Oscar’s Best Picture: An Alternative Insight

In addition to Mary’s earlier story (http://bit.ly/2m6AsVV) I want to shine some more light on the disrupted Oscar ceremony of February the 26th.

As you might have heard, this year’s Oscars were a fantastic show, up until the last 90 seconds of it. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were handed the wrong envelope when announcing the winner in the category ‘Best Picture’. Instead of praising Barry Jenkins and his cast for the movie Moonlight, La La Land was announced as winner – a failure now publicly known as #envelopegate.

Accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), responsible for addressing the right winners made a mistake. Within minutes the crisis diffused through Twitter. When it comes to crises, Twitter is shown to be the leading outlet of reports in terms of volume and content, due to its microblogging nature. Within moments of time hashtags were hurled into the world. Every single one in the public could follow, share, comment or contribute to the occurring crisis, using #Oscarsfail, #MoonlightGate and #Envelopegate.

The morning after PwC published a public statement via Twitter, taking the blame:

In the following days, President of the American Film Academy (AFA) Cheryl Boone Isaacs went to the bottom of it. Four days after the incident she announced that Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz (of PwC) are banned from any future dealings regarding the ceremony.

In her handling of the crisis, Boone Isaacs cleverly victimized the Oscars, designating PwC as perpetrator:

”Then, of course, there was the last 90 seconds,” Boone Isaacs said. ”And what  angered me, I would say, in these last couple days is (the focus on) this 90 seconds and moving to the side the brilliance of the day.”

Boone Isaacs said to have waited with a full response until her team had a good understanding of what led to the error. Research shows that whenever a crisis has internal origins, the public will hold the organization responsible and negative public emotions can be expected. As PwC was to blame for the mistake, from the perspective of the Film Academy, the crisis had external origins. But, as this was not immediately clear at the moment of the crisis, the public did not make a distinction. The Oscars and its crisis were thoroughly ridiculed.

An alternative insight
Though Boone Isaacs tried to set the record straight by pointing the finger at PwC, the AFA could have jumped in earlier by incorporating social media in their crisis management. Research shows that online crisis response activities are becoming increasingly simultaneous and intertwined. Best practices regarding the usage of social media in risk and crisis communication include the following:

1. Partner with the public
2. Listen to the public’s concerns and understand the audience
3. Communicate with honesty, candour, and openness
4. Meet the needs of the media and remain accessible

In the heat of the crisis, the AFA refused to take notice, allowing the public to take ownership. The AFA could have set the boundaries of the discourse by providing an honest statement saying that they would get to the bottom of it. By not being accessible and partnering with the public, the AFA let go of the opportunity to control the debate.

What is left now is the poignant flop of this year’s Oscars, an angry and disappointed Boone Isaacs, and two PricewaterhouseCoopers representatives without a job. Not so La La Land.

About the author:
Esmee de Vries
 – Here to unite strategy with creativity, vision with philosophy and numbers with people.

Connect with the author:

 

 

#BePrepared or #BeShattered

After President Trump banned refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim countries from entering the US, taxi drivers of New York stopped their work out of protest. Except for Uber. They continued their work which resulted in a lot of negative comments and the trending Twitter hashtag #DeleteUber. A remarkable 200.000 customers deleted their Uber account which caused this event to be quite the crisis for Uber. After this first incident, Uber was also accused of sexism by former employees. And to make matters even worse, a video emerged in which the CEO lashed out to a Uber driver.

With these events in a very short time, you could say that the reputation of Uber got a huge hit. This previous blog stated that Uber should have monitored social media better and responded earlier and in the right way to the crisis because a quick response is necessary in times of crisis, according to an article of Dr. Coombs. But what is the right way to respond?

Social-Mediated Crisis Communication Model

As the prior blog described, a quick response to the crisis is indeed essential for the organizational reputation. With that, the source from which the crisis information is originated is also very important as described in this article. The social-mediated crisis communication model describes how the public produce, consume, and/or share crisis information through social media. This is important for the understanding and anticipation of the stakeholders towards the company. It is also important that the crisis frame aligns over time, according to this article. By responding a couple of days later, the issue already spread on Twitter with the #DeleteUber whereas Uber lagged behind the events instead of preventing escalation of the problem.

