Media Intelligence Tools Help Business Stay One Step Ahead of a Crisis {FREE EBOOK}

Direct access to PDF :  Ebook Media Intelligence – Crisis

Table Of Contents


What Exactly Is A PR Crisis?……………………………………………………………………………………….

What Is Media Intelligence?………………………………………………………………………………………….

Chapter 1 – Your Company’s Reputation During The Social Media Age

  • Why Are Companies So Vulnerable To Examination
  • Should Your Company Operate As Normal Or Go Into Crisis Mode?
  • What Is Brandjacking?

Chapter 2 – 10 Important Steps To Prepare Your Company For A Catastrophe

  • Step 1 – Include An Emergency Plan To Business Goals
  • Step 2 – Find The Early Warning Signs
  • Step 3 – Develop A Crisis Administrative Workflow
  • Step 4 – Set Up A Notification System
  • Step 5 – Write What You Can Before A Crisis
  • Step 6 – Come Up With Final Messages and Use Knowledge Gained To Develop Corporate Explanations
  • Step 7 – Redefine Your Goals
  • Step 8 – Redo Your Contingency Plan
  • Step 9 – Identify Your Heroes
  • Step 10 – Stay In Touch With The Primary Influencers

Chapter 3 – Five Ways To Handle Your Company’s Crisis……………………………………

  • Don’t Lose Sight Of The Company Goals
  • Who Is Your Audience?
  • Ensure Your Message Is Being Heard
  • Gauge What Your Impact Is As Things Move Along
  • Realize When You Should Walk Away

Chapter 4 – When Should You Speak With Legal Counsel……………………………………

  • When You Should Talk To Legal

What Should You Remember………………………………………………………………….


One of the hardest things a business owner has to contend with is making sure his/her company is seen in positive reputation. After all, when things are bad, people will talk.  Did you know that how you respond to criticism and negative talk can follow you and your company for years? How is that?

This is the digital age!

Digital communications is sent in mere minutes, which is why you should establish a plan to know when and how to handle a crisis.

What Exactly Is Considered A PR Crisis?

An actual PR crisis is the result of a negative story regarding your brand that has increased its momentum and hit a critical stage and threatens to ruin your company’s reputation.

Here are two prime examples of a PR crisis:

Toyota 2010

In 2010, Toyota recalled eight MILLION of vehicles because of a safety issue involving its accelerators. The affected vehicles could have sped up on their own and brakes would not respond when pressed.   The PR problem was the result of the company saying it didn’t have a clue about the problem.

And, company executives maintained that assertion throughout the crisis. This led to a huge hit in the number one automaker’s reputation – seemingly overnight – and it dropped its rank. However, thanks to its development of a PR crisis plan, it managed to regain the top spot.

Samsung 2016

Just recently, Samsung released its Galaxy Note 7 but has had to recall them popular devices due to the potential of batteries exploding and catching fire when charging.

Now, it’s too soon to say how this will affect the company’s reputation as being a top smartphone manufacturer. What is known is that it’s a PR nightmare for Samsung, and how they respond will dictate whether or not anyone can trust them to produce a quality product in the future.

If you get a Google alert that informs you of a problem, you must keep a watchful eye on it. While one crisis is going to make or break you, it can hurt you significantly if it increases in volume.
Media intelligence is a must during a crisis communications.  Any alerts you set up need to let you know right away when a crisis is becoming apparent. When the story is unfolding, the tools you have for your social media and PR will assist you to gauge the reaction people have. When the crisis is over, the information you attained is gathered so that you can take steps to ensure they never occur again.

What Is Media Intelligence?

Before things get too complicated into this subject, you should understand what media intelligence is and how it will help during a crisis.

Media intelligence will use data science to review editorial and public social media content, offering solutions to generate a plethora of Internet conversations. The hope is to use the insights that let companies gauge and achieve content performance, comprehend trends and drive business and communication strategy.

Media intelligence is important to any company, and when it comes to a crisis, it’s even more important.

Chapter 1

Your Company’s Reputation During The Social Media Age

Your job as a PR professional is to address your company’s reputation even if you’ve lost control over the message. When you’re a social media expert, you know how chaotic things can be. The important part of your job – whether you’re a PR professional or social media expert – is to get through the noise and find out what people are saying.

