Friday, April 5, 2013

Issues and Crises: A Look at Crisis Communications

Let's talk about Crisis Communications. This past week, my social media class had the chance to listen to two great guest lecturers specializing in crisis communications. The first, Melissa Agnes, discussed the differences between issues and crises with negative situations. Melissa taught me that issues can range from negative tweets or comments directed toward a particular brand, but issues never truly threaten the reputation of the brand. True crises are much more serious than issues, often involve high emotions, and can affect major stakeholders.

The next guest speaker was Jonathan Bernstein, who gave us great advice about being successful in crisis communications. Jonathan told us in order to be a successful crisis communicator, you need to be a swift thinker, skilled writer, and able to speak in front of all kinds of different audiences for different situations.

An example of a large company forced to succeed in crisis communications is Walt Disney Company. In June 2009, Disney faced the crisis of a fatal monorail crash in Walt Disney World. Two monorails ran into each other, killing the pilot of one of them. This traumatic event required serious professionals in crisis communication. Disney's spokespeople stated the facts, continually released information, offered sincere sympathies for the family affected, and never withheld information. These are just a few best practices when it comes to dealing with crisis communications.

Stalking Vampires and Internships!

This past week, I had the opportunity to travel to Covington, Georgia with Marketing Media Management, who I just finished interning with as a Content Strategist. On this trip, we presented a social media campaign for the city of Covington’s tourism, while gaining new ideas for content from local business owners. While on this business trip, I met many business people, learned how to present a social media campaign to a client, and even had the chance to speak during our company presentation. Though I enjoyed the meetings and presentations and gained valuable experience from participating in them, I have to admit my favorite part of the trip was getting to know local business owner Jessica Lowery and going on her Mystic Falls Tour.
Covington, Georgia is known as Mystic Falls, Virginia to fans of the hit CW show, The Vampire Diaries, as it is the primary filming location for the television show.  Jessica Lowery, a Covington citizen and super fan of The Vampire Diaries, took her knowledge of her hometown and her passion for the show and turned them into Mystic Falls Tours. Jessica shows groups of “vampire stalkers” around main filming locations in Covington, while giving insight into which scenes were filmed at each location and providing great photo ops (See pics below!).
Kiley and me at The Lockwood Mansion! Beautiful!
Me being a diva in front of the Mystic Grill! :)
As a Vampire Diaries fanatic, I absolutely loved being a part of the tour. Jessica knew every scene that took place in every location we visited, and even gave us hints about upcoming episodes. From the Gilbert household, to the Mystic Grill, to the Lockwood Mansion (actually called Worthington Manor), Jessica showed us every filming location and gave us a detailed description of important scenes. She even has a wooden stake signed by the cast for tour members to “stake” each other and take pictures with. This stake includes Ian Somerhalder’s signature…fangirls UNITE! Click here to go to Jessica's Mystic Falls Tours website for more information! 
Kiley staking me with the stake signed by the cast!
Marketing Media Management has taught me how to successfully run a social media campaign for one of our clients, how to present in front of a room full of people, and simply how to manage and present myself as a business person. I’ve learned much from my internship, and made great friends along the way.  My advice to any young professional waiting for their first real job is to get out there and start an internship. Participate in as many internships as you can. You never know what connections and networking opportunities may become available to you during your experience, and you’ll receive invaluable working and hands on experience as well as have opportunities to do great things and go to great places.
Kiley and me with Ian Somerhalder's Star on the Walk of Stars!