Dynamics of a crisis

Another article further discusses the best way to protect the organizational reputation during a crisis. Coombs state that it is important to understand the dynamic of a crisis, and that the strategy should be adapted to the mechanism of the crisis according to the Situational Crisis Communication Theory. I also believe that it is important to take all aspect of the situation into consideration and not just apply a general strategy.

Best Practices

Finally, Seeger describes best practices for crisis communication in his article. It is stated that the “type, organizational history, and the specific dynamics of the crisis are critical factors in determining strategy and approach”. However, the one universal goal of crisis communication is to reduce and contain harm. And to make this process as successful as possible, organizations should focus on the following aspects:

  • First, crisis communication is most effective when it is part of the ongoing and integrated process of the decision-making process. By doing so, the crisis communication is quicker and more complete.
  • Second, listening to the public is a very important factor for effective crisis communication because the interaction with the public is necessary to achieve credibility and trust, which is important for the reputation of the company.
  • Third, engaging with the media. Avoiding inconsistency, and open and honest communication will have a positive effect on the reputation (and not the overly reassuring messages).

 

In the end, Uber handled their first crisis not in the right way which cost them many clients and negative publicity, like the previous blog stated. However, by implementing the best practices they can improve their crisis communication in the future.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: LAURA MEURS, 25 YEARS OLD, MSC CORPORATE COMMUNICATION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF AMSTERDAM, INTERESTS IN CRISIS COMMUNICATION, CSR AND CORPORATE BRANDING, CHECK MY LINKEDIN FOR more INFO OR LEAVE A COMMENT!

Dat wens je niemand toe of was zijn gedrag ontoelaatbaar?

Een verklaring waarom de frames over Yuri’s vertrek verschillen.

Zoals omschreven in mijn eerdere blog zijn de laatste Olympische Spelen niet de makkelijkste spelen geweest voor Maurits Hendriks. Naast het incident met de Losersvlucht, kreeg hij ook veel commentaar op het naar huis sturen van Olympisch turner Yuri van Gelder. Vorige week las ik hierover een verhaal van collega blogger Esmee de Vries. Zij omschreef dat er naar aanleiding van het persbericht over Yuri’s vertrek verschillende frames werden gebruikt door media en publiek. In dit blog zal ik haar aanvullen en toelichten hoe het kan dat de media en het publiek soms verschillen in framegebruik.

Ja, Yuri was een beetje dom
We zijn het er allemaal over eens: gezien Yuri’s verleden met alcohol en drugs, had hij die bewuste avond beter niet de kroeg in kunnen gaan. Het blijft natuurlijk altijd de verantwoordelijkheid van de sporter zelf, maar met nog een week tijd aan voorbereiding toont het publiek veel sympathie voor de situatie. De media daarentegen is keihard en neemt de informatie uit het persbericht vrijwel letterlijk over. Zij vinden het gedrag van Yuri ontoelaatbaar.

Wat we erover kunnen zeggen
Het proces van betekenisgeving is een manier om te verklaren waarom deze frames zo van elkaar verschillen. Dit proces komt direct opgang wanneer er over een incident wordt bericht. In het begin was er nog weinig informatie over de betreffende nacht beschikbaar en kozen stakeholders een ander standpunt dan de organisatie. Er was dus geen sprake van frame-alignment, zoals we dat in theorie mooi noemen. Simpelweg betekent frame-alignment dat de frames van de organisatie, media en publiek met elkaar overeenkomen. Omdat niet alle partijen precies weten wat er die nacht is gebeurd, werd het publiek wel een beetje boos en komen de frames van de media en publiek niet met elkaar overeen. Daar ging onze kans op goud!

Een andere manier om te verklaren waarom de frames van de media en het publiek van elkaar verschillen is betrokkenheid. Volgens de stakeholder-theorie kan het publiek gezien worden als stakeholder van een organisatie. Zij zijn toegewijd bij de resultaten die Yuri behaald en hebben oprechte interesses in zijn welzijn. Daartegenover staat de media, die gezien kunnen worden als stakekeeper van de Olympische Spelen. Zij hebben invloed op de manier hoe er over de Spelen en sporters wordt gesproken. Het feit dat het publiek gezien wordt als stakeholder verwijst naar een grotere betrokkenheid die zij hebben bij de sporters. Het publiek heeft net als teamNL als doel om zoveel mogelijk gouden medailles mee naar huis te nemen, terwijl de media de rol van watchdog heeft. De taak om het nieuws zo objectief mogelijk te brengen.

