In 2015 Look and Listen

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Jim Satterfield looks back at 2014, and charts a path for the coming year.

As with any year, we have seen disturbing situations of domestic and international unrest, political confusion, senseless acts of violence, and natural disasters with far-reaching impact. We have also seen multiple examples of the strength and power of human spirit and ingenuity in the face of challenging times and crises.

Threats continue to evolve; as technology moves into its next phase of sophistication, so too do those who use technology to foster misinformation and distrust, breach sensitive data, and attempt to attack and hack – with pinpoint accuracy – to create the greatest amount of damage.

All too often we have seen these attacks come as a complete surprise to the intended victims, or if not by surprise, certainly by denial.

At Firestorm, we have a simple philosophy: To know, you must listen and look.

How do you know what you don’t know? To know, you must listen and look.

Working with clients in crisis, we have found that they have no formal intelligence network before, during, or after a crisis. They find themselves continually surprised by these emerging events.

In most cases, there were clear warnings signs or ‘indicators’ that were missed. These indicators should have triggered decisions and actions that could have prevented or mitigated crisis impacts. These indicators were seen in behaviors of concern and on social media.

Where do you start? You would not consider launching a new product or a marketing campaign without understanding what others are doing and saying in your space. To know, you must listen and look. You need an intelligence network. To build your intelligence network, you must

  • Encourage others to share what they see and hear,
  • Recognize and respond to behaviors of concern, and
  • Establish a formal targeted social media monitoring program.

Over the years, Firestorm has used social media monitoring as an effective tool in crises. In 2014, we have seen merged media monitoring expand for some clients to address operational, brand, reputation, and security exposures prior to crises occurring.

Many executives are not active in social media. They view social media as a marketing tool at best. Those who have attempted to adopt social media become quickly disillusioned because of the level of effort required. We find that many discount the risk management potential of social media monitoring. Their initial reaction is that social media monitoring is only a Google search. The value is marginalized.

So what is an intelligence network? There are two components in building these intelligence networks – Listening and Looking. We see:

  • Listening as creating conversion aggregators and identifying what is being communicated regarding your organization and people. Utilize streams, phrases, and words. Listening is general situational awareness.
  • Looking as focusing on a specific location, event, or person based upon an identified crisis, threat, risk, exposure, or vulnerability. Utilize geo-coding and spheres of influence. Looking is targeted awareness.

PREDICT.PLAN.PERFORM.®  To know, you must listen and look.

Along with this theme, Firestorm will deliver an increased number of no-fee webinars throughout the year, followed by content briefs, survey analyses, and Senior Leadership team opinion and analyses. You may view our full calendar here.

We will also continue to work with our partners and Expert Council Members to create and deliver timely, practical training. We are also pleased and excited to launch our quarterly Advanced Learning Webshops – longer, fee-based sessions – that create an opportunity for members in your organization to develop the skills needed to keep your people and property safer and more secure.

On behalf of the entire Firestorm organization, we wish you a prosperous and safe New Year,

Jim Satterfield

[email protected]


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