Tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee shows the value of influencers in helping companies through crisis communications with his Samsung Galaxy Fold video.


Marquees Brownlee, the technology-focused YouTuber is helping Samsung through its crisis management surrounding its new Galaxy Fold.

The American influencer with 8.3m followers has uploaded a video to YouTube addressing the broken screen issues suffered by a handful of reviewers.  

The video, which has at the time of writing generated 6.1m views, follows a review earlier in the week in which Brownlee raved about the new concept phone.

It turns out a week is a long time at Samsung. Since Monday’s positive reviews there have been issues with the screens of the product given to several reviewers.

Brownlee’s follow up video is a coup for the South Korean tech giant. Like it or not if an influencer already has an association with a brand he is already part of the crisis management programme. His followers (and anyone online with an interest, positive or otherwise) are likely to ask questions or comment on the crisis situation.

Brownlee earns is living from technology reviews. His influence in the space comes from trust earned from a devoted audience over years of publishing relevant content. Creators like Brownlee have their own brand to support. Not to publish a follow-up video addressing the broken screens might tarnish the credibility he has built.  

How influencers can help with crisis communications

Here are a few quick takeaways from the Brownlee follow up vlog which assists Samsung with their crisis communications.

The video:

  • Communicates quickly and authentically with Samsung’s and his own audience. 
  • Ensures relevant people know what this issue is and what Samsung is doing to resolve the situation.
  • Seeks to neutralise negative sentiment from other reviewers and influencer by naming the affected reviewers and explaining what appears to have happened in each separate instance
  • Speaks directly to people who have pre-ordered the phone slated for release in the US on 26 April. Seeks to allay their fears and emphases the issue not to remove the shield from the screen

When to work with influencers through crisis communications

There's the age-old adage:  Have friends before you need friends. Former Australian prime minister, John Howard put it well when he said: You can’t fatten a pig on market day. This is another reason why building long-term, mutually beneficial relationships between brand and influencer are so important. It’s important to have those strong influencer relationships in place before a crisis hits. Avoid bringing in a wave of new influencers only as a response to a negative situation. Instead, leverage existing relationships to focus on strong communication goals and community engagement.

That said, you should also be listening to all conversations happening online mentioning your brand. You need to identify the dissenters who have an impact. And aim to neutralise their negative sentiment by providing them with timely, accurate facts about the situation along with the brand’s intended solutions to rectify the situation.

No comment or direct message should go unanswered by the influencer. Communicators need a well-considered response plan in place. The basic responses can be handled by the influencer. More complicated responses might be given via a URL link to a brand-owned FAQ landing page. For negative, angry posts or complicated questions, take the conversation offline.

Scott Guthrie is a professional adviser within the influencer marketing industry. He is an event speaker, university guest lecturer, media commentator on influencer marketing and active blogger. He works with brands, agencies and platforms to achieve meaningful results from influencer marketing. That tells you something about him but it's not giving you a lot of detail, is it? So, read more here.

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