As we have gravitated towards becoming a society submerged in technology, in recent years, outlets of social media have become essential marketing tools for many companies and organizations.Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine are few forms of social media utilized by most. While social media can strongly influence consumer behaviors and increase consumer awareness it can also be detrimental to a company’s image. In some cases social media can be the cause of a PR crisis. Crisis management is the process by which an organization deals with this major event that threatens to harm the organization.
The American Red Cross is a prime example of an organization who exemplifies strong crisis management skills. This honorable humanitarian organization managed to dodge-a-bullet back in 2011 when an intern fired off a personal tweet on the company’s twitter account. The tweet read “Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer…when we drink we do it right #gettingslizzerd”.
This uniquely unorthodox and unprofessional tweet received a lot of negative attention from the general public. In this particular circumstance social media proved to be the cause of the crisis. When responding to the tweet the Red Cross avoided disaster by acknowledging that the tweet went out, deleting it, and explaining with humor that is was a mistake. This is an example of crisis management where the Red Cross turned a potentially harmful tweet in to an opportunity for engagement.
Thankfully, the Red Cross realized the potential of social media and understood the power that it has to bring down a major organization. Now, other companies can look at this experience and utilize it to learn for themselves. After understanding the Red Cross’s response it is easy to break down their post-crisis steps and keep them in mind for other emergency situations. First, they were able to assess the situation. They realized the crisis was a major problem but they came to the conclusion that they could handle it which brought them to their second step, adapting their message. They considered their stakeholders and created a strong message to appeal to them. Lastly, they were able to analyze and learn from the situation post-crisis. Although this could have led to a horrific downfall for one of the greatest humanitarian organizations, everyone was able to benefit, understand, and learn from this experience.
-Parker Farfour, Caitlin Ford, Alex Corrigan, Kaitlin Batson