Blog 6 minute readCompany: Remarkable Group Campaign: Cash Converters: maintaining calm during the storm Category: Crisis Management Campaign of the Year - South - Shortlisted Partner: Cash Converters Objective As part as the overarching crisis communications plan for Cash Converters there are a number of key simply defined objectives: • Manage brand reputation and mitigate negative coverage • Provide support to the network of stores and their respective Business Development Managers • Seamless delivery of key messages to ensure that customers are communicated with regularly • Prompt responses to media enquiries Strategy & Target Audience The strategy for effectively managing the riots crisis was based around monitoring, correcting and engaging. The riots broke out late afternoon and accelerated overnight on the 7th August 2011. Remarkable monitored the social landscape, online news and broadcast news to keep up to speed on the areas that were affected by the riots. Remarkable kept the senior management team at Cash Converters informed on locations and planned movements in real time, sharing regular information and correcting rumours about supposedly affected Cash Converters stores being targeted. A key messaging document was adapted specifically to cover the riots, which was shared with all stores in the Cash Converters network along with reminders of the crisis and issues media protocol. Twice daily conference calls were set up to share information on stores that were attacked. FAQs were developed and adapted post each conference call. These were used to inform media on the retailer’s circumstances and also posted to the website to keep consumers updated. Communication is key throughout any crisis; Remarkable successfully managed the coordination of key personnel at Cash Converters, including operations teams, store owners, insurance advisors and the senior management team. Franchisees updated Remarkable on their plans for the store and how they were handling any customer items that had been stolen ahead of Remarkable updating media and consumers via social and online channels. The week before the riots, Cash Converters had signed an information-sharing agreement with the Metropolitan Police, this formed part of the post-riots strategy. Remarkable used this as a key message to warn off looters who might consider trying to sell their stolen goods to Cash Converters. Also as part of the post-riot strategy, Remarkable has continued to work closely with targeted stores to ensure a speedy and seamless re-opening with maximum media relations support. Action 24/7 support • Senior members of the team at Remarkable are on hand 24/7 providing regular updates to Cash Converters • Media statements and liaison was dealt with at all times of the day due to the altered online media platforms • Social media platforms were monitored and corrected at relevant times during the riots ensuring that consumers had the most up-to-date information Internal communications • Remarkable set up twice daily conference calls, coordinating key contacts across the network of 215 stores • Remarkable provided the four Business Development Managers covering the whole of the UK, with written, carefully prepared updates to share via email newsletter with their respective store contacts • Remarkable arranged a CEO tour of the affected stores during the following months to ensure that franchisees and managers were supported • Key messaging document was shared with stores to help with their customer communication, this is revised monthly • All stores received a reminder copy of the crisis and issues protocol document – this outlined to all staff the processes involved if a situation occurred in store Stakeholder outreach • In January 2012, Remarkable issued letters to MPs and councillors with damaged stores in their areas, inviting them into their local store to meet with the business owner and staff involved, this formed part of the wider Public Affairs strategy in place • Media statements were shared with the local MPs and they were asked to share the information with customers on their website Customer outreach • Remarkable prepared posters and leaflet copy for affected stores to distribute to customers during the clean up • Remarkable asked stores to provide information on the customers and community members that helped with the clean-up to share with media and ensure a positive and respectful view of the brand • Remarkable prepared letters for each store to explain the policy on buybacks (low value items on short-term pawn) and pawned items that were stolen • Remarkable uploaded content across social media platforms, keeping customers informed • Remarkable prepared statements for use on the Cash Converters website informing customers of the stores affected and the outcomes Media relations • Media statements were prepared for print, broadcast, social media and online • Remarkable was in regular contact with national, broadcast and regional media – advising journalists of the retailer’s situation and how the stores were dealing with the crisis on a day to day basis • Remarkable set up interviews for the CEO in national and regional press in the following months after the riots • Post the riots, Remarkable worked with franchisees to help them re-open, providing event support and media relations activity around the event • Letters to editors – Remarkable prepared letters to editors for each of the regional media that had affected stores. These letters advised consumers of the police relationships in place Results The proactive approach Remarkable took meant that Cash Converters remained on top of the situation and maintained its reputation. Keeping the press and customers informed showed how the retailer took control of the situation and put its customers first. By doing this it also boosted morale and encouraged communities to pull together. • Remarkable ensured balanced reporting on the riots through strong media liaison, key message distribution and media-friendly FAQs • Customers were satisfied with the level of communication provided. • Anecdotal feedback from stores found that many customers were amazed and delighted that they were being told what was happening even when the store was closed • A customer satisfaction survey completed post the riots found customers to be ‘very satisfied’ with the customer service standards • A post-riot survey found that store owners felt completely supported throughout the process. • Franchisees used Remarkable to secure positive coverage on their re-opening and again three months after opening to maintain the key messages about the stores in the media • The media relations activity resulted in: - 44 pieces of coverage during the riots - 12 pieces of re-opening coverage for affected stores - Remarkable dealt with 28 inbound media enquiries in two hours on the first day of the riots - 76 per cent of coverage included the five identified key messages - 80 per cent of MPs contacted visited their local store during the clean-up operation and to help the store celebrate its re-opening The PRmoment Golden Hedgehog Awards 2014 are now open for entries. Here are this years updated categories.