Digital media can play a pivotal role in any crisis response, but its role is enhanced if a website is more than an electronic brochure and social media a megaphone for marketing messages.
A website with meaty content is a better vehicle for responding in a crisis because it offers context and a point of view. Your crisis response can follow in the tracks of your ongoing narrative and reflect the values you have espoused. It gives readers a compass, not just a platform.
Likewise, engaging social media affords your crisis response a familiar voice. This can avert stiff, legalistic-sounding apologies, which sound formulaic and inauthentic.
When Nike faced sharp criticism for its offshore manufacturing contracts, the Beaverton-based sports apparel company converted its online business presence into a forum to describe what it was doing to improve the lives of foreign workers. This was a more meaningful and tangible response than a program tucked away in a corporate social responsibility brochure. It certainly had more positive impact than ignoring the criticism.