Anne Buttar - Crisis PR, We need to be prepared & Working with Influencers, The Do's and Don'ts

Interview with
Anne Buttar
Anne Buttar - Crisis PR, We need to be prepared & Working with Influencers, The Do's and Don'ts

Anne Buttar, Wonderland Firm

There’s a well-known quote credited to Benjamin Franklin from the 1700s that reads, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”. As an inventor, scientist (remember that handy thing called electricity?), philosopher and co-founder of the United States this guy is probably worth heeding.

And indeed, the phrase has become clichéd for a very good reason: it’s spot on the money, and never more so than in business.

Our digitally oriented business world is a minefield for the unprepared and as we post online more and more it’s clear we need an urgent response to Benjamin’s cautionary wisdom.

In this podcast we talk to Anne Buttar of Wonderland Firm who reminds us that using social media as part of our business strategy without plenty of planning (“A screenshot lasts forever these days!” Anne Buttar) is asking for trouble.

Just being in business can trip us up unexpectedly and at any moment.

Anne tells us how creating a crisis management plan can provide insurance against Murphy’s many laws, particularly the ‘what could possibly go wrong?’ scenario.  

"We have to be careful! We need to look at what the crisis could be because we don't want to get caught with our pants down!"

Anne Buttar

For big boy celebrity sports stars, personalities or entrepreneurs, a badly worded tweet can have serious legal repercussions.

For SME’s, a poorly judged response to a bad online review can wreak havoc with your message and your audience.

Or what say you’re blindsided by an internet troll? Would you know how to respond calmly and constructively? Or would you feel indignant, defensive? React impulsively (possibly in anger) and even argue back?

If the proverbial does hit the fan anytime soon, what should you do?

Well, it’s not actually about what should you do, it’s about what you should’ve done already.


Anne suggests – and she will work with you on this – to sit down and have a think about the way your business brand is presenting itself online and then think worst case scenario.

Without meaning to sound like negative Nancy, look for every single possible detail that could go wrong BEFORE it happens. Prepare for when things go pear-shaped. Pre-empt the damage to lessen and neutralise its effect, maybe even reverse the effect – much easier that way.

Because without thinking too hard about it you’ll realise there’s a lot that can muck you up! Death in the business, employer misconduct, an unfavourable media article, a destructive in-house issue, a product that doesn’t live up to consumer expectations, a grumpy retail worker …    

How to step back and plan for the worst:

  • Gather your key personnel together
  • Appoint a Crisis Management Person (avoid choosing the CEO)
  • Identify all potential pressure point situations
  • Document a diplomatic strategy for handling each one
  • Devise an army of prewritten email responses, press releases and well worded social media replies
  • Review your plan every month to keep current with fast changes and ‘big sky’ situations
  • Review who you have in charge of your social media strategy. Ensure that person has the maturity and experience to be the ultimate professional   
  • If in doubt get in touch with a professional PR consultant for assistance.

This last recommendation can save face as well as money and reputation, and if something does happen “you’ll be ready, or at least feel solid enough in your plan and in your knowing to be ready to move forward with confidence” (Anne Buttar).

If you have your crisis management plan in place then suddenly need to use it, just follow the steps:

  1. Own the crisis
  2. Look impassively and objectively the situation
  3. Get on the phone. Talk. Listen with empathy and sympathy
  4. Get all the facts
  5. Get it offline asap
  6. Put up an apology
  7. Take control of the narrative; post positive stories, tips, new content, good reviews
  8. Reassure your loyal raving fans that they are right to like you and that you have just made a mistake:

“To err is human but to come forward takes balls, people, so just do it!”

Anne Buttar,

And with that we segue into another high viz danger zone which is probably best to include in your crisis management strategy.

Because now we’re talking Influencers.

An Influencer is someone who has established credibility with an online audience. However, tapping into that credibility to benefit your brand can be fraught with difficulties!

Influencers are your best friends or your biggest enemies … so cross those T’s and dot those I’s, coz you’re going to need to do a bit of work before partnering up.

“Working with Influencers can be like herding cats.”

Anne Buttar,

  • Do your due diligence!
  • Think about why you want to work with an Influencer
  • Look for an Influencer who hits your target audience and speaks to your brand demographic
  • Watch what your desired Influencer is currently posting online: products, brands and how many of them: Or are they just “taking free shit from people to get paid?” (Anne Buttar)
  • Compare their bio to what they are posting; is it true to form? If not, “Bye! You’re not aligning with what you’re selling me!” (Anne Buttar)
  • Look at their engagement rate (depending on current algorithms) and see if it compares with what they’re delivering
  • Ask questions and provide content parameters
  • Create a contract which outlines in explicit detail what you expect – hashtags, tagging, costs.

“Social media is an amazing playing field if you get it right, but it can also be the wild west depending on where you dip your toe in.”

Anne Buttar,

There are Influencer/ talent agencies which can connect your business to the right person. WeAreTenzing is one, Johnson & Laird is another. Well worth a call.

In fact, a wee coup for Anne recently was when her client, Sara Quilter of Tailor (listen to our podcasts on this superstar) and celebrity, Jeremy Wells, Meridian Energy advocate collaborated in an ad for the Mevo hire/share electric car scheme. If you want to have a look at the ad go to:

And in the meantime, remember Anne’s parting words when handling your business’s public relations and social media strategies:

“It’s a dangerous neighbourhood. Don’t go in alone.”

Anne Buttar,

Contact Anne on the website or email her or check out Wonderland Firm via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

And when you need help in moving your business from chaos to control visit Craig Oliver at

Or read the show notes from our other amazingly informative, inspirational and gritty podcasts at

So many insights, tips and ideas to be had! Just sit back, listen or read - and learn.


Go on, smash through the glass ceiling and grow your business into something remarkable!



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