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In a weaponized social media age, what do consumers expect from brands during crisis?

by | Nov 14, 2019 | Public Relations

Is your brand as ready to respond in a crisis as your execs might think? With more than half of consumers (54 percent) reporting they use social media more than six times a day, information—whether real or fake—can spread like wildfire. As crisis PR pros know, this environment has created a breeding ground for “bad actors” to spread misinformation and disinformation about brands, often causing irreversible damage.

And even worse, new research from social media safety firm Crisp shows brands are largely unprepared for the fallout these unprecedented threats pose to their brand value. The firm’s new report, 2019 Crisis Impact Report: How Consumers React to a Brand Crisis, reveals imperative consumer expectations during a brand crisis against the backdrop of an increasingly weaponized social media landscape.

In a weaponized social media age, what do consumers expect from brands during crisis?

To further understand the effect of a crisis on brand value and the importance of a strategic response to maintain customer loyalty, Crisp surveyed 2,000 consumers from the U.S. and U.K., about how they expect brands to respond in the wake of a crisis. The report reinforces how important it is for brands to be the first to know and the first to act. And, when they do, it is critical for brands to have the right actionable intelligence given the increasing amount of misinformation and disinformation on the wider web.

In a weaponized social media age, what do consumers expect from brands during crisis?

“Our survey data clearly demonstrates what consumers expect from brands during a crisis. However, the weaponization of communications on social media through things like deepfakes and troll farms makes it difficult for brands to act on those expectations,” said Emma Monks, VP of Crisis Intelligence at Crisp, in a news release. “With this current landscape of misinformation and disinformation, it’s challenging for brands to even know what’s real or what’s fake, leaving them in a difficult position when it comes to executing an appropriate response that consumers want to hear.”

In a weaponized social media age, what do consumers expect from brands during crisis?

Key findings from the report include:

Rapid response is invaluable in a crisis situation

More than half (53 percent) of consumers expect a brand’s response within an hour of a crisis and one in three (34 percent) expect a response within 30 minutes.

Leadership must connect accurately and authentically to consumers during a crisis

Fifty-nine percent of consumers want brand responses to a crisis to come from the CEO.

An intelligent response is the difference between consumer loyalty and losing revenue

Ninety percent of consumers say they are likely to shop with a brand that responds well to a crisis, while 66 percent are unlikely to continue shopping with a brand that responds poorly to a crisis. That means two-thirds of brand revenue is on the line.

In a weaponized social media age, what do consumers expect from brands during crisis?

“When responding to a crisis, brands need to be the first to know, so that they can be the first to act,” said Adam Hildreth, CEO of Crisp, in the release. “However, they also need an effective combination of artificial and human intelligence to make sure they’re getting the right context to inform the next best action to take. By doing this, brands not only can exceed the consumer expectations outlined in our report, they can also drive stronger brand loyalty.”

Download the full report here.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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