georgia aquarium

Crises happen – to the best of brands, no matter how vigilant. But when they do, they don’t have to spiral into irreparable disaster. They can even be defining moments that bring you closer to your audience.

This was the case for Ames Scullin O’Haire Advertising’s (ASO) client, the Georgia Aquarium, when the agency helped them through a devastating loss. But things might not have ended so well if ASO didn’t have a solid social monitoring system in place.

Here’s why all brands need to use social media intelligence to manage brand health:

To know your audience

For a brand like the Georgia Aquarium, any given day can offer up challenges like activists posting negatively on social and swaying consumer opinion. That’s in addition to regular customer service issues that can happen anytime, as well as unexpected events no one can prepare for – like the loss of an animal.

The aquarium was not ready for Maris, a beloved beluga whale, to suddenly pass away. But they did have the tools in place to manage such an occurrence – and ASO was ready for the onslaught of negative social commentary the tragic event would likely ignite.  The fact that crises take on a life of their own on social media is the exact reason brands must monitor social sentiment at all times.

To keep fallout to a minimum

ASO had keyword alerts set up in NetBase, so they were aware of the negative posts that came through within moments of the press conference announcing Maris’ passing.

This kind of early knowledge is crucial to surviving a brand crisis. If you don’t intervene until an issue has gone viral, your brand may well not recover. Knowing immediately there’s a crisis lets you get out in front of things, and take control of the conversation before misinformation spreads exponentially, bringing brand sentiment down in the process.

To know how to respond

It’s not about simply addressing an issue when a crisis hits – it’s about addressing the specific needs and questions of consumers. Social media listening tools must be able to analyze not just whether consumer sentiment is positive or negative, but also the magnitude of consumer sentiment.

Access to these complex insights allowed the Georgia Aquarium to directly address consumers’ questions, rather than guess what mattered to them in the wake of the tragic event.

Real-time action saved sentiment from dropping indefinitely

Speed of response matters – because consumers left to come up with their own answers will do just that, and share their thoughts with all their followers. Real-time analysis is a deal-breaker feature in a social monitoring tool.

It’s because ASO was monitoring in real-time that the Georgia Aquarium was able to respond immediately and turn falling sentiment around – from a -50 at the start of the crisis (out of -100 to 100), to a positive 90 once consumer concerns were addressed.

And with the crisis so quickly managed, the aquarium avoided the need for costly, long-term PR efforts – another advantage to working with an agency incorporating social media listening as a business strategy. That’s the only kind worth hiring.

There’s more to learn in the full case study, so download it today. And E-Book: How Strategic Brands Avoid a Social Crisis


Image from Rian Castillo

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