There are many types of crises that can impact your brand’s online presence or alter the context of your message. This is why it is imperative that you consistently monitor local, national and global news and have a clear “chain of command” in place with defined roles and checklists so you can quickly and seamlessly pivot when necessary.

Here are a few tips to help you prepare for some common contingencies.


Cyber-attacks are an increasingly common threat, so it is important to stay vigilant. The US Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) monitors for these kinds of attacks 24/7 so it is a good resource to help keep you apprised of any possible situations.

  • We recommend adopting a heightened stance for protecting your organization’s assets to make sure your team is ready to respond if something were to occur.
  • Ensure that multi-factor authentication is being used, when possible, company-wide
    • Ongoing employee training is essential to mitigating security threats to your organization.
    • Encourage your employees to say something when they see something.
      • In 40% of global businesses, employees have hidden an incident when it happens, which can lead to further destruction and down the line.

Paid Search, Shopping and Display

  • In the event of a local, national or global crisis, you should negate targeting for news sites, blogs & non-profit sites to ensure your brand does not show up among tragic or controversial news, politically charged POVs, or causes that may be off Brand.  
  • Further build out negative keyword list to include cyber attack, shooting, names of prominent political figures, etc.
  • Review messaging under the scope of the current situation to ensure there is nothing that could be construed in a negative light.

Social Media

  • During a significant local, national or global crisis, we recommend at minimum pausing any scheduled posts to ensure something does not go live that may be poorly timed.
    • For example, if something happens overnight and a post is scheduled for 6am, your team may not have time to pause ahead of time and, therefore, runs the risk of your brand seeming insensitive. The “something” that happens need not be a major global event. It could be something like a celebrity death. For example, when the news hit recently that the singer known as Meatloaf died, the grill company, Weber did not pause a post about “BBQ Meatloaf” and saw immediate backlash for their insensitive post.
  • Similar to paid search and display, we recommend an evaluation of where ads are appearing to negate any potential areas where misinformation or news could appear.
  • Be cognizant of the ever-changing news cycle and be prepared to shift messaging to avoid seeming tone-deaf and a public backlash.
  • Monitor comments on social ads for customer sentiment surrounding messages to ensure you protect your brand from any misinterpretations.

If you need assistance developing a crisis contingency plan for your brand’s digital presence, please contact us. We are happy to help.

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