Eeuwig Zonde
In dit digitale tijdperk is het voor organisaties niet meer voldoende om enkel een persbericht te versturen. Na het eerste informatiemoment heeft de discussie zich voornamelijk via interpersoonlijke communicatie vormgeven. Om ervoor te zorgen dat een issue online niet escaleert, moeten organisaties een relatie opbouwden met hun stakeholders. Het mag duidelijk zijn dat NOC*NSF de relatie met de media en het publiek beter had moeten managen door bijvoorbeeld online te reageren op het publiek, om zo sneller tot een frame-alignement te komen.

Heb jij nog een andere verklaring waarom de frames van de media en het publiek kunnen verschillen? Laat het mij weten door te reageren onder dit blog.

Door: Jona ter Meulen (25) – Is de afgelopen jaren steeds meer in aanraking gekomen met de wondere wereld van PR. Sinds 2011 heeft zij een leren tassenlijn, waar zij in het verleden verantwoordelijk was voor de marketing, communicatie en PR. Momenteel studeert Jona Corporate Communicatie aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam en is daarnaast al vier jaar werkzaam als marketing, communicatie en PR medewerker bij Kirkman Company. Als ghostwriter schrijft zij voor Kirkman Company artikelen op het gebied van Strategic (out) sourcing, de circulaire economy en customer excellence.

Is apologizing always the best response?

In this post, I would like to take the opportunity to discuss the interesting blogpost: “#freemelania from a Crisis” written by Vilma Nurmela. The blogpost of my fellow blogger presented the well-known case of the speech of Melania Trump in last July, which mimicked an existing speech of Michelle Obama. Even though the presidential couple received a lot of negative comments, criticism and attacks, they did not apologized for Melania’s speech. Apparently, the communication and public relations team of Donald Trump chose not to take responsibility for the incident and denied all the accusations of plagiarism. In her post, Vilma concluded that organizations should take this case as an example and admit any possible mistakes that have led to crisis situations by offering an apology.

The other side of the coin
Taking under consideration the opinion of Vilma, I would like to elaborate on this case and focus on the aspect of apology as a way of resolving and normalizing a crisis situation. With all the respect, even though I believe in the importance of apology as a way of resolving a crisis and improving any kind of relationship, there might be some cases where an apology is not the best solution. For instance, in several circumstances, offered apologies have later been regretted. Therefore, I must admit that refusing responsibility may sometimes be more effective than totally admitting a mistake that could be detrimental for someone’s political, corporate or even entertaining operation. My recommendation is based in existing research, such as the study of Compton in 2016, focusing on image repair efforts after regretted apologies. The study presents several cases of regretted and harming apologies in politics as well as in entertainment. The rhetoric of apology can be complicated, although it is true that case studies offer little insight into how stakeholders actually react to this kind of crisis response strategies and future research is necessary.
But why?
If a detrimental mistake is made, I would first suggest to keep calm and create a strategic plan by thoroughly analyzing the perceptions of the stakeholders concerning the crisis. For instance, let’s reflect on the technique of framing. If we consider the study of van der Meer and colleagues in 2014, we comprehend that crisis situations are viewed from different perspectives. Therefore, the frames of a corporate or a political crisis are likely to differentiate among organizational PR professionals, news media and the public. As it is also mentioned in the study of Yang and Bentley in 2017, organizations do not respond to one stakeholder group at a time. As a result, apology decisions need to consider competing and even conflicting stakeholder interests. For this reason, before taking action to respond, I would recommend that PR professionals should study and analyze the perceived frame of every stakeholder separately and act accordingly. In fact, there are cases where an apology is only necessary when stakeholder groups believe, or are likely to believe, that an organization has done wrong, thus other defensive techniques should be considered.

 

Melania Trump giving her speech,      source: cnn.com

 

About the author: 
My name is Stavros Giannoutsos and I am an Entertainment Communication master student at the University of Amsterdam. I am passionate about entertainment television and innovative TV projects and concepts. Please don’t hesitate to follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn and communicate with me!

Should you ‘furget’ online negativity?

When opening your first physical store in a new country, you want to celebrate this with your committed and loyal customers. However, this did not go so smoothly for Canada Goose’s store opening in SoHo, New York. Canada Goose produces clothing with the use of goose feathers and coyote fur. And when you produce such type of products, you know some people will come for you.

