Social Media In A Crisis: Mitigating Brand Image

Open Access
Giacobello, Dana Michelle
Area of Honors:
Advertising/Public Relations
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Steve Manuel, Thesis Supervisor
  • Susan Mary Strohm, Honors Advisor
  • public relations
  • brand image
  • social media
  • crisis communications
Inconclusive patterns of results are found consistently throughout literature regarding a company’s digital crisis communication and its impact on a brand and brand perception. This thesis aims to close some of these gaps by conducting a content analysis of 2,693 Facebook posts made by consumers during three companies’ respective crises. The results of the study show that the type of feedback companies receive on their social media during a crisis is related to the type of crisis that the company is experiencing. Three major crisis categories have been identified: company values crisis, compromised social media crisis and product/service offering failure crisis. The overwhelming majority of comments are negative, while the intended recipient of these posts varies according to the type of crisis. The size and history of the company is believed to have an impact on the social media feedback as well. Lastly, these results were then used to create a social media in a crisis framework.