Weber Shandwick Launches Social Crisis Simulator, FireBell
NEW YORK - In today’s age of real-time information, brands and companies are more at risk than ever to attacks online from unexpected sources. Global public relations firm Weber Shandwick today launched a new social crisis simulator, FireBell, creating an authentic, real-time experience of being under attack on social media channels. This proprietary application allows clients to participate in a real-time dialogue in a secure, off-the-Internet environment.
The new application was designed in-house by Weber Shandwick software developers and social media strategists. It simulates crisis situations on multiple social media platforms including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Digg, LinkedIn and blogs.
“More than ever, social interactions can have material impact on brand perception and reputation. It’s critical that clients understand how issues spread and how to react in as close to real time as possible,” said Chris Perry, president of Digital Communications at Weber Shandwick. “Communications leaders need to understand that it’s not a matter of if an online crisis is going to happen, but when – and be prepared. How a company responds to a crisis in today’s social environment is vastly different than even the recent past; a formal statement to the press no longer suffices. It’s about a living dialogue with a company’s constituents.”
The simulation begins with a plausible crisis scenario, which is devised by the drill team, but not shared with the client. From that, the team builds functioning and fictional offline versions of the client’s social media properties including Twitter and Facebook. Concurrently, the team builds offline versions of outside social properties such as anti-fan Facebook pages and contrary blogs. During the drill, FireBell projects images that look like the organization’s social media profiles and the client can witness and respond to the crisis unfolding in those channels, preparing them for the inevitable 24/7 dialogue that occurs during a real crisis.
“With FireBell, you can’t just speak in abstract terms of how you would respond. It transforms crisis drills from static exercises of imagination to concrete and dynamic dialogue between client and the public,” said David Krejci, senior vice president, Digital Communications at Weber Shandwick. “This stress-inducing exercise prepares clients for exactly how and when to engage with audiences via social media – and does so in a secure and offline environment.”
About Weber Shandwick
Weber Shandwick is a leading global public relations agency with offices in 74 countries around the world. The firm’s success is built on its deep commitment to client service, our people, creativity, collaboration and harnessing the power of Advocates - engaging stakeholders in new and creative ways to build brands and reputation. Weber Shandwick provides strategy and execution across practices such as consumer marketing, healthcare, technology, public affairs, financial services, corporate and crisis management. Its specialized services include digital/social media, advocacy advertising, market research, and corporate responsibility. In 2010, Weber Shandwick was named Global Agency of the Year by The Holmes Report for the second year in a row; an ‘Agency of the Decade’ by Advertising Age, Large PR Agency of the Year by Bulldog Reporter, a Digital Firm of the Year by PR News, and Top Corporate Responsibility Advisory Firm by CR Magazine. The firm has also won numerous ‘best place to work’ awards around the world. Weber Shandwick is part of the Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG). For more information, visit http://www.webershandwick.com.
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