When a publicly traded nationwide discount fashion retail store chain with 300 locations encountered a crisis that threatened to unravel the company at the seams, it immediately called on the PR experts at Axia Public Relations.
When someone shares an experience on social media, others jump in and join the conversation, engendering a mob mentality on social media. That’s what happened here.
A customer clashed with an employee of the discount fashion store chain at one of its locations. The irate customer took to social media to vent her frustration and quickly gained viral support from other local concerned consumers. The retailer immediately sought Axia Public Relations’ expertise in crisis communications, messaging and delivery before the issue spread nationally.
The Axia PR Strategy
Within an hour, our expert PR team crafted crisis responses for the retailer for:
- Customer service response when consumers called to complain about the issue
- Response to Facebook direct messages
- Response when users posted to the company’s Facebook wall
We recommended that the CEO reach out directly to the frustrated customer and we provided several talking points. We also provided the company with action steps to use with customers. We coordinated the CEO’s response and statement with local media covering the issue.
The company (who wasn’t yet a client) first contacted us at about 3 p.m., and we had an approved statement for all media inquiries by 5 p.m. Our quick response was critical in defusing the early stages of this crisis. We prevented the news story from going national and from attracting the attention of Wall Street media covering public companies and their crises, which would have sent the company’s stock in a negative direction. In addition, we discovered through our social media monitoring that local consumers were organizing a sit-in to protest the store. Axia PR counseled the company and the location’s employees on how to handle such protests.
We monitored local and national news coverage for any mentions and we kept close tabs on the original social media post’s activity.
Only two TV news shows aired the story and both included our client’s statement and key messages. There, news coverage stopped and the social media post lost traction; national media left the story alone and the situation never went viral thanks to Axia Public Relations’ quick action and expert counsel.