June 12, 2018 9:00:00 AM EDT

Diversified Power – The Unstoppable Increase in Customer, Employee and Stakeholder Input

With the increasing rate of digital technology advances by 2030, power will no longer rest on the shoulders of corporate leaders. Social media and crowdsourcing have given an all- access pass to voicing opinions on business for consumers, employees, partners and more. With more people voicing opinions and expecting to be heard, this can put a lot of pressure on a company.

We are seeing the effects of such things in the news every day. One such example is what happened with Starbucks recently. After an act of racism at a Starbucks store went public, there was ongoing negativity and complaints toward the company. It was so bad, there were people marching in protest in the streets in front of the store.

This more than qualified as a PR nightmare, exacerbated via social media. Originally, Starbucks was not thought to handle the issue well. More negative press arose, and more anger toward the brand. They then acknowledged what happened and the wrongness of it. Starbucks formally apologized and vowed to take steps from preventing it happening again.

And they followed through with those steps. Starbucks closed almost 8,000 stores to conduct anti-bias training.  They did this while taking a great hit to their profits for that day, but also knowing the results were worth it. They listened to their customers and public opinion, and this great company reacted accordingly.

However, it wasn’t fixed right away, and there may be some lingering distrust for the brand. The better prepared you are to prevent such a situation, or react quickly if you are unable to, the better off your organization will be.

Here are 5 steps to help your company manage diversified power:

1. Digital reputation management.

One of the most important things that every company needs to do, is to be out there monitoring your digital reputation all the time. An employee needs to be monitoring the various social media sites and review sites like Yelp. This will need to be a full-time role in the future, not a side project.

2. PR contingency plans

Some degree of negative press is almost inevitable. Be ready for it. The first way to do that, of course, is to run your company in an ethical and customer-focused way. But also make sure you have ideas for what to do when things go wrong. A bad reaction to a PR crisis only makes the situation worse.

3. Analyze your customer data

Pay attention to what your customers and critics are saying. Know what your customers want, what they think, and what they are looking for. Knowledge is the key to success, and data is the key to knowledge.

4. Anticipate issues before they become problems

With your finger on the public pulse, you will naturally be aware of and sensitive to any potential issues. Pay attention to what’s trending and what people care about. Notice what your business is doing and how people are reacting to it. With anything that seems potentially negative, respond to it right away.

5. Think service, service, service

With everything else you need to consider, don’t forget to focus on serving your customers. They are the most important. Give them what they want, with great customer service, good quality and fair prices. If you don’t fulfill these promises to your customers, there’s no amount of PR and Marketing that will help you.

 

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Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson

Judy partners with executives and leadership teams to engage and inspire employees in a way that delivers sustainable strategic results. She brings deep expertise and creative ideas to solve organizational effectiveness issues and closely collaborates in a way that builds internal capabilities. Judy has spent over 25 years consulting in a variety of industries, bringing her expertise in behavior to a wide range of organizational issues including organizational behavior change, leadership, change management, culture and engagement.