Meet the 2023 Crisis Index

Allison Horton

June 21st, 2023

A brand’s reputation takes years, decades, sometimes centuries to build. Yet, it can all come crumbling down in a matter of minutes.

Today, we published Memo’s 2023 Crisis Index. We examined how people engage with news of major brand crises over the last 12 months — from some of the world’s most prominent banks and retailers, to popular fast food chains and car manufacturers. It covers the factors that influenced readership (unique visitors to an article page) across different types of crises and the role of comms through it all.

Through our research, we gathered learnings from some brand wins and stumbles, giving you some actionable, readership-backed insights to inform your media strategy should a crisis arise in your world. Knock on wood.

This blog gives you a small glimpse into the report, which you can read in full in our Resource Center.

Social media silence doesn’t mean a crisis isn’t brewing.

Not all crises create social chatter, which might make them harder to spot. Car and car part recalls are the perfect example of negative brand news that attract readers but not social engagement. Over 20 million people read about vehicle recalls over the last year. Think Tesla was the most read? Think again.

Perhaps it’s the fact that people never truly stop shopping for cars or the idea that people read most about what could potentially impact their daily lives. Either way, people love reading about vehicle recalls, and we’ll never stop tracking it.

Narratives drive readership regardless of impact.

Credit Suisse had 6x the assets of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). Yet, the Credit Suisse collapse made up only 15% of readership across both bank crises. 

Readership around the SVB failure was driven by celebrity commentary, politicization of the collapse, and stories of impact on well-known consumer brands. It’s the narrative around impact and the story of the crisis that drove readership more than the sheer economic impact of the failure.

Top-read coverage around the Credit Suisse collapse focused on larger ramifications for the U.S. and European banking systems, but lacked many of the salient stories and names that arose during the SVB collapse.

People read most about what they think will impact them.

Sounds obvious, but readership proves just how much truth that statement holds. The Hollywood writers strike is the perfect example. Celebrity writers and actors spoke out early about the strike as the timeline for negotiations dwindled, but readership quickly dropped off.

In fact, 20x more people read about Netflix’s crack down on password sharing than they did about writers demanding fair wages.

More insights.

In the full 2023 Crisis Index we unpack how brand responses, timing, and other factors influence readership for better and for worse. We tackle crises like layoffs, unionization efforts, and controversial celebrity partnerships. We studied countless crises so you don’t have to live it to learn it. Knock on wood.

Book a demo today to see what Memo can do for you

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