’s inability to deal with crisis management. Here is what Air India’s spokesperson had to say to CNN IBN :
“We will not tolerate any strike. Striking employees will be subject to loss of wages and productive incentives.”
Left with a cumulative loss of about Rs 8000 crore, a battered reputation, and unsatisfied employees and customers, the international carrier will have a hard time to regain its respect. Absence of a solid PR is something they need to bring in to salvage their reputation. With competition and competitors looming high, Reputation Management For.com does not think Air India can afford to take this luxury to give PR a miss. High time they mend and sort the crisis before its too late to fasten their seat belts.
Reputation Management is about what you do, say, and what others say about you. So do we have a tinge of PR into this. What is public relation (PR) all about? We have already debated in the past about PR being one tool that is mostly about marketing and communication, but we haven’t talked about how PR culminates with reputation management. What is the role of SEO that completes the cycle?
Public relations is one factor that takes care of your reputation, with the intention to influence customers and support their belief about your product goodwill. It is a continuous process to maintain an amicable understanding between public and an organization. PR supports the efforts of reputation management, and there are various techniques to do that; press release, blogs, copy writing are some of the essentials that is used as a public relation strategy. Dealing with crisis management both online and offline is another form. All this signifies that constant communication is the core and vital that helps to put an effective image of your brand.
Next comes Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the most powerful tool in the armour. SEO agents know how to target keywords that is causing damage to your reputation and in the bid will kill them to minimize the damage. The only difference is unlike every time SEO here will not only concentrate on doing online stuff thereby missing the real issue of reputation management, and overlook the cause of potential damage to the brand or business.
Finally, the complete package of RM, PR plus SEO is here to stay and deliver the requisite in keeping the reputation of your organization the way you want, after all your business deserves it.
Crisis management is the new buzz word now, everybody from Celebrities, Politicians, Automobile companies to Theme parks are in dire need to salvage their reputation from getting tarnished online. No organization wants to be in a situation that would stimulate bad press against them and cause disruption to their business.
Some companies that are hard hit recently were not able to handle crisis efficiently. Toyota is one company that is finding it difficult to stop the embroiling situation, the quality crisis refuses to die down for them. This clearly shows that the company is not good at handling crisis. The initial slow response, the half-minded recall, poor communication had adverse effect on the reputation of the company.
Managing crisis is the second best thing you can do for a successful business. To deal with crisis needs accurate and decisive action. Take for example ‘A Gun manufacturing company loses a gun while on transit and before the public or the media ever comes to know about this the company is able to find it and put it back into the inventory‘. So rapid and precise action saved the company from getting a bad name.
Some of the ways to handle crisis is as follows:
- Identify the problems: The first step towards crisis management is to identify the problems in clear terms, so that you can sort it out easily.
- Collective decision: Fighting crisis can never be a one-man-show, a collective decision and team work is always better. Consider the relevant team and their decisions pertaining to the risk factor and go with the best option.
- Leadership: Lead from the front and talk with everybody in the team. Monitor the function required to minimize the crisis.
- Communicate: The most sought after action is to have continuous communication with the public and media. It is always good idea for the company to have their own portal or hub to update their view.
- Segregate issues: Take the best team out and let them work on every piece of the issue, break the issue until you identify the grey areas. Hire a reputation management company, which has standard practices to deal with crisis related issues.
- Encourage feedback: Read customer/client online reaction, this will help you know the correct pulse of the general public and help you overcome crisis.
- Analyze the problems: So you know from where it took shape and who is responsible and what corrective measures can be taken to get rid of it.
- Learn: Take a cue from your last experience, this will help you mold a better strategy in future. Always keep your last crisis experience in perspective and put in place tools so that your company is safe from similar crisis.
Bad press, damage limitation, PR, crisis management, brand protection, call it what you like, the minute you put online in front of any of these phrases changes the requirements of a company who can help. So who do you need to help mange your reputation on the net?
When you find you have negative content appearing in the search engines where do you go? Sure negative comments can be a positive thing if you have had a serious issue and have shown to have dealt with it after listening to your customers. More often than not however it can be an ex employer, competition or customer who has taken a particular disliking for the company and very difficult to show you have dealt with the complaint.
Reputation Management is about showing your company in the correct light and create understanding. It is unlike advertising, whose main goal and focus is to generate sales and awareness. Like PR, reputation management should be a planned exercise, with the goal of making the public, customers and suppliers see that the company understands the needs and wants of all parties involved. You can’t do this if there is only negative content showing on the first page of the search engines.
How you go about producing this positive content must be done honestly and in a manageable structure, otherwise you could take the wrong path. See this example from the NY Times
Lifestyle Lift, a cosmetic surgery company, has reached a settlement with the State of New York over its attempts to fake positive consumer reviews on the Web, the New York attorney general’s office said Tuesday. The company had ordered employees to pretend they were satisfied customers and write glowing reviews of its face-lift procedure on Web sites, according to the attorney general’s statement. Lifestyle Lift also created its own sites of face-lift reviews to appear as independent sources.
One e-mail message, discovered by the attorney general’s office, told employees to “devote the day to doing more postings on the Web as a satisfied client.”
So it’s important that you get the right advice, having an online reputation management strategy can save you a lot of time, effort and money. Leaving it till its a big issue can sometimes hurt you and damage your reputation beyond repair.