Posts Categorized: Crisis Communications

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

It’s Not the Mistake, but the Cover-Up that Counts

I love teachers.  Anyone who follows me on Facebook knows my daughter teaches music.  She, and most of her colleagues do a great job. But this is a PR Blog, and hence, it is with a heavy heart I read this article in the Omaha World-Herald.  So, I’m taking this opportunity to remind my clients, my colleagues and my followers it is better to confess to the crime (mistake, if you prefer) than to cover it up. http://www.omaha.com/article/20130507/NEWS/705079937/1694#peanut-butter-cover-up-costs-teachers-their-jobs I’ll never forget the wise words of a Sunday school teacher and High School counselor, who told us, “It is okay to say you are wrong.”  These teachers and the paraprofessionals have learned a lesson the hard way.  But we ALL can learn from their mistake.  Just think what damage they’ve done to their profession and their district.  Trust is s ... ⇢ read more

Crisis Communications = Mental Fatigue

BrianChandler_Headshot By Brian Chandler, Commonwealth PR I remember this client’s crisis like it was yesterday. We were in the middle of a meeting at their office when the CEO was immediately ushered out of the room with no explanation. A few minutes later, I was also summoned out of the room, leaving everyone confused and unsure whether to continue the meeting or call it quits. What happened next involved me setting up shop in someone else’s office, using their computer, paper and even some supplies, to handle a crisis situation that involved a death. In respect for the family and my client, I will refrain from mentioning their names. You should know that this wasn’t my first crisis. In fact, thro ... ⇢ read more

PR planning can help you prepare for TODAY and tomorrow

           Ann Curry It could have and should have been handled better. That’s what I think most of us in the PR profession and millions of TV viewers thought when we watched the tearful departure of anchor Ann Curry from the TODAY show on June 28. As someone who works with a great team to help companies and individuals prepare for and deal with a variety of crisis situations, difficult announcements and more, I found it almost unthinkable that NBC would not have had a well-thought out plan in place to deal with Ms. Curry’s departure should word leak out, which it did. But sadly, NBC’s reaction was not to respond. So began a very public and agonizing week of wild spe ... ⇢ read more