There is no doubt that blogging has a serious impact on organizations. It’s not only an important tool of communication, blogging has also made the public more powerful than ever before. But can/should blogging be used during crises?
Crises situations and blogs can go together in two ways: (1) blogs can be responsible for the creation of the crisis or (2) they can offer the solution.
1.The first victim of a crisis created by a blog was Kryptonite, producer of bicycle locks. A blogger posted a video that showed how the locks could be opened by a pen. Kryptonite had to launch a massive lock exchange program. In cases like this one, researchers say that it is necessary to use the same channel that has been used to create the crisis in order to tackle the problem en rebuild the company image.
In an interview, Donna Tocci, Public Relations Manager for Kryptonite was asked how she would handle the same crisis right now. Her answer: “Now, I’ve spent the time to research what is going on online and have created relationships with some of the more influential bloggers. I’ve treated this like I would do with any traditional media representative. I’m confident that, should something else come up like it did in September ’04, I would be able to converse with a few of these folks and, should they choose, they could write about what is going on with us. That may include that Donna has left the building… kidding… but, you see my point. There is no way for a company to answer all of the individual blog posts or forum posts during a crisis. No way. There isn’t enough time in a day. Having your own blog or even a website that is easy to change information on, like we do, is a way to get out some information, but just like the traditional media, everyone wants their own quote that is unique to their blog or news coverage. Just like you! That is also why companies need to do the research I mentioned above now, before a crisis. Know who the influential bloggers are in your space and start a conversation. Create a relationship or two or ten.”
2. Sweetser & Metzgar believe that corporate blogs are effective and even necessary in crisis management. Their research showed that anti-crisis measures and messages given through corporate blogs let the viewers perceive a low level of crisis for the company in crisis. These results suggest that launching a blog in response to a crisis may indeed be an effective crisis management tool.
There is no doubt that blogging has become an important part of a company’s current and future marketing and public relations mix. However, I share the opinion of expert Dave Taylor: “blogging is by no means the only element, and it cannot become the only element however you spin it. Always remember that ultimately the company has to meet its market, too, not vice versa.”