24 posts categorized "Crisis Management"

March 01, 2012

Every company aims for their online brand presence to grow infinitely larger.  Unfortunately as the online brand presence increases in size the likelihood of being the recipient of a negative social media post or comment increases as well.  Since it is likely only a matter of time till a company with a thriving online brand presence gets hit with a negative comment it’s best to be prepared in how to handle it.  Protecting one’s online brand presence is not about preventing negative comments but rather handling them with style.

The first thing that needs to be done when confronted with a negative comment or post on a blog or social media site is for the business to react calmly.  In the majority of cases negative comments are driven by anger.  If the business responds angrily or defensively not only does it add fuel to the fire but it makes them appear to be guilty of whatever allegations are being brought against them.

Next, a business should respond to the comment, online, in a respectful manner, acknowledging any wrongdoing and making an apology if need be.  If the comment is not true then a business should express a sincere appreciation for the commenter’s feelings but not admit wrong doing.  The only exception to this rule would be if the commenter is threatening violence or if they mention sensitive topics or confidential details that do not belong on a social media page.  If that is the case the problem must be dealt with offline and immediately.

If the negative comment and reply goes further than a few posts the business should politely ask the commenter if they would discuss the issue privately.  This will most likely solve the problem, appease hurt feelings, and let the rest of one’s followers see that problems are handled with respect and discretion.

No one can keep all bad comments away from their social media sites.  Part of growing an online brand presence is taking the good with the bad.  More important than avoiding negative comments is showing one’s online community that the business is respectful of its customers and employees and handles problems in a professional manner.  That is how online brand presence results in more sales and customer loyalty.

May 24, 2011


As more and more people spend time online and on social networks like Facebook, the private and the professional are continuing to collide. In response to this collision, institutions are establishing policies about how professionals should conduct them online. Most recently, the Ontario College of Teachers released a report over their concerns that teachers are establishing relationships with their students on social media sites like Facebook.

Even though Facebook has many privacy settings that enable you to group different people together and change your settings based on the group, the teachers association is concerned with how electronic messages will effect students' relationships to their teachers inside the classroom. Facebook messages and other online activity don't allow for people to communicate as clearly as in person, and this online communication can effect how students learn, the association argues. 

At the same time, cyberbullying between students has become increasingly monitored by schools as online student relationships spur offline reactions that school officials must deal with. In some severe cases, students have been bullied so badly online that they have committed suicide -- increasing concern for school officials over social media activity. However, teachers participation in online discussions with their students are still seen as blurring the lines between professional and private and are in general still frowned upon. 

However, students are incredibly tech savvy and young people use text messages and Facebook to communicate some of their most important social actions. This means that their is also a necessity for schools to find a way that they can use social media and teach their students how to act professionally online. Many schools are now starting to have Facebook pages and increasing online presences -- making it more important than ever that they also educate their students in the classroom about how to effectively and professionally use social media to manage their professional and personal online reputations.

May 22, 2011

One of the big issues facing businesses today, in a world of instant reviews and online blogs, is managing negative publicity. While in the past there may have been only a handful of channels available to reviewers, allowing you to carefully monitor and control your messaging, these days anyone with an internet connection can post whatever they want about your brand, and their posts may find their way to the front page of an important search.

You can do your best to keep publicity positive by treating every job as important, making personal connections with colleagues, and keeping open lines of communication so that you can address problems as they arise and before they are shared with the world. Eventually, however, it is likely you will inadvertently generate negative publicity, and at that point you’ll need to deal with it. By keeping your wits and taking immediate action you can mitigate possible damage.

Keep Initial Exchanges Private

Assuming the negative publicity you’re receiving isn’t obviously just someone lashing out to be negative and get a response, your first step should be to contact the person who wrote about your brand. Keep in mind during your exchanges that you are trying to fix the problem, however, and do not get overly defensive. Generally this first round of exchanges should take place privately.

You want to be able to be honest in your responses, and you want them to feel free to clearly articulate their problems, without giving further fuel to their negative reviews. If they decide to move the conversation into a public forum, such as a comments thread, take extra care to never come across as overly defensive, and if possible try to steer the conversation so that they do not need to further repeat their problems. Keep in mind that any public conversation will also be indexed by search engines, and could exacerbate your negative publicity.

