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When a large national online and bricks-and-mortar retailer faced a major litigation crisis, Lumentus was asked to provide counsel and execute strategic initiatives to combat negative media attention, particularly, but not solely, online. The company was
concerned that its image could be substantially damaged not only in the eyes of its loyal customers, employees, neighbors and suppliers, but also the broader public – and potential customers – because activists organized by the opponents in the legal case were determined to defame and disrupt the company.
Our objectives were to:
· Protect the company and associated brand through minimization of online controversy, and
· Reassure and strengthen relationships with employees, customers, suppliers and neighbors.
Lumentus first conducted in-depth analyses of the company’s online presence and its executives to determine the most effective approach for digital reputation management. Lumentus, along with the company’s existing legal and communications teams, counseled that the company’s legal positioning and reasoning could be amplified across all audience segments by bolstering the company’s case rationale and engaging advocates and supporters who could nimbly respond to media coverage, online attacks and reputational threats. Realizing the importance of the lawsuit and the attention it would garner, Lumentus advised a full-spectrum approach so that the company could bolster[JC2] its supporters while mounting a defense against its detractors.
· Educating the general public in a non-didactic manner that was less restricted by legal terms and phrases to clarify the case and debunk media myths,
· Creating conversations that resulted in influential third-party supporters,
· Creating a case-specific website and corresponding social media assets,
· Developing social media guidelines and an approved content calendar,
· Authoring corporate message themes (both direct and reactive),
· Defining strategic calls to action,
· Leveraging and repurposing existing assets for use in all communications materials and new digital assets (video clips, B-roll footage, images), and
· Creating new, visually-appealing and impactful assets
The company was able to plan for specific key events and case milestones, and coordinate strategic responses to attacks in traditional media and across social media platforms. Lumentus also established a fast-track content creation and approval process to identify core stakeholders and developed guidelines for triggering escalation to crisis response. To rally support for the company and its cause and to separate the business interests from the lawsuit itself, Lumentus spearheaded the development of a custom website dedicated to educating the public on the facts of the lawsuit and offering supporters a chance to show their support. As a main feature on the website, Lumentus coordinated video messages from company executives thanking their customers for support, as well as testimonials from academic, legal and civic leaders expressing their support. As a result, the majority of negative online conversations took place on theseparate site and did not interfere with the company’s main e-commerce site or existing assets. All audience segments had a way to voice opinions in a safe and welcoming atmosphere without harming the company’s existing digital assets and general public perception.
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