Do you know what to do in a crisis?

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Here are seven tips for handling a crisis from Ragan:

1. Get the facts.
To deal with a crisis, you must be fully briefed. If you suspect someone’s holding out on you, gently but firmly explain that whatever they don’t tell you now, reporters will probably find out later. If you’re to deal with the situation then there’s no time like the present to be brutally honest.

2. Sort your spokespeople.
This is Crisis Comms 101. The spokesperson should be senior, so stakeholders know you’re taking the situation seriously; they should be prepared to have their name associated with the crisis and the subsequent statements/interviews; and preferably (becomes “crucially” if there’s a broadcast element) they should be media trained to answer tough questions in front of a camera.

Tip: ABC—answer, bridge, control—is the way to deal with tricky questions. Just listen to politicians to understand how this works: They answer with one word and then bridge to their actual message before delivering it again and again.

3. Coordinate your team.
How many people are on your team? Do they all know who should get the calls when journalists start ringing? Has every person in the company been informed that all calls should be directed to one person/department? Are they aware that a journalist might not identify himself or herself as a journalist?

Make sure they are, because some reporters don’t care who gives them a quote. The people handling the calls should be well briefed and experienced.

4. Stay calm and composed.
Whoever’s handling the calls will probably get difficult, leading questions, which can easily lead to inadvertent, damaging quotes appearing in print if you’re not careful. Get a statement ready, get it approved, and offer it to anyone who contacts you. Do not get into a conversation. Going “off the record” is a myth. You will be quoted as a spokesperson.

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8 pointers for responding to negative coverage

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The way you handle a negative story can make all the difference. Here’s how to respond without fanning the flames of a negative situation:

Do respond. Don’t hide. In many cases, a lack of response will be seen as a validation of the criticisms or, at best, an information vacuum. The sooner the response, the easier it will be to control the situation. Yet a speedy reaction is often difficult. In a high-stakes situation where the facts are unclear, say so, but refute any untruths and pledge to provide supporting information as quickly as possible.

But don’t dignify baseless rumors. One exception to the above is the case of an unsubstantiated rumor, where you risk calling more attention to it by responding. The same is true of an Internet troll. In that case, let the community handle blatant misbehavior, foul language, or abusive comments.

Let your advocates defend you. In that vein, if you have trusted clients or customers willing to comment in your defense, by all means, let them. The essence of reputation is what others say about you in public, so third parties, even those who are not 100 percent objective, are your allies.

Don’t overreact. 
It’s natural to feel emotional or even use defensive language when attacked, particularly if things get personal. When accused of copying a competitor’s intellectual property, a client drafted a lengthy defense on his website that referred to “slander” and “lies.” We ultimately convinced him that the post might raise more questions than it answered, particularly for site visitors with no knowledge of the situation. If you can’t be objective (and it’s hard when it’s your business), seek objective advice.

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How to Keep Your Survey Respondents Happy on Mobile

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It’s a fact that people are relying increasingly on their mobile devices and smartphones for everything from shopping for the perfect gift to finding the perfect restaurant. Last fall, Apple announced that consumers now have 1 million apps available to choose from in their App Store. Optimizing for mobile has become a top priority for many businesses in order to keep up with this evolving trend.

As you design your next survey, keep in mind that many of your respondents may be taking it on the go while on their phone or tablet. Ever wonder what kinds of things can impact your survey’s completion rate? We’re here to share a few of those things we’ve observed as well as some quick tips to help optimize your survey for those folks who are away from their desktops.

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Define Business Benchmarks

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The beginning of a new year is an exciting time–it’s an opportunity to start fresh and set new goals. From increasing customer satisfaction to employee engagement, it’s a super smart idea to set some New Year’s benchmarks to measure how your business performs throughout the year.

What is benchmarking?

If you’re like many people at the beginning of the new year, your New Year’s resolution may look something like this: “I want to lose weight.” But how did you know you needed to lose weight? Maybe you felt like you weren’t in peak shape, but it probably hit home when you stepped on the scale:

“10 pounds more than last year?!”

Your old weight is a benchmark, and any measurement that deviates from that benchmark, good or bad, helps you measure your progress and set a goal.

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Consumers Still Trust Traditional Media Ads More Than Online Ads

chartoftheday_1473_Consumer_trust_in_advertising_nNewspaper ads are still the most trusted form of paid media in North America, according to a recent Nielsen survey.

More than half of respondents say they trust traditional advertising platforms such as newspaper, magazine, TV, radio and billboard. However, all new media platforms mentioned in the survey, including search, online video, social media, mobile display and online banners, received a less than 50% trust rating.

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