Crisis Communications for Globecell Selection of Communications Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Crisis Communications for Globecell

Selection of Communications Channels

Effects on the Brand, Customers and Broader Business Environment

Online Strategy Definition

Recommendations and Future Direction

In any public relations crisis it is best to always err on the side of safety for customers first, seeking to re-establish credibility and win back the trust lost. Credibility is the currency that crises are paid for with (Duke, Masland, 2002). Trust has to be earned and kept to win back the confidence of customers, and that is the objective of this crisis communications plan for Globecell. As social networks are amplifying and at times exaggerating the severity of this issue, industry analysts, bloggers and industry influencers need to be contacted and debriefed on this crisis. Prior to that however, a thorough investigation of how key components from suppliers made it through quality assurance and supplier audits needs to be completed. It is the intention of this plan to deliver a complete timeline of how and why this error in sourcing components occurred, what steps Globecell is taking to make sure it never happens again, and defining a generous service recovery program for our customers. In addition to providing complete transparency with regard to the factors that contributed to 150,000 Globecell phones overheating, this crisis plan will communicate the steps taken in supplier quality management, product quality testing, and quality assurance to assure this never happens again. In addition, social media monitoring services will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the crisis strategy via sentiment analysis of social networks (Dowling, Weeks, 2011).


Selection of Communications Channels

The level of skepticism and mistrust globally continues to accelerate, driven in part by companies who refuse to take responsibility for their actions and CEOs who dodge accountability (Showkeir, Showkeir, 2009). This crisis plan needs to come out aggressively in the other direction, taking immediate and full responsibility for the 150,000 units being recalled. Starting first with the CEO hosting a live call-in press conference that is also simulcast online and televised, an apology needs to be made to all 150,000 customers, employees, stakeholders and innocent suppliers who will see a drop in orders in the short-term due to the crisis. A website for future updates will be provided and contact information for customer service will also be provided.

With this strategy in mind, the following are the key channels that need to be included in the crisis plan: simulcasting online via WebEx or another comparable platform and through network television; social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and live blogging, real-time RSS feeds; video blogging at the event by bloggers and key influencers; and ongoing interviews to any qualified member of the media (including bloggers) who want to interview the CEO afterward. For a comparison of online channels, please see Table 1 in the Appendix, Web 2.0 And Social Media Communications Channels. Communications across all channels in crisis communications must reverberate with authenticity, transparency and trust to achieve the aims of making service recovery possible and mitigating damage to company reputation (Ferrante, 2010).


Effects on the Brand, Customers and Broader Business Environment

Too often CEOs and senior management teams attempt to hide, lie or in some way obfuscate or cloud the truth about massive problems or crises in their company. The case of BP and the Gulf Oil spill, their CEO saying it was not his or his company's fault instigated a war with the media that lasts to this day (Hopkins, 2011). Microsoft's attrition of key talent to Google and other start-ups and their threats of suing both the companies recruiting their employees and in some cases the employees themselves is another example of how not to manage a crisis communications plans (Keeffe, Darling, 2008). Brands have been irreparably damaged by a lack of crisis plans, or ones defined yet poorly executed (Gorman, 2006). The best practices for managing a crisis is to first be clear about the circumstances that caused it, disclosing all available information and publically-available knowledge to show authenticity and transparency as an organization (Sapriel, 2003). The best practice of combining an apology as part of a service recovery strategy to customers is today being accelerated with recorded and live video feeds, and the opportunity to meet directly with the senior management team as well (Romero, 2011). What these two best practices do is set the foundation for shared ownership of the crisis with stakeholders by fully informing them of the current and future plans to alleviate factors that caused the crisis to begin with (Stephens, Malone, Bailey, 2005). A third best practice is to define the measures of performance that will be used for evaluating the success or failure of the crisis plan on long-term brand equity (Levick, 2007). Globecell needs to take these three best practices and implement them immediately.


Online Strategy Definition

The following is a definition of the crisis plan online strategy definition.


Live Streaming Press Conference and Apology

The most critical aspect of a crisis strategy is having a leader of Globecell, ideally the CEO, openly discuss the problems with the battery and component suppliers and apologize immediately to customers. Being direct and honest diffuses crises and makes progress much easier to accomplish (Showkeir, Showkeir, 2009).


Online Video, Both Live and Posted

Globecell needs to take the apology and press conference and immediately post it to YouTube and their own website once completed.


Social Media Monitoring of the Own The Crisis Strategy

Globecell needs to immediately monitor the level of credibility the CEO has in making the apology and see what further direction needs to be taken in an effort to win back customers' trust. The use of sentiment monitoring applications is critical for the development of feedback loops on social media strategies including crisis communications (Dowling, Weeks, 2011).


Service Recovery Strategy Available Immediately Online

Crisis communications must include a description of what caused the series of events to occur in the first place and a strategy of service recovery to turn around negative perceptions of the brand. For Globecell the service recovery strategy must include mention during the CEO's apology in addition to a website up and running before the webcast where customers can type in their phone serial number, get a shipping label and send back their phones at no charge for a refund. In addition, by tracking serial numbers Globecell must deliver each customer one year of free service as a means to thank them for their trouble. Discounts on top-selling phones of 50% must also be offered as part of the service recovery strategy.


Social Media Briefing Strategy In Person For Key Influencers

All facets of the apology and service recovery strategy will be immediately posted on Facebook, Twitter and all other channels mentioned earlier in the plan . What Globecell must also do is have the key influencers, bloggers, analysts and key industry thought leaders in to their facilities for a day-long visit with the CEO to see how the company is working through the crisis and see how supply chain quality management systems have been modified. This is a vital link in the overall crisis plan, as it puts accountability and authenticity at the center of all efforts, having the CEO spend face-time with these critical audiences from social media.

4.4. Sentiment Analysis and On-going Monitoring Using Analytics

Using Radian6 in addition to other sentiment analysis applications, Globecell will be able to quickly see if the crisis communications plan is working or not. Sentiment analysis can also be combined with Google Analytics and Web-based pattern analysis to see how and where the most positive and productive aspects of communication strategies are emanating from (Dowling, Weeks, 2011). A dashboard or scorecard needs to be produced and continually updated to measure the progress of the crisis plan. All factors related to Web 2.0 applications and technologies, as shown in Figure 1 and Table 1, need to be taken into account.


Recommendations and Future Direction

For Globecell, the focus needs to be on excelling at the service recovery strategy immediately in order to hold onto customers and attract new ones. Completely re-vamping their ECQM platforms and programs, and publishing the results of supplier audits is a very critical aspect of turning their strategies around. It is highly recommended that Globecell initiate an entirely new platform of quality management and work to create audit benchmarks that can quickly track overall supplier and lot performance. These can be published in aggregate form to show their concern over product quality, without divulging any competitive data. The issue is one of accountability and transparency overall. Third, it is highly recommended that Globecell offer those customers with replacement phones a year of free service and high discounts on next-generation phones. Service recovery strategies must be focused on creating exceptional value to mitigate brand equity loss and turn around customers' perception of the product or service that originally was part of the crisis (Chen, Myagmarsuren, 2011). All of these efforts need to be…

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