Attempt Reconciliation

Once you have an idea of the underlying issue that provoked the negative publicity, you can make an attempt to remedy the problem. Often people who post negative reviews online are doing so out of a sense of frustration, and the simple act of reaching out to them will be enough for them to feel their complaints have been taken care of.

If you are able to reach an understanding with the other person, such that they feel okay with the situation, the next step is to ask them if they would remove their original negative review, or post a follow-up review. Having negative publicity taken away entirely is of course always preferable, but in cases where that’s not possible, having an immediate follow-up explaining that the situation has been resolved can actually help your brand in the long run. 

If All Else Fails, Bury

If reconciliation is not possible, either because the person is just out to slander you, or because you simply can’t come to an understanding, make efforts to hide their negative comments. By utilizing brand reputation tools you can push negative publicity down search engine results for your name or brand. Although the negative publicity will still exist, its effects will be greatly lessened by the fact that most web users won’t ever see it.

May 19, 2011

Dealing with a corruption scandal can be one of the most difficult experiences for an individual or an organization. Corruption scandals are often overplayed in the media and lead to a slew of bad public relations. But how can individuals and companies weather the storm and curb the worst of the bad media? LookupPage offers a number of different methods to manage negative public relations. Here are a few of our best tips:

Be Transparent

If there has been a mistake, acknowledge it. This is the first and foremost important step in managing negative publicity. Respond by making a public statement and openly acknowledging the failure. Public statements can be made in a number of ways – via online media, like the company website (news section), facebook page, video or even photographs.

Nothing goes over as well as being transparent about the mistake and making a formal apology. Throughout history, there are a series of opportunities where brands --- governmental, commercial and non-governmental – could make public statements and apologies for the mistakes they've made. By acknowledging the wrongdoing, you illuminate the opportunity for critics to argue that you haven’t taken responsibility. Of course, these public statements must be backed up by real action, but making a formal apology – especially to parties that have been hurt or lost because of the incident – will surely help insure that you and your company end up on top.

Generate Positive PR

In addition to acknowledging the mistake, it’s important to start doing good as soon as possible. When BP’s oil spilled out into the Gulf of Mexico, the oil giant found itself in a PR crisis. However the company was ready and made sure that there were camera crews to capture them cleaning up their act. In addition to hosting this content on the BP website, BP can send it to news and other media outlets – who always love free content – in order to provide a positive image of the company.


Another great way to take the attention away from bad PR is to generate a new campaign. In addition to acknowledging the mistake and generating new content that directly related to the negative incident, it is a good idea to start a new, exciting campaign that will direct attention away from the bad PR. There are a number of creative campaigns that companies have launched to generate positive PR. Picking a holiday that can have some commercial significance to your brand or your company is a great way to divert attention in a discreet way. For example, Dunkin Donuts launched an incredibly successful social media campaign for the annual coffee holiday (who even knew there was such a thing). If you go online and search for holidays you’re sure to find calendars with loads of holidays that you weren’t even aware of. These holidays can serve as good platforms for publicity campaigns because most often, people will think that the campaign was pre-planned, in accordance with the calendar, instead of launched to cover up the mistake or bad PR incident that happened before.

April 22, 2011

Sometimes, even if you plan your public relations campaign very carefully, someone can spoil your efforts. For example, if you've carefully planned an online contest, tallied the results and determined the winner, you'll want to send out a virtual press release to top bloggers and media sources announcing the results. However, it is usually necessary to send this kind of release out a few days in advance of announcing the results on your site -- thus creating an opportunity for a leak of the highly secret information. 

Leaks can create big public relations messes and reuion your surprise, so it's imperative that you put a big header on your press release that details that this is confidential information. In some cases, it's also a good idea to ask journalists to sign a confidentiality agreement. Take for example the recent case of a Glee extra spoiling the season finale. Last week on Twitter, Nichole Crowther revealed who would become prom king and queen on the show -- a big spoiler.

This created a backlash against Nichole where angry fans responded to her spoiling the show and the producer of Glee, Blad Falchuk, tweeted "hope you're qualified to do something besides work in entertainment" and "Who are you to spoil something talented people have spent months to create?"