Keep in mind that the conversations are going to happen regardless of your interference or not.

Therefore, when a crisis begins, the audience is getting bigger due to the Internet, and you must respond with speed and empathy. You must address your accountability to the whole issue. You must address them now, or irreparable damage could be done.

Many people share a lot about themselves on social media, which is why people don’t tolerate walls or dismissive comments.

Why Are Companies So Vulnerable To Examination 

Why is it that companies are so vulnerable these days? The answer is fairly simple. The Internet has changed the way people get their news. It’s been integrated into all aspects of business – marketing and PR, employee recruiting, workplace culture promotion, customer service, etc.

Today, there’s a two-way communication and, any kind of resistance can lead to a crisis.

For instance: journalists tend to report on social media wildfires, and businesses can use them to end them.

During the middle of the Baltimore riot on April 28, 2015, Whole Feeds tweeted a picture of five National Guard officers who served them lunch.

There was an instant reaction to that photo. Whole Foods was condemned for feeding them instead of helping the local community. Whole Foods’ response was that they were proud to support the National Guard. However, after the press got involved, the company removed its original tweet and issued a statement to ABC news that said it didn’t adequately reflect their full community involvement.

Should Your Company Operate As Normal Or Go Into Crisis Mode?

Yes, companies are vulnerable, but just because a comment is made on Twitter or on a blog doesn’t mean it’s a crisis. The tools used on a daily basis will let you know when you should panic.

There are four things you’re privy to when you use a good media intelligence tool:

Influential Participation  

When it comes to business like normal and crisis mode tends to involve who’s doing the talking. Media intelligence tools will monitor the key influencers, both in the press and on social media, to find what stories are gaining attention.

Popular Keywords 

When it comes to keywords, they can give you the answer to the questions you seek. Is a minute but vocal minority making a loud noise or is traditional media picking the story?


When you determine what the negative sentiment is, you need to consider your stakeholders. Who’s going to be more influenced by the negative story? Just how influenced will they be? Are there any paths for them to grow? With a media intelligence tool, you’ll learn what the sentiment analysis is as it’s happening.

Length Of Time 

Many people see an emergency as an explosion, which is what leads to negative thoughts and feelings. However, a crisis can be slow to come on, which could damage your brand as time goes on. It’s important to keep an eye on how long the negative sentiment lasts and test the impacts of how you’re responding.

Bear in mind that traditional media and social media can work in tandem, which means you need to track more stories and cultivate more relationships. This is why you need an exhaustive media intelligence tool for your company’s brand and image.

What Is Brandjacking?

Most people know that the Internet makes it for a person to assume another person’s identity.  When this happens to a company, it’s known as a trademark violation. It also could lead to a branded hashtag that could spur engagement and lead to negative stories about your brand.

For example, McDonald’s had been hijacked, and when it was, it altered its policy on hashtags. When people visit their Twitter page, McDonald’s doesn’t brand its hashtags.  When they hashtag something, they use keywords or phrases. The decision to do this was made so if a hashtag does get hijacked and goes viral, the link to the brand isn’t immediate, and crisis can be avoided.

The overall lesson is to warily watch the keywords and phrases to ensure they’re not being used against your company. Your company should do everything it can to protect its Twitter trademarks with some simple rules and guidelines.

Chapter 2

10 Important Steps To Prepare Your Company For A Catastrophe

In order to avert a crisis, your company needs to prepare for it. You need to get yourself out of the mindset that your social media manager can address all the problems in a one or multiple 140 character tweet. You must have a plan in place to help them address the crisis.  There are 10 important steps to prepare your business’ crisis plan:

Step 1 – Include An Emergency Plan To Business Goals 

You may not be able to come up with a plan for every single crisis you face in your daily life. Be sure your pace yourself, coming up with one or two crisis plans each quarter. You want to ensure this goal is a part of the performance review.

Step 2 – Find The Early Warning Signs 

When it comes to a powerful media intelligence tool, you don’t want one that just observes the brand’s mentions. You want a media intelligence tool that allows you to set up searches on various topics and maintain them in the channels.

