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How corporations should respond to a public health or social crisis

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A guide to implementing empathy in crisis communications

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2021-05

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Proactivity in Preventing Online Crises in the Social Media Age: How Workplace Diversity Shields Organizations from Self-Inflicted Crisis

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Self-inflicted online crises arise when a company releases materials, such as advertisements or products, that are offensive to stakeholders and consequently cause a negative reaction across online communities. This thesis examines how companies have tried to restore their image after

Self-inflicted online crises arise when a company releases materials, such as advertisements or products, that are offensive to stakeholders and consequently cause a negative reaction across online communities. This thesis examines how companies have tried to restore their image after a self-inflicted crisis arose that spoke to a lack of cultural sensitivity and understanding within the organization. Models of crisis communication were analyzed to determine that a crisis has trigger events that can be detected and prevented against. Research on diversity in the workplace and the benefits of fostering a culturally sensitive and aware workplace environment was also analyzed. Finally, image restoration strategies were examined to comprehend how companies use messaging to mitigate crises. From there, three case studies were conducted on three separate self-inflicted online crises that arose from an apparent lack of culturally sensitivity and understanding within an organization, each instance occurring within the past two years. This study then provided an analysis of the background, description, online reaction and company response to each: the PepsiCo advertisement featuring Kendall Jenner, the Gucci sweater appearing to resemble blackface and the Tarte Cosmetics Shape Tape Foundation launch. Image restoration strategies were then identified and analyzed for each case study. Metrics were determined for each case by looking at the reach of posts on social media and also by using Google Trends and Meltwater to discover the extent of media engagement during the length of each crisis. The events explored in each case study all demonstrated an oversight in the pre-crisis stage of each of the organizations, emphasizing the necessity of detection in crisis management planning as a tactic to actively identify potential threats before a triggering event can occur.

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Date Created
2019-05