Next week marks the anniversary of one of the most damaging data breaches in recent history. During the Black Friday of last year, retail giant Target Corp.’s had the credit and debit card numbers and personal details of over 40 million of its customers compromised. The public relations nightmare that followed resulted in profits plummeting upwards of 46%, Target shares slumping approximately 8%, and Chief Executive Gregg Steinhafel resigning after over 20 years with the company.
Stories such as these are unfortunately not that unique which is why it is critical for companies and organizations, big and small, to invest strongly in strategic PR. For those in the 3PL market, this means being aware of the ongoings of all suppliers and business associations; once a crisis happens, it can be difficult and costly to identify a problem’s source in the supply chain.
Other than a crack PR team, there are two ways that 3PLs can protect themselves from the toxic fallout of bad publicity.
Keeping your friends close
One of the most frightening things about a damaging PR crisis is that not only can it ruin a company business overnight, but that it can be unrelated to the original brand due to the nature of upstream supply chains. The best way to counter this is to ensure that oversight of all aspects of a supply chain can be conducted with as little lag in communication as possible. It is for this reason that nearshoring has become so essential.
There are a lot of financial and logistical benefits to nearshoring. However, a key benefit that is often overlooked is that by conducting business so relatively close to home, a 3PL company can better establish a strong and resilient social network which at the end of the day “is not really about socializing, but about facilitating people to people communication and collaboration” according to an interesting article on SupplyChain247. The added degree of security because of Mexico’s increasing growing infrastructure and business-friendly economy is also a welcomed factor.
Staying social means staying connected
In a similar vein to nearshoring, the power of social media doesn’t end with crisis management. The immediacy of information and two-way discourse between company and customers is essential when handling a crisis. It is for this reason that the benefits that social media provides when it comes to damage control cannot be overstated. From JC Penny to Fontaine Santé, case study after case study shows a demonstrable advantage for companies that are actively engaged and have a focused strategy when it comes to social media.
There are of course many other reasons outside of crisis control for a business to be connected. By effectively utilizing social media, a business can:
- Increase traffic to its website
- Enhance brand awareness
- Contribute to search engine optimization
- Position the company as an authoritative voice in its industry
- Provide an avenue for improved customer relations by allowing a company to directly engage with individuals interested in their brand or product.
It is through this engagement that companies can tell their commercial journey and invite stakeholders into sharing their own stories.
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