Skip to main content
  1. writing/

Cancelling Cancellation: The Social Media Strategy That Saved Millions

801 words·4 mins
Branding & Growth
Table of Contents

Somebody has recently faced a unique challenge: a huge government firm dedicated to social welfare has entered a tumultuous period in the crosshairs of public opinion. Trust are practically vaporized, and the reputation is hanging on a thread.

The good image of the brand must be rebuilt. Accountability, transparency, and openness to investigation by the firm have all been meticulously laid out. But in crisis communication, these efforts are only half the battle.

This somebody was called to help rebuild positive associations with the community and regain visibility across various media platforms.

And if it does not go well, what’s at stake? The beneficiaries.

The public mistrust for the firm means mistrust on the firm’s products, which in not only would stop revenues but also stop the support it gives to millions (yes, millions!) of underprivileged citizens. The very reason why the firm was established in the first place.

Rethinking Communication Strategies>

Rethinking Communication Strategies #

The campaign was envisioned for lots of media: national TV, radio, outdoor, web, social, you name it. They also envisioned spots for interviews, focusing on what they are doing for the community. This has always worked for the firm. These were catalyst to their survival from another hurricane some 15-20 years ago.

Oh, did I mention budget? Their budget was big! They know it’s serious and expensive.

But this time, it was a different game. Their traditional methods especially ads placements were out of the question. And with the nature of this crisis, this would also come across as inauthentic. The public will not be buying the old-school tactics anymore. They wanted raw, real, and transparent.

The challenge was clear: communicate their value that hits home with a skeptical audience.

Empowering Voices from the Ground Up>

Empowering Voices from the Ground Up #

Needing a game-changer, we flipped the script.

Instead of rolling out usual glossy commercials and executive interviews, the heart of the mission will take the center stage: the beneficiaries and the volunteers who made a difference every day.

Volunteers, staff, and beneficiaries were encouraged to share their experiences directly on social media. Taking it to socials they did. Sharing photos and stories of their experiences. Some volunteers posted heartwarming captions describing the fulfillment of helping others. Others simply shared Instagram stories documenting their time on-site. Giving everyone a raw, unfiltered glimpses of the real work happening on the ground, from the people on the ground.

The firm, too, embraced a more authentic approach. Ditching the glossy commercials and interviews with executives for real interviews and stories featuring the staff and volunteers working tirelessly on the ground. Presented with minimal editing. Allowing the public to see the human side of the firm’s efforts.

This shift in communication strategy aimed to rebuild trust by highlighting the impact of the firm’s work. Instead on going on the defensive with the interviews. Making the audience see real people delivering and receiving support, from the people they can relate to.

The Outcome: Trust Rebuilt>

The Outcome: Trust Rebuilt #

While the specific details of the campaign’s success cannot be disclosed due to this somebody’s NDA, it’s safe to say that the firm weathered the storm and emerged stronger.

The firm is now safe from the worst case scenario - being dissolved.

The campaign’s focus on authenticity served a crucial purpose. It helped rebuild public trust by showcasing the vital role the firm plays.

For the firm, the overall content approach also changed for the better. The new strategy became the norm. By continuously featuring stories of stakeholders, the approach is now more reflective of the firm’s mission and commitment to putting community at the front.

Oh, did I mention budget? Their budget was saved! This new strategy was remarkably cost-effective.

Key Takeaways>

Key Takeaways #

This case study offers valuable takeaways for crisis communication:

  • Adapt Your Strategy: Don’t cling to outdated methods. Keep up with the times. Be open to adjusting your communication approach to fit the specific needs of the crisis and the audience.
  • Feature Real People: People connect with people. Showcase real employees and beneficiaries, not just executives. People cannot entirely relate to executives. This would foster relatability, moving you away from the defense mode.
  • Embrace User-Generated Content: User-generated content (UGC) offers a level of authenticity that traditional advertising cannot replicate. If it’s’ UGCs tarnishing your brand, it will also be UGCs rebuilding it.
  • Focus on Impact, Not Image: Focus on the positive impact your company makes. Showcase stories of individuals helped, problems solved, and lives improved. This shifts the conversation away from negativity and towards the value your company brings.
  • Be Human: Don’t be afraid to show the human side of your company. Acknowledge mistakes, express empathy, and demonstrate a willingness to learn and grow. This vulnerability fosters trust and connection with the audience.