You can begin by creating a list of various messages that have already been released and met with resistance. When the resistance is met once more and increases in power, it starts taking on lives of their own. Be sure you talk with sales reps, legal counsel and customer support to address issues. Once the list of emergency triggers, be sure to develop social and news searches about them.

When it comes to current media intelligence tools, you can gauge the performance on the exposure the communications you have sent out get, what kind of reach do they have, the coverage quality, the sentiment and more. It’s important to have a contingency plan to measure the quarterly goals you lay out.

In order to get things going, you should keep a mindful watch of the following:

  • Executives – Analysts, journalists and customers will listen to what high-ranking executives (CEOs) do and say. And, that means you need to do as well. Watch their Facebook and Twitter pages, see what blogs or videos they post and how the things they release affect the world.
  • Competitors – Be sure you keep an eye on your competitor brand like you would your own brand. If they have a crisis, it could also be yours. If you have a competitor coming for you, you want to know about it ahead of time. You want to respond before they have a chance to strengthen their message.
  • Industry News – It’s not uncommon for a problem to be the result of an association. If you keep an eye on the industry, you can reduce any impact or events that could cause an impact. By doing this, you can establish yourself as a leader in the industry.
  • Events – If you keep track of topics trending to an event, you can prevent your folks from being caught off guard.
  • Controversy – You can be mindful of the political and business keywords – learning what the trending topics are and explain what position you have before you equate with the outcome they have produced.
  • Complaints – Create a list of complaints and be watchful for them during your search results. Once influencers can increase their customer concerns, they can cement themselves as an expert, which can ruin your credibility.

Special Tip: Be sure you create thresholds on search results you’d like instant alerts about – sensitive topics, important influencers, etc. The results you get should be available in real-time.

Step 3 – Develop A Crisis Administrative Workflow 

Outline the necessary steps your company will need to take that will lead to a public statement. Allocate stakeholders where it’s necessary.

  • What’s The Situation Like – It’s important your company has some street footing to address your crisis with first-hand knowledge but make sure you’re using media intelligence to comprehend the entire scope of your communications landscape.
  • Hand Your Team Their Duties – You’ll need to come up with team members who will control the influencers, serve as a liaison, record details, take necessary action, and more.
  • Determine Who Your Key Advisors Are – A crisis often needs you to have technical data that comes from the industry leaders. Recognize what the relevant functions are to the crisis and find out how to reach out to them.
  • Come Up With A Statement – Your PR department should be accountable to coming up with a statement. If you don’t have a PR department, you should have an agency on hand to address this.
  • First Review – Always give your statement a review since you’re likely will need to defend it.
  • Legal Review – Make sure legal counsel reviews your any and all statements made during your crisis to ensure there is no major damage if legal action is taken against your business.
  • CEO Review – Your CEO needs to stay on top of things going on with the company.

Step 4 – Set Up A Notification System 

Divide your external and internal audiences into stakeholders and find the best channels that you can reach out to them. A later chapter will provide you with in-depth information about how to communicate with your audience while dealing with a crisis.

Special Tip: When there’s a worldwide crisis – earthquake, hurricane, etc. – companies tend to stop their business on social media to show some respect. It doesn’t matter what the size of your brand is, this respect should be applied to people in your area.

Step 5 – Write What You Can Before A Crisis 

Since social media channels move at a rapid pace, waiting can be devastating to the company. Make sure statements have been pre-approved that acknowledges a problem without going overboard – you want something that will put the audience at ease. The longer it takes for a response from your company, the more damage to your reputation. The following is a fill-in-the-blank statement that’s usable to an array of situations.

A_______________________ at_________________ that involve___________________ took place today at _____________________. We are currently investigating the matter and additional information will be provided when available. Thank you your support during this time. 

Special Tip: When the crisis continues to unfold, you’re likely to be sending a plethora of tweets. Make sure you have basic statements on hand and input them into your media intelligence platform, ensuring they point to the right contacts to get them. 

