Weber Shandwick’s propriety crisis simulation software and crisis preparedness training – firebell – has won the 2014 Adweek Project Isaac Award for PR Invention in the Best Practices medium. Honouring invention in media, advertising & marketing and technology, the awards highlight the importance of genuine invention to the successes of brands and businesses.
MENA brands are set to substantially increase internet advertising spend in the next five years in the region, likely spurring an upsurge in the engagement of MENA internet users and consequently, more demand for potential online-driven issues management. Firebell allows participants to actively engage in a real-time attack of their brand or organisation in a secure, controlled environment, including fictional replicas of social channels and media outlets. Post-simulation, an assessment is delivered that identifies the gaps in performance, working to bolster response processes and messaging in advance of the outbreak of an issue or crisis.
“With an estimated 88 percent of more than 100 million MENA internet users interacting on social media each day, everything is knowable and shareable,” says Ziad Hasbani, CEO, Weber Shandwick MENA. “One single event, or badly judged post or tweet can rapidly escalate into a crisis, whether real or perceived. Businesses and brands operating in MENA’s digital communications landscape must adopt a culture of observance and readiness, anticipating potential issues and preparing comprehensive yet flexible plans to manage them. There is also language to consider, as brands in the region must be prepared to address and respond to issues with a multilingual approach. Firebell is fast becoming an integral tool in helping us to assist brands in communicating, managing and protecting their reputations in the digital sphere. Just as demand is increasing exponentially in the region for digitally-driven communications services, we are also working with clients to ensure they understand and mitigate against the risks involved.”