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Why social media requires a new relationship between legal and communication advisors

November 17, 2016 by Jonathan Hemus

reputation management

With the increased use of social media, people are creating and sharing more information than ever before. It is now far easier (and quicker) for disgruntled employees, unhappy customers and campaigners to voice their opinions online. 

Reputational crises

As more information about an organisation is created and shared on social media, the frequency of reputational crises has also increased. It is no surprise that mistakes happen – people get defamed, privacy gets invaded and intellectual property rights get breached.

Sometimes organisations – or their employees – are even creating their own social media crises.

This has implications for crisis management handling from a legal and communication perspective, and both legal and communication advisors have a role to play in shaping the crisis communication response to an online issue.

The role of legal and communication advisors in a crisis

On occasions, there can be tension or disagreement between an organisation’s legal and communication advisors, an unhelpful dynamic when swift and effective decision-making is required. How can this be avoided?

Here are three steps to take beforehand to ensure that legal and communication advisors collaborate effectively in a crisis:

  • Work together on scenario planning to agree ‘rules of engagement’
  • Develop ‘in principle’ communication materials which are pre-approved by both the legal and communication teams
  • Participate in simulation exercises to rehearse the working relationship under realistic conditions

For further insights on how communicators and lawyers can jointly navigate the reputational challenges presented by social media, download our report below.