Step 6 – Come Up With Final Messages and Use Knowledge Gained To Develop Corporate Explanations

After you’ve gotten through the worst, you need to come up with the final say you’ll have about the matter. Make sure you let the audience know what you’ve learned from the crisis and how you’ll change your process, products and policies. You want people to know you’ve taken some type of action. You can modernize any important business-wide talking points.

Special Tip: In order to come up with a crisis’ final report, use the media intelligence dashboards. Add this information to other content and come up with an illustrated timeline that shows what caused the crisis, what your reaction was, and how it won’t happen once more.

Step 7 – Redefine Your Goals

There’s no doubt what a crisis can do to your goals. Make sure you find out what the sentiment, key themes, media impressions and reach were like before the crisis took place. Do you want to reach these same stats? It is possible to turn negative press into worthwhile press while increasing positive brand awareness.

Step 8 – Redo Your Contingency Plan 

Make sure you redo your contingency plan to ensure a smoother process if the crisis occurs again.

Step 9 – Identify Your Heroes 

Find out the best way you can recognizes your heroes in the crisis.

Step 10 – Stay In Touch With The Primary Influencers 

During the heart of the crisis, you found out who the top influencers were – these folks showed that they cared about you and your company. If they’re vocal about things about your company during the bad times, they can be just as supportive when times are good. With media intelligence, you can keep track of these folks, using messages that speak to them.

It would be in your best interest to wait a time before you reach out to them. However, a follow-up story several weeks down the line could do your company a world of good.

Chapter 3

Five Ways To Handle Your Company’s Crisis

Don’t Lose Sight Of The Company Goals

When things get hot and heavy, you need to move quickly. It’s imperative you know who your audience is and how you can reach out to them. There are three things you’ll be gauged on:

  • Speed – The reality is that people want results immediately. Be sure you recognize problems right away and deliver updates as you can.
  • Transparency – When it comes to secrets, it’s difficult to keep them under wraps. The best way to stay ahead in a crisis is to share what you know and let your audience know that you’re committed to a solution.
  • Relatability – Your audience is going to judge you by how easy you make things for them to understand. A media intelligence tool will let you know if the message is being reserved, how the audience feels about that message and if the message is being intensified.

A way to stay ahead of a crisis is to be the first person to recognize the issue. For example, a Southwest Airlines flight skidded on a LaGuardia Airport runway, landing nose first. The company, staying ahead of the crisis, made an announcement on its Facebook and Twitter page within minutes of the accident and promised to keep their audience updated.  It wasn’t long before the company started to get “Thank You’s” for their openness.

The best thing you can do is address the crisis right away when you know about it.

Who Is Your Audience?

It’s important you understand that every person has their own things they care about. Make sure to craft a message for each channel you use to reach out to a stakeholder group. What should you look for?

  • Customers – People are often directly affected by the crisis – you have to learn how impacted they have been by that crisis and the number of them unhappy.
  • Investors – The stock price of your company can also be negatively impacted. What is the reaction of the financial community? Use the information to address the investors.
  • Employees – They act as a brand ambassador for the company, which is why you need to offer them with corporate-sanctioned messages and watch their public communications about the crisis.
  • Influencers – These folks are journalists, bloggers, analysts and social celebrities. Bloggers and social celebrities can be your company’s advocates or a detractor. With media intelligence, you’ll know who is and isn’t on your side.

Ensure Your Message Is Being Heard 

Media intelligence can let you find ways that will spread your message far and wide. Paid, owned and earned media have their own role in ensuring your message is heard:

  • Paid Media – When it comes to social media, you can replace scheduled paid media and use them to deal with the crisis. Paid media will help you to address the crisis communications to people who are affected by it or extremely vocal.
  • Owned Media – Your emails and websites are wonderful ways to offer information. Be sure you react appropriately to the crisis on your website. Be sure you ask yourself if you should mention it on the company news page or do a home page banner.
  • Earned Media – Be sure you visit your social media channels to address your followers. If something affects them, you can be sure they’ll share that with their community. During this point, journalists tend to pay attention to them. If the message resonates with them, you will attain a more positive earned media.

Gauge What Your Impact Is As Things Move Along

Make sure you watch how the updates you make are being received. With a media intelligence tool, you can track the way people respond and how the sentiment is shifted.  When it used right, media intelligence needs to offer you granular views.

