Posts Categorized: Crisis Communications

Four paths to patriotic public relations

By Jenny Smith, Acuity PR Our nation’s birthday is a great time to reflect on our founding principles. In today’s climate of alternative facts, fake news and ADHD reporting, it’s important to ask ourselves: How can we practice truly patriotic public relations?

1. Practice the Four-Way Test

When business executive and Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor set out to save the Club Aluminum Products distribution company from bankruptcy, he created policies to reflect his faith and his standards. Taylor wrote The Four-Way Test of the things we think, say or do. Today, The Four-Way Test is used by Rot ... ⇢ read more

Crisis Communications: PR needs a seat at the table

For companies like Pepsi and United, these past few weeks have not been “friendly” after long hours trying to battle crises within their respective organizations. Every time a crisis hits major corporations, such as these, public relations professionals are left scratching their heads wondering who is in charge and why the PR people “didn’t have a seat at the table?”…from the beginning. PR professionals are oftentimes called in after the crisis hits versus having a seat at the table during the initial planning and strategizing phases. It’s clear that in the case of Pepsi, the advertising firm created what they thought was a home run ad for the soft drink maker:  Model Kendall Jenner handing a police officer a Pepsi during a protest rally. However, my guess is that no one ran the ad by their Communications Director or possibly their outside public relations counsel because if they did, I wou ... ⇢ read more

The Big Bad Wolf: When Mother Nature Strikes

As a child, my mom diligently worked with me to read books every week. From stories of emperors with no clothes to giants in the sky, one of my favorites was the story of “The Three Little Pigs.” To this day, I am not sure why that story resonated with me, although I am sure it had something to do with the fact my mom always made funny voices for the pigs and the wolf. The moral of the story rings true, especially in Oklahoma; better to work hard and be prepared than to be ill-prepared. During the spring months, we experience a litany of weather. High winds, thunderstorms and of course tornadoes, all of which can all be devastating to property and life-threatening to those unprepared. Are your clients prepared for Mother Nature's onslaught? Use these five tips to build the foundation of any great crisis communications plan:
  1. Have a backpack with several printed copies of your crisis communications plan, contact numbers for essential employees and external media conta ... ⇢ read more

The Art of Apology

Reis_BlogImageIn times of controversy, Elton John was right. Sorry seems to be the hardest word. Look no further than Bill Clinton, Paula Deen and British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward.

In what The Atlantic calls “one of the most famous apologies in modern American history,” President Bill Clinton sounded stony and defiant in August 1998 when, after seven months of denials, he delivered a televised speech admitting to a sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky. Paula Deen’s ill-fated 2013 apology tour for using a racial epithet resulted in the loss of sponsors such as The Food Networ ... ⇢ read more

Launching the Common Sense Communications Revolution

There have been a few events/circumstances that occurred recently, which have prompted me to consider starting a new movement. Who's with me? “What is it?” you are asking? Well, I would like to propose a new direction/focus to the practice of Public Relations and call it…Common Sense Communications. I think it might better explain what we do and how we personally approach the discipline as it relates to our clients and life in general. A client called recently with a potential crisis at its facility, which was brought to their attention by a customer. Without providing all the important information to us, they called to ask, “What should we do about it?”  Now, I have an amazing team and we all had the same question all at once for that client. Any guesses? You're probably right. Our immediate response was, "Is it true?" They told us they needed to get back to us to see if it was true. We waited and waited with multiple e-mails coming through without any straight answer ... ⇢ read more

POWERBALL: PR Nightmare Waiting to Happen

By Felicia K. Knight, President The Knight Canney Group KnightCanney.com Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner! Three winners, actually. Yes, the Powerball has been won. To all you winners, your dreams have come true. But you are about to be thrust headlong into a public relations nightmare—unless you take steps to save yourselves. None of you live in Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio, or South Carolina, which means, by law, you must be identified as a winner. And that’s when the ticket hits the fan. Once you’re photographed holding that big check, you will be amazed at the number of relatives, friends, business associates, classmates, co-workers, and pen pals who will descend on you with their mouths running and their hands open. Not only will you be subject to the wants of others you’ll be ... ⇢ read more

What Chipotle can teach us about crisis communications

Food safety problems can be a recipe for disaster in the restaurant industry. Just ask Chipotle Mexican Grill. In the span of two months beginning in October, the company has dealt with an outbreak of E. coli infections that sickened 52 people in nine states and forced the company to temporarily close some locations along with reports earlier this month that up to 140 people fell ill from norovirus linked to a Chipotle restaurant in Boston. The situation was summed up best by US News & World Report: “For a company founded on fresh ingredients and locally sourced food, it was a nightmare that seemed to have no end.” Indeed. The company’s stock prices fell 24 percent. Then, in a conference call with investors, Chipotle co-CEO Monty Moran blamed the crisis on the media for over-reporting the illnesses. But, 24 hours later, something remarkable happened. Chipotle Fou ... ⇢ read more

Where do you see the future of PR heading?

Our future is coming together. As a profession, public relations will redefine itself by casting off the label of “public relations.” Our future is in earning the mantle of strategic counselor and providing leaders with creative solutions to their problems. Clients don’t care what the marketing mix is—and neither should we. The lines between digital, social media, advertising and public relations are more blurred (and unnecessary) than ever before. Most strategic communication efforts will not require every channel or discipline, but if we fail to consider each one, we run the risk of missed opportunities. Coming together in this way creates a more desirable market overall. Actually, employment in the PR industry is expected to grow 12 per ... ⇢ read more

Crisis Response: You must be swift, you must be decisive, but above all, you must be accurate

In the weeks following the Germanwings Flight 9525 crash, Lufthansa Group and its Chief Executive Carsten Spohr faced tremendous pressure as they crafted messaging for customers, employees, investors and the general public. PR practitioners (myself included) have closely observed the company’s response strategy unfold. One of the biggest twists came in late March, when Lufthansa said it knew of the pilot’s depression diagnosis, but did not prevent him from working. The recent history of flight disasters underscores the critical need for airlines to deploy swift and decisive crisis communication, but not at the expense of accuracy. My evaluation of Lufthansa’s crisis response aligns most closely with that of Scott Farrell, president of global corporate communication for Golin, ... ⇢ read more

Public Relations Pros Adapt in a Soft Economy

 jenevans_webheadshot By Jennifer Evans I live and work in Houston, Texas. Houston is known for many things, but the oil & gas industry remains a driving business here. Consequently, we see indicators of economic dips due to oil prices before other U.S. markets. While I don’t want to discourage anyone unduly, we are seeing some of those signs in the U.S. and in Texas right now. Public Relations practitioners – internal as well as agency leaders – should pay attention and prepare to help clients/employers adapt. After all, part of the job is therapy, right? Here are a few handy tips to help you help your clients. 1)      Be prepared to have the conversation⇢ read more

Nonprofit PR – You Can’t Afford Not To

teamworks-logo-mediumBy Barb Harris & Sharon Kreher, teamworks communication management There’s always been an appropriate tension between what nonprofit agencies spend on their mission and what they spend on administration. And certainly, that’s a ratio one should consider in evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of a charity. But, the tendency to adhere too rigidly to the “spend as little as you can on admin” often backfires.  As any for-profit business understands, sometimes you have to invest dollars in order to generate more funds. That means expenditures in facilities, staff, capacity, advertising, and yes, public relations. While nonprofits don’t think in terms of “profits” per se, they do h ... ⇢ read more