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The Crisis Intelligence Blog

2014 Crisis Communications Forecast: Mobile Technology is Where It’s At

03 Dec

mobile-technology-for-crisis-communicationsMy biggest forecast for crisis communications in 2014 has to do with mobile technology.

Although it’s taken a while to implement, the power of mobile technology as it pertains to crisis communications and emergency management is beginning to be realized and actualized.

Think of it, a person’s mobile device is the only device that tends to be carried on, or placed beside them 24/7/365. This means that:

  • Whether you have employees out in the field
  • No matter what time of the day or night it is
  • No matter where your stakeholders tend to be online

A mobile device is always within everybody’s reach.

Not to mention that mobile technology allows for:

  • The development of useful apps
  • The delivery of SMS
  • Push notifications

What better real-time communications tool to leverage in a crisis or emergency situation?

Mobile for crisis communications began to really take shape this year

2013 already started to see some of the smartest communicators leveraging mobile to communicate with key stakeholders during crises, but especially during emergency situations.

  • In mid November, tornados struck the midwest of the United States. The National Weather Service in Illinois sent the news of the coming tornados to local cell towers, which then sent off text messages to people with cell phones in that location, warning them of the coming tornados and giving them a good 15 minutes to prepare and seek shelter, saving lives in the process.

The power of mobile technology for crisis communications is limitless. The instantaneous and widespread reach can be invaluable during a time of hecticity – and can, should and will be used by organizations during corporate crises, not just for emergency management situations.

In 2014, I foresee this technology being increasingly utilized by organizations for crisis communications purposes. This includes for internal crisis communications, as well as for external.

Developing a useful app with ulterior functions

When it comes to creating a mobile app for your organization, the difficult thing is to make the app extremely useful. The goal is to provide your stakeholders with an app that they can use regularly, while also providing your organization with an easy way to communicate with your audience in real-time, if ever a crisis comes knocking. Considering that 22% of all downloaded apps are only ever used once [study], this can prove an interesting challenge.

To give you an example, Charmin, the toilet paper company, created an app called “SitOrSquat“. This app allows its users to “search for clean public restrooms all over the country. Rate and share the restrooms [they] like (sit) or note if the bathroom could be better (squat) by adding them to the map.” With hundreds of thousands of downloads, this is an app that travellers and business professionals find truly useful. And on the flip side, Charmin now has a direct way to communicate with all of these people, if they ever have the need to in a crisis.

The point is that, in order to create a useful and desired app, sometimes you need to think outside of the box. This is something important to remember if your organization, like many others, is in (or plans to be in) the process of developing a mobile app for your market / consumers / audiences.

Are you ready for 2014?

All of the above said, mobile technology is where it’s at. Has your organization began to assess and consider how the strategic use of mobile can be incorporated into your crisis communications plan?

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One Response to “2014 Crisis Communications Forecast: Mobile Technology is Where It’s At”

  1. Oliver Han December 3, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

    First of all, I think it is a great post.
    Crisis Communication is a topic that always new to companies and always annoying to companies. On one hand, as the technology developed and the industry getting more and more competitive, companies should always refresh their crisis communications strategies to fit for the current situation; on the other hand, based on the features of “crises,” it is really hard for most companies to make perfect plans to respond to the potential challenges.
    And that is why I think the post is very great and inspiring for the current business. First of all, technology is one of the most important factors of distributing our society, not to mention for the business world. Also, for most of people, they tend to get informed from notifications, news or even alerts from their smart phones, tablets or computers. The major reason is the speed. The popularity of using mobile devices tends to be a new habit for people to get information, also gives companies, PR professionals and communications magnates a new way to interact with the public. And using mobile devices can also save money for companies on holding press conferences or pitch media.
    I think the trend will be utilized and recognized by more and more companies. Thanks for sharing this good information with us.

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