As the crisis hits the press and social media, the media intelligence tool can be used to compare by keyword and the sentiment being expressed on social media, press or key players. By doing this, you can target your communications and customize them by audience and channel.

Special Tip: When there is a crisis, you must communicate with the audience the same way every time. Make sure to centralize the information on your website even if the audience is expecting information via their Facebook or Twitter feeds. If you fail to communicate with them in the same way, they’re going to feel unhappy about how you addressed the matter.

Realize When You Should Walk Away 

You can’t stop a crisis when it’s on Facebook or Twitter. And, your audience will want you to be involved in the discussions. If you block them from the beginning from posting on feeds, you send them to your competitors. They’ll feel as if you don’t want to hear their complaints and concerns.

Of course, you have to know when the time is right to leave the conversation. If all the points have been expressed, there may be some who want to keep the flames burning.  If you respond to the., you just add fuel to the fire. Move away from the target and don’t give them any reaction to act upon.

Special Note: Before social media came around, companies were able to use the “official statement” and that was it. With social media, this isn’t the go-to method anymore. While it can still work in your favor, you should still keep an eye on the conversations to see if things hit a critical point.

Facebook offers crisis management guidelines. The social media platforms encourage you to communicate but offer instructions on how to delete posts and block folks. While this can be seen as drastic, they are often quite effective.

Chapter 4

When Should You Speak With Legal Counsel

A crisis can leave your company subject to attack, and possibly to legal issues. The best thing you can do is speak with your legal team – getting to know them. You want to establish a bond with your legal team like it’s business as normal. Don’t begin things off with them when things have gone bad.

Marketers often think that their legal team doesn’t want them to say a single thing. However, this could lead to a lawsuit. An experienced attorney understands that the job of a marketer will promote their business and, in times of crisis, protect its reputation.

It’s important you work alongside your counsel during a time of crisis so that your audience hears what you have to say and sees that you’re taking responsibility for what has happened. By talking to your lawyer, and carrying out your PR and marketing activities, you can avoid the possibility of a lawsuit.

Special Note: When you talk with your legal team, it can lead to an array of interesting conversations about what marketers deal with. For instance, the difference between an opinion or defamation.

It’s imperative that marketers learn how their legal team is because if they find themselves in a negative spot, it’s their legal team that will help them get out of it.

When You Should You Speak To Legal 

There are times when it’s necessary for you to speak with an attorney. It doesn’t matter if there is a crisis or you just want to avoid one altogether. There are five instances in which you need to speak with your legal team:

  • Your business is accused of illegal actions
  • You think your business will be accused of illegal actions. Any statement made about it could be permissible in the lawsuit.
  • Your communications are targeted right at competitors and are putting them in a negative light.
  • You’ve made claims about your company’s services and/or a product’s functionality.
  • You’ve made unproven “factual” claims about a company product.

Special Tip:  You may be tempted to use certain words and phrases to stop any unwarranted scrutiny and potential legal action. What kinds of words should you avoid?

  • Proven
  • 100 percent
  • Guaranteed
  • Always
  • Promise
  • Never fails

Marketers can find all kinds of creative ways to tour their products without making unproven claims. And, by doing this, they avoid any possible crisis.

What You Should Remember

Upon reading this e-book, you ought to have a better understanding of the way modern media intelligence works – how it can shape the communication programs during a crisis and how it can solve your problems. When it comes to addressing people in a time of crisis, how you react is just as important as what you say.

The world is overloaded with a plethora of information, and when there is a crisis, the world will know about it rather quickly. Just think back to Toyota and now Samsung. Toyota had to win people over big time. When they were caught keeping this under wraps before it hit the media, they lost a lot of business and dropped in rank. However, they were able to rank high once again after dealing with the PR nightmare and media.

Sure, it’s too soon to tell how Samsung will handle the problem of their Galaxy Note 7’s catching fire, but if they have a media intelligence tool on hand, they’re bound to come out on top.

And, as for you and your business, a media intelligence tool will help you to develop a plan that will assist you to know how to fight against negative feedback and talks. Without it, your business could go up in flames rather quickly. Take action against it without a powerful media intelligence tool.

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