What happened?

In a recent blogpost from Stavros Giannoutsos, the PR practices by Canada Goose concerning the opening of their first physical store in the United States were brought to light. And rightfully so, Stavros concluded that their PR practices were far from successful. Not only did they not prepare for an online firestorm, they ignored it as if it never even occurred.

Did Canada Goose do anything though?

The only official statement from Canada Goose was the following:

“We are deeply committed to the preservation of our global environment and the humane treatment of animals, we never use down from live-plucked or force-fed birds, and only purchase down that comes as a by-product from the poultry industry”

According to the book ‘On Writing Well’, by William Zinsser, this is a good, summarily reaction in the form of a press release. However, according to a study by Jürgen Pfeffer and colleagues in 2014, when your firm is taking a hit on Social Media, sending out an official respond through traditional media is not the way to solve it. First, because you are ignoring those who show their concern. Second, because you might reach an audience with the official statement who were not aware of the incident in the first place. Now to give Canada Goose some slack, a study by Judith Huibers and Joost Verhoeven in 2014 states that not responding to online negativity is a good second best strategy to resolve the problem. But ask yourself, what would you do?

WHY would you do this?!

So what about Canada Goose’s Social Media dialogue with customers and concerned individuals? As a PR/communication expert it breaks my heart to see their amateurish Social Media strategy. Canada Goose’s PR practitioners chose to ignore all online negativity. However, as stated earlier, based on scientific literature this might be a good strategy. However, this does not mean you should ignore the negative posts and then start interacting with those who place positive posts.

According to a study by Chiara Valentini in 2014, communications used for promotions and marketing purposes diminish the credibility of the brand. The fact that Canada Goose interacts only on positive posts not only decreases their credibility, it also undermines all those who are concerned about their business.

How to avoid an online blunder in the future

Instead of ignoring negative posts, Canada Goose should dialogue with them. According to a study by Guda van Noort and Lotte Willemsen in 2012, a brand or organisation should always interact with those who leave negative posts, no matter if a public or brand generated platform is being used.  Also, Canada Goose should use a so called ‘human voice’ in their dialogue to increase the chance of convincing the critics about Canada Gooses goodwill. What they for instance could do is to ensure everyone that they do everything within their power to ensure that the animals they use for their products are treated humane.

About the author

Stefan Hendriks is a Master student Persuasive Communication at the University of Amsterdam. His passion for research has made him the first Bachelor student in Communication Science with a scientific publication in a peer reviewed journal. Would you like to contact Stefan? Feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn.

Why plagiarism isn’t the main problem but being in the spotlights is

In this blogpost I respond on the blog #freemelania from a crisis written by Vilma Normela which you can find here. In this blog she describes how Melania Trump and Trump’s campaign team should have handled the critique after she was accused of plagiarism. I will go more in depth of the topic plagiarism in public speeches because apparently this is not the first example of plagiarism in public speeches but the media enjoyed it a lot…

Source: Youtube

The printing press is the problem…

Melania wasn’t the first person who plagiarized. From vice president Joe Biden to Barack Obama himself and even Martin Luther King Jr.  They were all involved in similar incidents like Mrs. Trump but never got so much attention in comparison with Mrs. Trump. This article states that plagiarism is a very modern concept which arose with the invention of the printing press which made ‘original authorship’ possible. However, in the early days of the printing press there were no professional writing staffs of journalists so newspaper printers relied on an exchange system to fill their pages. Printers often copied complete paragraphs directly from other newspapers without attribution. In that time it was no problem to exactly copy things of others.

With the Copyright act of 1790 ‘originality’ became an American value which gave Authors the right to put a stamp on their own ‘original’ work. From that moment on, plagiarism became more and more a vice. Especially in America, originality is an important value because the society is founded on ideals that the individual is chosen over the community and that uniqueness and creativity are chosen over tradition. But this still doesn’t answer the question why the news media pick up the “copied speech” of Melania so soon.

