Editor’s Note: Overseeing digital and social media puts us on the front lines of securing our firm's digital domains in the event of a hack. If something goes wrong, this can immediately launch us into crisis mode, even if it occurs in the midst of a holiday celebration. Read on to see how one smart marketer avoided having the Grinch steal her New Year's celebration. Would your firm be as prepared if this happened to you?
If it wasn’t for an LMA colleague some ten years ago, I might not have immediately learned that our site had been hacked at 6 pm EST on New Year’s Eve. Yes. I was in San Diego, it was 9 pm, and I was with my family heading out to that big NYE party. I received a text from an LMA colleague who happened to be visiting our site to read an article, and she was greeted with the skull and crossbones (somewhat like encountering the White Walkers from Game of Thrones). Fortunately for my sanity, we had a crisis management plan in place, not to mention available staff to address the matter swiftly. We were able to put up a temporary landing page, remove the affected code, and post a message that our site was down temporarily. By mid-day of New Year’s Day, the site was restored.
Here is a checklist of items that should be included in your crisis management plan (CMP) in order to thwart the Grinch from ruining your party.
The 6 R’s of Crisis Management
- Recognize and identify the issue
- Mobilize your Crisis Response Team (CRT) – be sure to have cell and home phones, personal and business email addresses, and social media profile URLs in your plan
- Conduct CRT call or meeting
- Contain: draft and post a holding statement (if necessary)
- Communicate to critical audiences
- Provide all necessary tools for experts to eradicate issue
- Communicate issue
- Monitor and evaluate, keep an eye on social media sites
- Implement recovery plan
- Draft resolution statement
- Alert audiences that issue has been addressed including through social media
- Provide necessary information to important audiences (what happened, how it may have happened, what was done to rectify it, and what is being done moving forward)
- Follow up with affected parties directly
- Conduct post-mortem review
- Evaluate effectiveness of CRT
- Evaluate effective of response tactics
- Update scenarios and response tactics in CMP
- Update contact lists (CRT, media, etc.)
- Re-train CRT
We learn all too often that law firms (of all sizes) don’t have crisis management plans in place to handle the myriad of scenarios a business can encounter on any given day. And as Murphy’s Law would have it, the Grinch often crops up during the holidays and issues spread rapidly online. As marketers, it is our job to help safeguard our law firms from crises at any time of the year. Happy planning.
ABOUT GINA F. RUBELGina F. Rubel, Esq. is the CEO of Furia Rubel Communications, Inc. (www.FuriaRubel.com), one of the nation’s leading legal marketing, public relations, crisis communications and social media agencies. A strategic marketing expert, attorney and author, Ms. Rubel teaches audiences nationwide how to implement ethical, integrated and measurable communication strategies that help their organizations to meet their business objectives. Her agency is ranked #1 in Pennsylvania by The Legal Intelligencer and among the top three nationwide by The National Law Journal. In addition, Ms. Rubel has been named a Woman of Distinction by The Legal Intelligencer and Philadelphia Business Journal. She has been included among Pennsylvania’s Best 50 Women in Business and SmartCEO magazine’s Brava Award winners. She contributes regularly to The Legal Intelligencer and Avvo Lawyernomics blog, and occasionally writes for The Huffington Post and National Law Review. You can follow her on Twitter at @ginarubel, connect with her on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/ginafuriarubel, call her at 215-340-0480 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to www.FuriaRubel.com
Coming in January!
LMA’S Digital & Social Media SIG is launching a benchmarking initiative. It’s designed to give legal marketers comparable data to enable them to assess the effectiveness of their programs and strategies. We encourage all firms to participate in order to make this as useful as possible. Details coming soon!