Crisis Analytics: Using Real-Time Data to Drive Real-Time Response

Ah, the ubiquitous crisis. In today’s digital, all-access world, a damaging video, negative tweet, verbal misstep or computer network breech can leave a company reeling, causing stock prices to plummet, a mass exodus of customers and employees, major regulatory fines…the list goes on. While unfortunate, every one of us in the business world will be hit with a crisis at some point. It’s inevitable.

Whether the crisis is massive or minuscule, it’s important to be as prepared as possible, hunker down, respond quickly, transparently and effectively, and go about rebuilding your reputation… perhaps even for the better. A critical component  of a crisis response plan  is having data at your fingertips that can help you develop a fact-based plan of action. By tracking various forms of conversation occurring online and on social media platforms, you can glean important insights into customer and company sentiment, which will undoubtedly help inform your crisis plan. 

Today, I am excited to sit down with Steven Cutbirth, an analytics and engagement Senior Account Manager at W2O  to learn about the value of data analytics and social listening in helping mitigate and/or manage crises.

Steven, you have been using data analytics and social listening as a platform in mitigating several crises for our healthcare clients. Can you explain the role that analytics specifically plays in managing a crisis situation?

Analytics represent the “secret sauce” in effectively managing a crisis, helping guide a company’s response strategy with precision. In my experience, clients who invest upfront in an analytical approach to measurement and monitoring are the ones who truly understand their audience during a crisis. My team recently helped counsel a client through an unforeseen crisis situation that escalated quickly, generating viral social sharing and national media coverage within hours. We acted quickly to prepare a real-time solution by conducting social and media analyses to determine how the coverage was trending, which themes were becoming most apparent, and how the situation was being positioned. These analytics-driven insights proved that the crisis was sidestepping our client and ultimately trending downward. Having this data in hand proved invaluable in guiding the client to engage in a measured response. We simply couldn’t have done this without data analytics.

How does data gleaned from online analytics help inform a proactive crisis plan before one hits?

Potential crises can often be identified through predictive analytics, the process of utilizing previous patterns to predict potential future outcomes. Understanding potential outcomes can alert us to issues we don’t yet know about. The use of AI-based early-detection tools can automatically uncover unexpected shifts in previous patterns and immediately bring these to our attention as a potential cause for concern – in essence catching a crisis before it becomes one.

There are literally millions of negative social mentions made about brands each and every day. How does social listening and analytics help cut through the proverbial clutter and identify a crisis in the making?

I look at this as a three-part approach:

  1. You must be actively monitoring online conversations about your brand on a regular basis. That way you will know when there are significant upticks in conversation around a specific topic or unexpected marginal shifts that may hint at an upcoming crisis.
  2. Benchmarking is crucial. It’s more than just identifying negative mentions on your social channels. You must have a keen understanding of overall engagement metrics for each of your social media platforms. Regularly analyzing these engagement metrics on a recurring basis will make it far easier to spot when something is not quite right.
  3. Know and regularly engage with brand and industry online influencers, as they often serve as the bellwethers who will alert you to trends that may affect your brand. Develop an active monitoring program to ensure you are in-the-know about industry- or brand-specific topics they are actively discussing.

Want to learn more about W2O’s analytics-driven approach to crisis communications? We’d love to hear from you! Drop us a note.

Angela Gillespie
Angela Gillespie

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