360i Encroaches On PR Agency Turf With Crisis Management Service

Service Includes Technology That Monitors Online Brand Mentions, Turns Media Buying and Search Terms On and Off When Crises Arise

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Rebecca McCuiston
Rebecca McCuiston

As PR agencies have crossed the line into digital marketing, digital agency 360i is now also crossing into PR agency territory with its latest launch: a crisis management practice.

"The proliferation of mobile devices and internet access, combined with the catalyst of consumers' demand for transparency has put brands in a reactive position," said Rebecca McCuiston, senior VP of influencer marketing at 360i, in an e-mail. "We have always counseled clients in social crisis situations, but as the atmosphere becomes more volatile and social attacks more abundant, we wanted to provide a deeper level of process, planning and training to navigate crises."

To catch online crises in the making, the agency developed a proprietary technology that automatically monitors online brand buzz and turns media buying and search terms on and off when crises arise, it said. The tool will be part of the broader service, which the shop describes as a "brand reputation management offering that combines social marketing best practices with crisis preparation planning, strategy and social listening."

The shop's latest service is not new to Ms. McCuiston or 360i CEO Sarah Hofstetter, who both began their careers on the PR side of the business.

As 360i officially dabbles in crisis communications, PR agencies that typically handle crises have also spent the past few years investing in digital media buying and content creation. Among those PR agencies are Weber Shandwick, Edelman, Ketchum and Cohn & Wolfe.

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