Consumers’ Values Should Direct High Stakes Crisis Response

Kimberly Surico |
 03/20/20 |
4 min read

Hotwire Crisis Response

You’ve spent years building your brand and one hiccup sends things south. Do you have an action plan in place to respond quickly? Hotwire Global understands that consumers’ values should direct any high stakes crisis response, as do other online leaders with their ears to the ground. Let’s dig in to see why this sort of response is critical – and how social listening makes it happen!

Crisis Management – Consumer Values Matter

When things take a turn for the worse, how your brand is perceived means everything. It doesn’t matter how well you’ve done it before; it matters how you react right now. Christa Conte SVP, Head of Digital Commerce at Hotwire Global states that “we found that 50% of consumers have dropped a brand based on how they handled a high stakes issue.”


This is why industry leaders rely on NetBase to stay ahead of the curve whenever a PR crisis hits. Using social media analytics, brands can target with pinpoint accuracy what their customers are saying on social media, helping them to immediately diagnose the situation and form an energetic and meaningful response.

Brands are built on the values of their customers. When things are going well it’s a no-brainer. But when things start hitting the fan it pays to have real-time data driven analytics right at your fingertips. Because, you can’t fix what you don’t know.

Making Mistakes & Making It Right with Consumers

Brands inevitably make mistakes from time to time. Imagine having immediate access to all of the social conversation and even being able to see the reasons for spikes and dips in your net sentiment. Understand the peoples’ dislikes or concerns, and you can course-correct to keep your message, and ultimately your brand on point.


Unfortunately for some brands though, not everyone is paying attention. Remember that Peloton commercial where the husband gives his wife an exercise bike for Christmas? Well… it turned into an object lesson on how not to handle a brand crisis.


Peloton Dropped the Exercise Ball

We’ve covered the recent Peloton debacle before, but it’s a shining example of a brand acting blindly in its response to crisis. It should go without saying that it’s not a great idea to run an ad campaign that suggests buying a woman an exercise bike for Christmas … no matter how much it costs. It touched a nerve, and ultimately people talked about it. And Peloton didn’t listen.

When your ad campaign hits a societal nerve, crisis happens … parodies happen.

Everybody makes mistakes, right? They sure do. But that doesn’t mean your brand can’t recover and send the right message.

Had Peloton been paying attention to their social mentions and the conversation that was taking place online, perhaps their response would have been different. Alas, their customers got a figurative glass of wine to the face.

“Our holiday spot was created to celebrate that fitness and wellness journey. While we’re disappointed in how some have misinterpreted this commercial, we are encouraged by — and grateful for — the outpouring of support we’ve received from those who understand what we were trying to communicate.”

It’s never a good idea to tell the consumer that they ‘just didn’t get it.’

A brand’s principal concern from the get-go is making itself relevant to the consumer. Peloton missed the values that people were putting onto social media and chose to act dismissively.

As consumer values were ignored, stock plunged drastically over the course of 3 days. The “outpouring of support” lacked any fiscal translation. Case in point…this is what not to do.


And enough about that. You get the point. Let’s take a look at a couple companies that are getting it right!

Learning from Crisis Response Leaders

Patagonia is an industry leader in outdoor clothing that projects its values about environmental concerns. This is a brand that is vocal in its efforts to be responsible for its impact in a world increasingly hell-bent on sales and disposability.

They know their audience cares about a product that lasts and are marketing straight to the heart of their consumers. More than that, they’ve built their trust.


They’ve chosen to stay close to their consumers values … even if they sell less product. Mind blown?

Perhaps less really is more. Patagonia is staying true to its consumers’ values that got it where it is today, and their brand positivity looks amazing!

Let’s take a look at one more brand showing how you do crisis management right.

Nike Captures Consumer Values

Nike danced nimbly to the beat of its customer base last summer.  Even as it was getting roasted for discontinuing its new Air Max 1 Quick Strike sneakers featuring the 13 star Betsy Ross style flag on the back.


Nike’s controversial brand-partner, Colin Kaepernick had concerns over the use of the flag as many find it offensive. Nike decided to go all-in on Kaepernick’s suggestions and stayed true to its loyal customer base just as many were burning their shoes in protest.

At first, the optics looked grim for Nike, but fortunately it had its fingers to the pulse of its target demographic. Nike stood its ground in solidarity with its customer’s values which resulted in a windfall. This is winning!

CBS news reported that, “Nike shares have surged 36 percent on the year, making the company the top performer on the Dow’s index of 30 blue-chip stocks. The run-up includes a nearly 5 percent increase since Nike’s Labor Day announcement that Kaepernick would be featured in its campaign, adding nearly $6 billion to the company’s market value.

That … is turning consumer value into market value. Mic dropped.

Bottom line, when crisis comes out of the blue, your brand doesn’t have to be left like a deer in headlights as market value crumbles and shareholders come screaming. Learn a lesson from Nike. Just do it!

Finally, breathe easy knowing that you don’t have to do this alone! With expert advice and support , NetBase is here to help you stay ahead of the curve and get the win when the going gets rough. Reach out for a demo and we’ll show you how!

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