Unfortunately in this case, the standard union contract that Nichole signed did not require her to sign a non-disclosure agreement, so filing a suit for liquidated damages would be difficult. However, if Nichole had signed an agreement with a pre-set amount of money for leaking, Glee and Fox would be protected from such actions -- and more importantly -- would probably prevent such reputation management problems from occurring at all. 

April 20, 2011


Over the past decade consumers have become much more environmentally conscious and are making many of their purchasing choices, including online choices, based on companies with good green reputations. That is making it increasingly important for companies to firstly make wise business choices when it comes to the environment and secondly to manage their green reputations -- especially online. While small companies and brands are less likely to have independent environmental watch organizations conduct investigations on them, bigger companies and brands have to manage their green reputation carefully or else they could end up with a reputation crisis like Apple is currently finding itself in.

Last week, the powerful NGO Greenpeace published a report about the top internet companies and their green reputations. The 35 page report details how much energy data companies like Yahoo, Google and Apple use to create the massive internet cloud. According to Greenpeace, the internet is consuming nearly 2% of the worlds power. After looking at a number of influential companies, Yahoo was ranked the cleanest -- improving its reputation with eco-savvy surfers -- and Apple was ranked the dirtiest. For Apple, who has a reputation of being a progressive organization, this is a blow to its reputation and in order to curb the bad public relations that this report will produce, Apple should change its policies and find ways to save more energy. Additionally, the company should send out a press release acknowledging their lack of eco-consciousness and perhaps even launch a campaign to reduce their energy consumption.

Today, in an ever increasingly environmentally conscious consumer driven world, being green isn't just about being trendy. NGOs and other civil society organizations are keeping a close watch on private companies and using the net to share with the world whose really green and whose just green washing. Thus, it's important that you truly know your companies green record and find a effective way to share it with the world and keep your online reputation as clean as possible.


April 11, 2011

Charlotte Campbell

Taking it all off -- or even partially off -- on facebook can be a big blow to your career -- or not. Last week, a beauty queen was stripped of her title when allegations that she posted nude photos of herself on facebook surfaced. The twenty-three year old model won Miss York City last year becoming the first single mum to qualify for Miss Great Britain since the competition was opened 65 years ago. 

However, Miss Great Britain's CEO says that the beauty queen violated contest rules when she posted 100% nude photographs of herself, bearing it all on Facebook. In response, the contest decided to strip her of her title and has awarded another woman the title. The beauty queen said that she never broke the rules and that there are no nude photographs of her posted anywhere and that only a semi-nude photo of her (pictured below) was posted online -- on her Facebook -- for the past two years, prior to winning the title, and that it does not violate the rules of the contest.   

Cover-up: Charlotte has strongly denied breaking the rules, claiming she could assure people there had never been any fully nude photographs of her on Facebook or any other internet websites

Whether the beauty queen was bearing too much or not, it is clear that this incident has led to a reputation management dilemma for the beauty queen and the pageant organizers. Responding quickly to the alleged discovery of photos and speaking to the media openly about the pageant's rules has enabled the organizers to cap the reputation management crisis and make it clear that this kind of nudity won't be tolerated.

For the beauty queen, who is a working model, this is certainly a set back, but not one that can't be overcome. Charolette is likely to continue to have modeling opportunities, and may even have more, now that she's gotten some publicity over the photographs and has responded to her de-crowning with professionalism and vigor. Especially for models, who often seem like just a pretty face, it is important to be media savvy, since their image is their income. Charolette seems to have responded quickly enough to this media blitz to in fact gain from it -- even though she will no longer officially be Miss York. 

March 14, 2011

The recent devestating earthquake and tsunami in Japan has left hundreds of people dead and thousands upon thousands homeless. According to CNN, this could be the most expensive earthquake in history. However, there are plenty of clever ways that caring people are finding ways to help online. Here are some of our favorite highlights of ways that you can make a difference to the Japanese people.