Melania, you are in the spotlights…

As I said before, more public speakers have used plagiarism. Only thing that you have to keep in mind is that those public speakers often have employed a speech writer so the public speakers are not the ones to blame in the first place. However, I think that the speech writers should have thought this through more deeply. The thing why the media picked this particular case up is because Melania, as the wife of Trump, was already in the spotlights because of the upcoming elections in America. In this article it is stated how press releases are being picked up by the media and I think I can put this into a wider perspective. The speech contained several news factors such as negative consequences and Melania was part of an elite organization, namely Trump’s election campaign team. Another article states that Trump’s issues and leadership get a dose of news attention because his policy and leadership pronouncements are made for good stories. As Melania is Trump’s wife she is therefore a perfect person to keep an eye on. It is thus not surprising that the plagiarism was discovered so quickly and got so much media attention.

Nevertheless, I am not trying to condone Melania’s actions but I wanted to show you how plagiarism became a thing in the first place. Plagiarism is a sin in society and I agree with Vilma Normela that Trump’s campaign team should have apologized for using the same words and thoughts as Michelle Obama’s speech.

About the author:

Jeanne is a Corporate Communication student, living in Utrecht and is 22 years old. Currently working as social media manager / online marketeer and is enthousiastic about more or less every external communication topic that exists.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

With the advent of social media, we are all able to publicly show our opinions about brands and organizations. People are using this opportunity nowadays more and more to engage in negative word-of-mouth. Delivery complaints, changed prescriptions or a roll with broken biscuits: almost everything is a reason to start complaining at an organization’s social media platforms. In these cases, social media are not always an organization’s best friend. However, dealing in the right way with negative interactions on social media will definitely make an organization stronger! In this blog, I will tell you how to deal with this common issue as a PR professional. I will do this by elaborating on an interesting blog about dealing with negative user posts written by a current Persuasive Communication student.

Source: Twitter – @Sreese25

How to react on negative word-of-mouth?

Research shows when companies respond with an appropriate recovery strategy to consumer dissatisfaction and complaints, dissatisfied consumers can turn into satisfied ones. This means that a right response is of crucial importance. However, it is easy to state that a company should react on negative consumer posts, but how should they do this? Before I start from scratch with giving you some important practical implications, I want to refer to the blog mentioned in the introduction. The author describes how brands should deal with negative user posts on their social brand communities. The two tips he gives are: do not delete negative posts and show customers that their opinions matter. Relevant tips with which I definitely agree. However, one important aspect is missing I think. Just acknowledging a person’s dissatisfaction or saying sorry is not enough to change the negative thoughts into positive ones in my eyes.

Explain

A study about response strategies towards negative online word-of-mouth shows that an apology in combination with an explanation is the most effective response. The researchers argue that an apology is necessary to maintain favorable impressions and that explanations help individuals understand the reason or cause of what happened. This means that you have to say what the reason is for the negative consumer experience and who is responsible. An apology is essential when people post negative messages on a company’s social media platforms. However, without an explanation the response will not have the intended results. Therefore, an explanation is an essential part of your response. To give you some practical examples, check out the responses of PostNL and Lotto Webcare in which an explanation as well as an apology is given.

Source: Lonneke van de Ven

Now it’s your turn

According to a Danish scholar, social media appears to be very effective in helping organizations in developing dialogs and relationships with publics, which might result in higher levels of public engagement. Therefore, as a PR professional you should always seize this opportunity. So, the take home message of this blog: always react on negative consumer posts, apologise and explain, because that’s the way how something bad can turn into something good for your organization. Need some inspiration? Check this list with some great responses at negative consumer posts. And remember: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

Did you experience any difficulties concerning responding to negative word-of-mouth? Please react on this blog and I would love to help you!

Published by: Lonneke van de Ven
22-year-old Master student Corporate Communication – University of Amsterdam
Passion for helping companies with protecting or improving their reputation
Expected graduation: July 2017
Follow me on LinkedIn and stay up-to-date about my recent PR experiences!

 

Trying to understand mistakes: why create your own crisis?

As PR professional, we know that one of our main tasks in our job is to maintain relationships with our stakeholders and to make sure that these relationships are positive and stable. In this light, it is interesting to see that some colleagues make decisions to reach the same goal that make you scratch your head. Last week, I read a blog by Marlou Peer in which she described how amusement park Walibi dealt with a situation that concerned a broken IPhone, an unhappy visitor and a, lets say, remarkable way of dealing with the situation.

Usually, if there are any perceived problems or disagreements between an organization and its key stakeholders, the organization will seek for a remedy. Preferably, this happens as soon as possible, to reduce any harm. Obviously, from this and a more general PR perspective, it does not seem to be the best idea to ignore an unhappy visitor as it is negative publicity, even though it is on a small scale.

