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How to dismantle the “Guan Gong disaster”?

Since 2015, Hong Kong netizens have seen various types of public relations disasters break out in many organizations, so they have creatively inverted the word “public relations” as “Guan Gong”, calling it “Guan Gong disaster”, and from time to time laughing and saying that “Guan Gong is shaking”. In fact, most public relations crises are often sudden and unpredictable, and we can’t wait for the crisis to ferment before making corresponding arrangements, but we need to be prepared in advance.

Such crises are usually divided into three initial stages: first, the latent stage, which is only at the level of a few cognitions; the second is the derivative stage, which is widely recognized; The third is the diffusion stage, when the matter is quickly spread on the Internet. We need to take appropriate action during this period, and if we delay until the crisis is fully resolved, it will be difficult to turn the tide.

In recent years, the most extensive negative teaching materials are that Manulife Insurance staff paid 500 to 700 yuan to ask someone to shoot three short videos of “Go to Space” for the company’s dinner. Later, the matter was quickly spread, and even became the subject of secondary creation of major brands.

In fact, during this critical period, real-time media monitoring plays a very important role, because it can obtain negative news and information that may harm and affect the brand as early as possible “before Guan Gong appears”, such as finding the corresponding keywords on the Internet, so that we can find out what potential threats are and facilitate targeted deployment. There are many high-quality social media monitoring services in the market, such as Wisers, which provides this kind of positive and negative sentiment analysis.

If Manulife had obtained the relevant information through these media monitoring at that time, analysed the data of its social platforms, assessed the severity of the problem, investigated and found out what exactly constituted this potential PR crisis, and then obtained more understanding through contact and dialogue with the people involved, and had taken appropriate action before the action escalated, then the matter could have subsided before the diffusion stage.

However, Manulife was unaware of the magnitude of the problem and failed to monitor, analyse and act on it at an early stage, which led to the incident then spiraling out of control and causing a certain level of damage to the brand image. However, this also confirms that real-time media monitoring is indeed extremely important to prevent problems before they occur.

In fact, the way to success in dealing with a PR crisis is often to react quickly enough, and everything else is secondary. Speed, transparency, honesty and constructiveness are the most important PR skills we need to learn in today’s crisis.

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