On 17th April, Portland hosted an event to launch Simulo, our social media crisis simulator. We invited clients and friends of Portland to come and experience our new offer first hand.
How it Works
Simulo is a crisis simulation solution that takes the form of a ‘hands on’ war-gaming exercise to recreate a developing social media crisis which could affect your organisation. Simulo allows teams to stress test your existing crisis response and management plans in a contained and secure environment.
To ensure the exercise has a realistic feel, Portland creates digital and social media platforms uniquely designed with the team to ensure a relevant and convincing scenario is created. The crisis plays out in real time and events change dependent upon the team’s actions. Participants use the technology platform to monitor online channels, answer calls from ‘journalists’ and formulate and publish responses. A social media crisis is fast moving and changeable and teams are put through their paces.
We invited 25 delegates to Portland earlier this month and put them through their paces at our launch event for Simulo.
The teams were tasked with handling a crisis that commenced with a fire at an offshore factory that had failed their latest health and safety test. A UK retailer had placed an order with the factory and as the crisis unfolds, the UK company is under fire as they are challenged on social media channels, by the press and by campaigning groups who are against manufacturing off shore and working conditions in the supplier’s factory.
The teams quickly had to rally together, define roles and responsibilities and their approach. While some monitored online platforms; others drafted press releases, engaged with social media users and created the strategy. They were put through the press with the constant barrage of calls from journalists, unraveling of the crisis on Facebook and Twitter as volume picked up from the public and campaigners.
The debrief gave us the opportunity to slow the adrenalin rush and share insights. The main lessons learned were:
- Teams must be allocated clear roles and be rehearsed before a crisis ensues
- Social media adds a different dimension to crisis. It spreads like wildfire and means that containment is extremely difficult
- Messaging has to be prepared for staff along with the media and general public. Employees are just as likely to make a crisis spiral out of control
Simulo is available as a one-off exercise or as part of a broader media training plan. For more information, please contact [email protected].