In her blog, Marlou makes some powerful statements. She refers to the decisions of Walibi as a mistake on which I agree and would like to add upon. She also addresses the question who sets the media agenda in this case. More interesting, in my opinion, is however how Walibi, in fact, became its own worst enemy by making mistake after mistake. Rather than analyzing their mistakes, I wonder why they handled the way they did.

Illustation of SCCT Model by Coombs

According to the well-known Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT), organizations should select a fitting response to a crisis based on the amount of responsibility that can be attributed to the organisation. In a situation where the organisation holds a high degree of responsibility, rebuild strategies, such as ‘apology’, are most fitting. In a situation where we speak of a victim crisis (the organisation holds a low degree of responsibility), defensive strategies, such as ‘denial’ are fitting. However, the denial strategy can be risky, but Walibi took the risk. Denial is only fitting if the company is 100% sure that they cannot be held responsible. Adding to that, if denial is used and the company later does bear some responsibility, the damage will be intense.

I think the closest we can get to an explanation for why Walibi acted the way they did, is that they actually believed that they had zero responsibility for the broken phone. If we zoom in on the start of the crisis, we see that Walibi started by denying what happened right away. This would be reasonable if it really was not their fault. However, this raises the question what weighs heavier; admitting a mistake you did not make, or threat of image by rumours on social media? There were indeed no hard evidences on who was responsible. Yet, keeping in mind that public order issues are the most common PR topics discussed on social media, it was inevitable that the girl shared some of the event with (close) ties. And be honest, who would they believe?

Unfortunately for Walibi, chances would have been that the IPhone owner would have posted positive information about Walibi if they would have showed empathy and solved the problem properly. This would mainly have been a win-win situation for both parties. Unfortunately, the denial, the refunds, and the time it took them to solve this issue; Walibi dug their own grave.

Maran Özdemir is a Master student Entertainment Communication at the University of Amsterdam. Realizing that things cannot always be so entertaining, she likes to dive in to the world of crisis communication every once in a while. Feel free to leave a comment!

 

Don’t be scared, but be prepared

As stated in the blog post of Maran Özdemir, Zara is taking heat for an advertisement that says: “Love Your Curves” over an image with two models who do not have curves, but are really slim. This went viral, but Zara didn’t respond to any of the posts and requests to comment. Although no response is also a response, it can go from bad to worse for Zara in the blink of an eye. As research stated, social media can enable more two-way communication between organizations and their publics, which is essential for building mutual relationships. However, conversations can’t take place if a company like Zara doesn’t respond to already created content. I will further elaborate on how Zara should have reacted and what they should do in the future to prevent reputational damage.

Online engagement

Not only Zara had troubles with e-NWOM (electronic Negative Word-of-Mouth), T-Mobile also had. A few years ago, T-Mobile suffered from serious reputational damage. Youp van ‘t Hek, a famous Dutch comedian posted a complaint and used his Twitter account to invite friends to report even more negative sentiments regarding T-Mobile’s customer service. This example shows how important it is for a company to provide a good response on social media. I indeed agree with the fact that Zara should have engaged in their online interactions and that not responding has been a risk, but the question remains: what is the right response in such a situation? What should be their tone of voice for the future?

Source: Twitter – @Emma_Hobbsie

Know what your customers want to hear


It’s important that you tell your customers something they want to hear. Zara’s first response should always be “yes we realize something is going on”, if they haven’t thought of a proper response yet. At least they should acknowledge the problem. Besides, research showed when a company apologizes to e-NWOM, it’s a sign of webcare and enough to rebuild trust. The underlying reason is that a public apology creates the perception that a company is sincere and respects the relationship with its customers. In my opinion, Zara shouldn’t have been scared to respond, they just had to prepare the response to rebuild trust and admit they were sketching a false image with the ad. It would be much better to apologize and say they empower women of all body types.

Conversational human voice


Furthermore, it’s also essential to use a conversational human voice when responding to posts on social media. Such a response reflects attributes such as being open to dialog, treat others as human beings and show empathy. A study shows that a company is evaluated more positively when a conversational human voice is used. I think it’s important for Zara when crafting their statements, that they start by expressing compassion and concern. State that it wasn’t your intention to create this image to value judgments depending on what is curvy and this will set the tone for how your company is perceived.

