Companies spend fortunes on advertising and marketing to enhance their brands. A strong brand generally equates to greater profits. However, in a crisis, a brand is at its most vulnerable.
Previously one generally had the luxury of a little time to assemble and assess the facts before issuing a statement. The basic rules of media management stay the same, however, technology has changed and we now live in a world of instantaneous news.
Research In Motion (RIM), the Canadian multinational telecommunications company found this out, to their detriment, with the latest four-day BlackBerry service outage. RIM, already in a rocky year of layoffs, poor sales and falling market share, could face lawsuits resulting from the service disruption.
Since the start of the four day malfunction, RIM had only released three official statements. Out of the three, the company only mentioned the cause of the delay in the last message released on the second day of the outage. Asked why the company couldn’t avoid network traffic backlogs by re-routing traffic by bypassing the faulty network operating centre, RIM did not give a straight answer.
This is the third major BlackBerry outage since 2007 and has placed the company’s network under further scrutiny, and has caused harm to the brand’s image, at a time when they are facing stiff competition from the iPhone and Android devices.
The outage has many customers wondering whether it’s time to switch to another mobile device, and users’ comments mainly target the company’s failure to tell them about the problem they were facing, and the cause.
“Effective and rapid management of a crisis, with a tried and tested incident management plan, is the significant factor in protecting an organisation’s brand from financial and reputational damage. It’s pointless recovering a service but having your customer base desperate to leave you,” said Lynn Jackson, Senior Advisor, Advisory Services, ContinuitySA.
We live in a fast moving world, especially as regards communication. In the event of a disruptive incident that could affect an organisations image, speed and accuracy of communication are vital and companies must be ready to react quickly, honestly and openly if they are to protect their reputation, their brands and their profits.
An up-to-date and comprehensively tested incident management plan will ensure effective and rapid management of a crisis and is vital to ensure that the company’s image and brand name are protected and even possibly enhanced in a crisis.
The contents of an incident management plan, that includes how an organisation will manage communication with their stakeholders, is a set of components and resources to assist the organisation’s decision makers in handling crises.