Stop, Drop, and Roll: Why Crisis Management keeps brands out of the fire

One of the first lessons that a child learns is Stop, Drop, and Roll. Though the chances of an individual — a child nonetheless — catching on fire is very slim, they still need to be prepared in the event that it does happen. Social Media Management is the same way: though there is a small chance that you would “catch on fire” by being in a crisis, it is important to be prepared even in the slim chance that it does happen.

The importance of having a crisis management plan is of the same importance of learning Stop, Drop, and Roll. Having a plan in mind can make the difference between minor setback and life-altering consequences. Social Media is becoming the stage of any gripe, grievance or breaking news against a company; regardless of what department it falls under. Having a plan in place for these types of backlash allow your company and brand to deal with the issues directly, and personally.

When creating a crisis management plan for social media, it is important to follow the Develop, Create, and Practice plan. This is essentially your Stop, Drop, and Roll of crisis management.

Stop/Develop: After a risk assessment, you need to appropriately develop your crisis management plan. This includes identifying who will respond during a crisis, what tone they will take, and how they will respond. This is also when you identify the appropriate chain of command: from executive personnel, to management, to the creative team, to public relations, and a legal team.

Drop/Create: Once you develop and establish the groundwork for your crisis management plan, you have to create a holding statement to be used in various situations. This is where you can further establish your tone of response.

Roll/Practice: The one thing that actually gets the fire off is rolling, and in this case, practice is the one thing that prepares you for a crisis. It is important to take this step in practicing your crisis management plan because it allows you to better prepare for any scenario your company might face. It is not enough to learn about how to stop,drop,and roll; you have to practice to understand it.

We have seen companies and brands implement a brilliant crisis management plan. On the opposite of that, we have seen companies ignore the blatant fire their company is under on social media. The most recent case is Wayfair. When the company was accused of child trafficking in listing $13,000 cabinets with the names of young women, the company did not respond. The company president underwent interviews and made personal statements, but the company itself did not release an official statement or respond to any of the backlash on their social media accounts. Whether or not the allegations are true, and if Wayfair has anything to hide, I think that not addressing the issue on their social media account was in very poor taste.

When Tide pods were being eaten (both jokingly and otherwise), Tide pod did not make the mistake of staying silent, or having their president make a personal statement. Tide pods instead ran multiple campaigns encouraging the proper use of tide pods, discouraging eating them at all.