Learn from your mistakes


What should Zara do the next time when customers show their frustrations on social media? My advice is to monitor, respond quickly, apologize and use a conversational human voice, this will show some signs of sincerity and respect to your customers. Remember they are your first priority!

 

Esmee Roetman is a Master student Corporate Communication at the University of Amsterdam. Currently she is writing her master thesis on webcare and works at an educational publisher (EDG Media). You can follow her on LinkedIn.

Goed is niet goed genoeg: hoe Samsung in de toekomst elke crisis aan gaat kunnen

De wereld is ruwweg verdeeld in Apple-fanaten en Samsung-aanhangers. Helaas zijn beide organisaties door de jaren heen niet ongeschonden gebleven. Apple had buigende iPhones en Samsung de exploderende Galaxy Note 7. Collega blogger Helen van der Weij schreef een kritisch artikel over de Samsung-crisis en hoe Samsung dit volgens haar goed aanpakte. Dit stuk reflecteert hierop en geeft inzichten waar Samsung in de toekomst rekening mee kan houden.

Negativiteit verkoopt

Van der Weij begint haar stuk met het aankaarten van de relatie tussen PR professionals en journalisten en dat tot drie kwart van het werk wat journalisten publiceren beïnvloedt wordt door PR professionals. Ondanks dat journalisten hoogstwaarschijnlijk gebruik maken van PR professionals, is het ook belangrijk om een ander geluid te laten horen. Journalisten houden namelijk van crisissen. Uit onderzoek blijkt dat journalisten meer negatieve berichten plaatsen over organisaties ten opzichte van positieve berichten. Een crisis is hier de uitgelezen kans voor. Samsung is er uiteindelijk goed vanaf gekomen, maar het is onoverkomelijk dat journalisten negatieve content plaatsen over de organisatie en dat dit de organisatie in een kwaad daglicht zet.

‘Power to the people!’

Misschien is het tijd om journalisten te laten voor wat ze zijn. In het huidige tijdperk is de consument aan de macht. De crisis van Samsung begon niet in de organisatie of in de media, maar bij de consument die massaal ongenoegen uitten. Dit soort uitbraken zijn online firestorms: in korte tijd wordt een stortvloed aan negatief sentiment geplaatst op sociale platformen. Dit zorgt voor negatieve word-of-mouth en dat is het laatste wat je wil. Dus het is voor grote organisaties zoals Samsung helemaal niet het belangrijkst om zich te richten op de traditionele media, maar juist op de plekken waar hun gebruikers zitten: Twitter, Facebook en andere platformen. Daar komt bij dat onderzoek aantoont dat consumenten tegenwoordig een grote vinger in de pap hebben als het gaat om de media-agenda. Hiermee wordt bedoeld dat de traditionele media de consument nauwlettend in de gaten houdt en daaruit inspiratie haalt. Het monitoren van sociale media is dus dé manier om te weten wat er speelt en je als organisatie voor te bereiden op wat er komen gaat.

 

Prioriteiten stellen

Ook haalt Van der Weij de gebruikte crisisresponsstrategieën aan. Samsung heeft gekozen voor de accidental cluster; het is een ongeluk, waarbij Samsung zijn excuses maakt aan de gedupeerden. Wat Samsung in de toekomst kan helpen om meer inzicht te krijgen in wat er gaande is, is prioriteiten stellen. Samsung heeft de goede weg gekozen, maar het is van cruciaal belang dat niet alleen de prioriteiten van de organisatie op een rijtje staan, maar dat ook die van de consument serieus genomen worden. Onderzoek toont aan dat mensen als eerst zin geven aan een situatie vanuit hun eigen leefwereld en dat ze zo een crisis vormgeven. Ook dit punt is belangrijk voor de volgende crisis waar Samsung mee te maken gaat krijgen. Want de vraag is niet of, maar wanneer de volgende crisis toeslaat.

Door Yentl Vork, studente aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam. Is op haar 5e geïnspireerd geraakt door de musical Annie en is sindsdien niet meer van het toneel weg te krijgen. Na de vooropleiding voor de Amsterdamse Theaterschool is de keuze gevallen op Communicatiewetenschap, waar gelukkig een gevoel voor drama ook goed te gebruiken is.