Polpeo#smcrisis taster session at PRCA #digibites

PRCA event

We had a great time at the PRCA DigiBites session last week. Thanks to everyone involved for making it such a great experience!

(Special thanks to our own Rob Koster for the awesome photos.)

The Polpeo team headed over to the Lansons office last week for the PRCA #digibites event on 27/05/14. The CM team put the communications experts to the test, and they all fought valiantly to defend one of our fictitious brands.

Around 30 PR professionals (both in-house and agency) attended the PRCA’s Digibites event – hosted by PR firm, Lansons.

Tamara kicked off the session by introducing the simulator and giving the teams a quick rundown of the kind of thing they would be facing. (Let’s just say it involves pets, accusations of shady labour practices and a really cross ex-employee.)

She also provided a few pointers on strategy.

The crisis kicked off with the ex-employee out for blood, and the teams of PR people scrambling to put out the fire before it consumed them.


Our simulations can be exhausting. We’ve found that at around hour five of a six-hour simulation, people start to get jumpy. They’re tired; they’ve been taking body-blows for hours and just when they think they have the crisis under control something happens that challenges them again.

Taster sessions are much shorter, in this case around 30 minutes, so we shape our storylines around the time available, providing an experience that will push the participants, but not send them running out of the room.

One of the things we see a lot in both taster sessions and full-scale simulations is the need that some people feel to stick rigidly to approved text. It’s great to issue a press release, but it’s a bad idea to post chunks of it on social channels.

People go to social media to have a conversation with the brand. Seeing the same text on various social channels gives the impression that the brand doesn’t care about what people have to say, that its only concern is salvaging its reputation.

We weren’t surprised that all teams ended the simulation with a positive sentiment score – they were, after all, comms professionals. Team blue (which included Lansons’ own Lisa Elliott and Ketchum’s Danny Whatmough – he’s also head of PRCA’s digital group) won the day.

The Polpeo team had a great time at the DigiBites event, and we loved seeing the fabulous job done by all of the participants.

Danny Whatmough has written a brilliant summary of the event over on Econsultancy.

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