Facebook Donate

The Red Cross is using facebook causes to launch an incredibly timely fundraising campaign to send $25,000 to Japanese victims of the tsunami. On their facebook cause page, the Red Cross has also posted raw footage of the earthquake and other important bits of information to motivate people to donate. The project has been incredibly successful and already raised nearly double their target $40,000. 

Donate your SMS

The American Red Cross has also launched a SMS donation campaign where you can simply text REDCROSS to 90999 and donate $10 to the Red Cross' humanitarian efforts in Japan, Haiti and other places suffering from natural disasters around the world. This type of fundraising has been so successful, that last year the Red Cross was able to raise $20 million for Haiti.

Virtual Games

Thought those people playing FarmVille are just waisting their time? Not since FarmVille decided to provide relief to Japan. Zynga has already raised $2 million dollars for relief efforts in Japan and millions more for Haiti.

"Like" a facebook page is donating $1 for every person who likes their "Dog Bless You" facebook page. This idea could be applied to several other campaigns and helps organizations connect with new users, improve your reputation and put funds towards a worthy cause. 

Create a donation landing page

Several companies and organizations have added a small piece of html code to their websites to encourage their users to donate to relief organizations. The Hello Bar puts a small message on top of the website and lets people directly send donations via your website. This is a great way to encourage people to donate to the relief efforts and get to get to know your organization or company better. 

October 14, 2010

For the past two months the world has been captured by the story of the Chilean miners trapped nearly half a mile underground. While their survival is surely a testimony of incredible human surivival, Chile's president has used the event as a public relations opportunity to show the world how incredible the Chilean government and their rescue team is. This is an excellent example of crisis management, instead of focusing on the failure of the mine, the world has been captivated by the struggle of the miners and their government to bring them back to earth, to rescue them from the pits. 

One example of the how the Chilean President Sebastian Pinera has been able to use this event to push a positive message about Chile is this quote below from Fox 13 News:

"These miners have shown, as have the victims of the earthquake and the people that are working to rebuild after the earthquake have shown that Chileans unite in adversity and we are capable of great things and that, the souls of our country shows the best of itself when we're seeing adversity," said Pinera.

While this event could easily be articulated as an example of human bravery and the ability of human beings to overcome great adversity, the President articulates the miners as nationals and strengthens the image of his nation through their actions. In addition to sending an international message of hope and Chilean perserverence, this event has sparked nationalist uprisings throughout Chile with people celebrating the rescue of the miners and reconnecting to their Chilean national identity.

When in crisis, it's best to think about how you can turn a crisis into a reputation management opportunity. Even though their are several horrific stories like this every year, stories where people are trapped and there seems to be no hope, when the situation turns around, smart leaders will know how to recognize the opportunity to insprire others with not just any message of hope -- but their message of hope.

July 05, 2010

Justin Bieber Reputation Justin Bieber has once again reached the top of the charts, but this time not for his pop-music wonders or heart-throb looks. Over the past few weeks Bieber has become the subject of one of the internet's hottest cyberbullying campaigns by the notorious cyberbullying group, 4chan.

According to, yesterday 4chan hacked YouTube sending pop-up messages across the site and redirecting Bieber's video pages to sites hosting pornography and malware.

This is the latest in a series of attacks on the pop singer which started several months ago when the internet became obsessed with Bieiber and Bieber haters started fighting back. For months, Beiber and his unmistakable sixteen year old baby-face brand dominated Twitter's trending topics (with the World Cup breaking it only a few times), and sparked the creation of a Bieber elimination program which excludes all mentions of the pop star from your Twitter feed.

The drama continued when Bieber launched a "Justin Bieber My World Tour" contest inviting fans to vote what country to send him to. Taking advantage of this all too tempting opportunity, the notorious internet haters hacking group (or cyberbullying group as we've come accustomed to calling them), 4chan, started organizing to send Bieber to North Korea. While Israel was leading the way for several days, now, in the last day of the competition, North Korea has overtaken Israel as the first choice for where to send Bieber next.

According to The Independent, Bieber will never be sent to North Korea for several reasons. The first being the fact that 4chan's website explicitly tells viewers how to hack the contest system. Secondly, western music is banned in North Korea and finally, most people in North Korea don't have access to the internet and don't even know who Justin Bieber is. 

What should Bieber do?

