-David Chaitt, director of customer success, NetBase Quid
-Michael Seymour, global director of market research, NetBase Quid
• Discovery + Monitoring
At NetBase Quid, understanding exactly what is going on in the marketplace “starts with “discovery,’ ” says Seymour. “Discovery allows businesses to find trends or something happening in the marketplace for the business to take action on which we then pair with monitoring. You cannot be prepared, or act during a crisis, without monitoring.”
The integral monitoring piece, as Chaitt goes on to explicate, revolves around both planning ahead and using the best tools at your disposal to get ahead of the curve.
“This means keeping tabs on your industry and being inclusive of both your brand and your competitors,” he advises. “Many of my clients have historically looked exclusively at themselves, but it's important to also look at your competitors.”
• Early indicators
“We always recommend customers look at early indicators of possible crises,” notes Chaitt, using minimum wage as an example. “This wouldn't only be inclusive of the phrase itself, but the hashtags, which may or may not even mention you or your industry.”
If you keep tabs on this, Chaitt and Seymour agree, you can remain one step ahead of the conversation and, also, your industry.
“There are three different kinds of specific scenarios in which you want to be notified immediately,” explains Chaitt. “The known detractors such as key politicians, influential publishers, domains, authors and keywords and any metric, which is about thresholds of volatility from what you expect.”
This, as he elaborates, is contingent on setting the right benchmarks in terms of expectations so that you are keeping tabs on what you expect versus what's actually happening.
The best AI capabilities go beyond passive listening and seek to predict what conversations should be, which may sit below or above the thresholds of desired metrics.
“It’s the balance of these three that makes clients most effective,” notes Chaitt.
Another integral piece of crisis management is education, “particularly at the executive and leadership level,” suggests Chaitt. “Education is critical both in terms of executives understanding the benchmarks and tools used to address what their brand and industry requires of them.”
As Seymour adds, “Executives oftentimes overreact and are liable to take action immediately, when that may not be necessary.”
“It's important in advance to think about possible risk or upcoming campaigns, partnerships, earnings or call reports,” advises Chaitt, noting that in many cases a client’s PR team owns this type of analysis. “They can then help guide any possible adjustments that need to be made, which will minimize headaches and save time and stress later on.”
It will also, as Seymour notes, “help you understand whether you should take action or just make sure you stay really aware.”
This, as Chaitt mentions, ties back to executive education.
“Getting executives comfortable with the fact that not everyone's going to be their biggest fan,” he says, “and educating them as to what those thresholds mean in terms of escalations and actions is a great foundation for your communication with leadership.”
As Seymour reiterates, “This is a key ‘before thing.’ You have to educate before anything occurs to ensure no one overreacts in a crisis situation.”