Last week we were in the midst of a lesson in Crisis Public Relations at its worst from Blackberry. For a number of days there were outages worldwide and users unable to connect. And Blackberry spokespersons were communicating with messages like “Message delays were caused by a core switch failure in RIM’s infrastructure.”
That’s not consumer friendly English which resonates with people, and few of us know (or care) what a “core switch” is.
The Issue Is Quite Simple
We just want our damn Blackberries to work. And to make it worse, they have communicated that the service works – only to see it fail minutes later again. And this has happened a number of times.
The very basics of crisis PR management involves communicating clearly, honestly and in language which resonates with consumers. The brand – particularly with the imminent launch of the Apple iPhone 4S – needs to very quickly communicate much clearer – in addition, naturally to fixing the problem immediately.
In the end, Blackberry needs to be resigned that there will be some fallout when a crisis occurs. Wrongdoing has occurred and they won’t get off scot-free. Once fixed it’s time to fulfill promises to customers or constituents, get back to work and do what they do best – Doing what they are known for is the best way to rehabilitate reputation and legacy.
Some ways they can effectively utilize digital media to recover from their crisis PR nightmare:
- Utilize Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other digital media tools more regularly and more effectively before you need them – personally engage with consumers and you will excite them. Challenge them – and engage them positively when problems inevitably occur. The Blackberry Twitter feed has been quite empty or vague throughout the crisis.
- Immediately get to work on Online Reputation Management (ORM) – 40% of Page 1 “Blackberry” searches on Google are currently negative – and that won’t go away anytime soon without an intense focused (and necessary) ORM campaign.
- Create content and communicate – Blackberry needs to get back to the “crackberry” community – and quickly. The posts need to reflect the thoughts and insights of the brand and get people positive again. Don’t let the first video of the CEO be a negative one.
- Hyperlink. Create links, discussion, and chatter about positive content that exists. Hyperlink all positive content to other sources and channels
- Supervise. Be aware of whats being said – now more than ever – in digital media channels. Amd respond and act accordingly – quickly.
As Warren Buffett says : “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”