Bieber has a very skilled PR team that should bring the situation out into the open. So far, there hasn't been a public response from Bieber, his website doesn't mention the scandal and internet lovers and hater have been left to gossip and speculate about what Bieber will do. However, tomorrow when the contest ends, Bieber's team should respond with some kind of public statement about the contest results and the recent cyberbullying.

Since news of the cyber scandal has been all over the internet for weeks, it's important that Bieber's team not try to sweep it under the rug. Instead, Bieber's team should use their reputation management skills to issue a public response to fans and assure them that cyberwars will not stop Bieber from bringing his music to the most deserving fans, and that Israel will get to hear him sing because they are the true lovers of his music, not a group of internet cyberbullies.

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June 30, 2010

Apple Reputation Management CrisisI

Today, a document was leaked by Boy Genius Report that shows Apple knows about the reception problem in the new iphone G4 and is teaching their employees how to "respond". While consumers have been complaining about the reception problems that the phone has for several months, Apple -- which is known for their excellent customer serivice -- has not only been slow to reply, but has told customers that the problem is not with their Apple phone, but in general with all cell phones.

According to Mashable, here are some of the reputation management phrases that Apple is trying to use to convince customers that it isn't their product:

  • The iPhone 4’s wireless performance is the best we have ever shipped. Our testing shows that iPhone 4’s overall antenna performance is better than iPhone 3GS.
  • Gripping almost any mobile phone in certain places will reduce its reception. This is true of the iPhone 4, the iPhone 3GS, and many other phones we have tested. It is a fact of life in the wireless world.
  • If you are experiencing this on your iPhone 3GS, avoid covering the bottom-right side with your hand.
  • If you are experiencing this on your iPhone 4, avoid covering the black strip in the lower-left corner of the metal band.
  • The use of a case or Bumper that is made out of rubber or plastic may improve wireless performance by keeping your hand from directly covering these areas.

While these kind of tips may seem funny to a reader, now that this internal report has been leaked it looks like Apple could have a reputation management crisis on their hands, along with a lot of angry customers.

How should Apple respond?

It isn't going to be easy to convince Apple customers that the iphone isn't defective -- especially now that their internal memo has been leaked. For the companies sake, they should launch an investigation into the defective phones and invite customers who think their is a problem with their phones to visit a retail store and have a unique check done of the phones. Apple needs to bring some hard evidence to the table if they expect to quell this quickly growing product reputation crisis, they need to make it clear to customers that the leaked document was not meant to cover up a problem with the iphones.

They also should get online and start responding to what will be a flood of blog posts, comments and social networking conversations of both angry customers and nervous potential customers. Apple has to make a huge effort now to be there for their customers and make sure that they prove to the public that either a) their phone isn't defective or b) that if it is, they're willing to take care of their customers and recall the iphones.

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June 28, 2010

Traditional Media vs. Online Reputation Management

Years ago, companies and high profile individuals hired public relations representatives to make sure that their messages were getting out to the public via the print press. Being someone’s PR representative was a tough job, you had to be well connected to media personal and shmooze with them on a regular basis in order to get your stories published.

Today everyone has the ability to publish their stories online for the whole world to see in a just a few minutes. And while that is a tremendous new power that companies and high profile individuals are discovering, it’s still important that you incorporate the wisdom from PR professionals.

Write About Events and Happenings

Keep your readers up to date on the different events and appearances related to you, your company and your brand. Post photos, videos and captions, share related articles on your PR blog -- keep the conversation going and keep your brand in people’s minds. This is the best way to make headway with your blog, to connect and create new fans and followers and most importantly, to make sure you message is getting out.

Keep Up with Comments

Before you launch your blog, you need to decide if you’re going to let people comment. Some people are afraid that comments will open the conversation up to negative feedback, however disabling comments and cutting off the conversation can be even worse because it doesn’t give you the opportunity to communicate with your fans or followers. Consider opening your comments, moderating them and responding effectively when necessary.

Let Fans / Critiques Connect with You

Connect your readers to your other online identities -- perhaps your facebook fan page, LookupPage profile, or Twitter account. No matter what it is, make sure that your readers can leave the blog and visit another place that supports your brand.

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