Posts Categorized: Reputation Management

Crisis Communications: PR needs a seat at the table

Jason Brown, PublicCity PR 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 p ... ⇢ read more

Election Day and beyond: Running for office in the Digital Age

It’s time to vote! Perhaps you ran to the polls this morning to help the candidate you love become our next president. Or, maybe your vote just celebrates your right to do so and the end of a very long ad season. Either way, there’s no denying the Trump/Clinton race has been particularly intense. Dominated by unprecedented levels of mudslinging and scandals—the effect may last longer than Election Day. A sky-high level of controversy is characteristic of this year's election. But, it begs a question about whether Trump and Clinton are that much more controversy worthy than candidates in the past. Could this level of scrutiny be just a natural outcome of running for office in the Digital Age? Trump and Clinton have both had their turns wiping egg off their faces. Trump has been skewered for such things as his tax returns, ⇢ read more

Be Here Now…

My wife, a human resources executive, recently attended a half-day professional development program and was so stunned by the behavior of the other participants that she was nearly (not quite totally) speechless when I asked her about how it went. “The program content was fine,” she said. “But I couldn’t believe the other ‘so-called professionals’ – they were anything but… Instead of using the time to learn, network and develop relationships with other HR professionals, virtually all of the other participants at my table had, and kept, their faces and their attention buried in their smart phones the entire time.” Prior to and during program breaks, every person at her table was focused on whatever was happening online via their phone – not at all on the other people right in front of them. “It struck me as highly unprofessional.” As public relations professionals, there are times where we need to be connected to our offices, our collea ... ⇢ read more

Five Best Practices for Maximizing Your PR Agency’s Effectiveness

By Solveig Raftery, The Firm Public Relations & Marketing It's a turning point many companies and organizations eventually reach: After establishing a promising product or service, you decide to hire a PR agency to promote your valuable efforts. You conduct due diligence, research PR companies, and find one that offers the services you seek and that understands your vision and goals. You sign a contract. Now what? Hiring a PR agency is a significant investment, and of course you want to ensure this investment is effective. Fortunately, when an organization and a PR firm collaborate well, they can reap very satisfying results. Listed below are simple tips to help maximize this relationship.
  1. Conduct Thorough Planning
The first step toward a successful PR campaign is preparation. This involves an in-depth planning process, including compiling a strategic schedule for PR efforts such as media ... ⇢ 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

Shiny objects and made-up comments fuel PR controversy

lisa fd image This photo from a recent Vanity Fair article (2013) shows the glare from a building, that has resulted in a PR controversy. By Lisa Faulkner-Dunne, Lisa Faulkner-Dunne and Associates Public Relations It certainly seems like common sense, and basic ethics, to avoid making up names and  posting rash and inflammatory comments on your client’s digital media pages, or even worse, on their adversary’s or competitor’s  pages. Yet this ridiculous junior high type behavior happens. In Dallas, a former NBC anchor-turned-PR-specialist (hired, no doubt because he had “good media contacts,”) recently disgraced himself, the law firm that hired him and a high profile client at the City of Dallas, by resorting to ... ⇢ read more