Read enough crisis communications plans and you’ll see a host of contingencies for communicating with journalists, lawmakers, shareholders and customers. You’ll also see a variety of templated news releases, dark websites and proposed hashtags. Rarely, however, will you see any strategies and tactics directed at one of the most important audiences in any crisis: the employees who work for the organization at the center of the incident.
Why are employees so often overlooked? Maybe it’s because communicating with them is a routine matter at most organizations. Maybe it’s because employee communications lacks the glamor of media relations and executive communications. Or... ⇢ read more
Harold Burson, cofounder of global agency powerhouse Burson-Marsteller (now BCW) who died last Friday in Memphis, Tenn., was an icon in the public relations industry.
He was 98, and still worked three days a week until late last year.
Burson cofounded Burson-Marsteller in New York in 1953, and the agency grew to become a global force with a deep roster of international clients.
A Memphis native, Burson attended the University of Mississippi, then joined the U.S. Army where he worked as a reporter for the American Forces Network, writing scripts for radio broadcasts on the Nuremberg trials, notably the proceedings against Hermann Göring.... ⇢ read more
“When I was young, I was called a rugged individualist. When I was in my fifties, I was considered eccentric. Here I am doing and saying the same things I did then, and I’m labeled senile.” - George Burns
“We’re taking the world’s greatest success – longevity – and making it our worst consequence. When you refer to an aging class as ‘the other’, you are not going to treat them well.” - Joseph Coughlin, PhD, founder and director of the AgeLab at MIT
“We are the people our parents warned us about” – Jimmy Buffett
Last month, as this greying Boomer got... ⇢ read more
As reputation keepers, much jargon continually tries to make its way into our vocabulary and play deck. Some of it’s for a season, but some stand the test of time and become best practices. Being authentic is one of the latter.
Merriam-Webster defines authentic as “true to one’s own personality, spirit or character.” Also, “not false or imitation; REAL.” When thinking of how this applies to brands, organizations, communications strategy and the real life of companies and their people (both internal and external audiences), this word among all others is a moral compass for distinguishing the good from the great.
At the... ⇢ read more
As public relations counselors, we’re used to preparing our clients for how to deal with bad news. But, this past September 2018, our client experienced the opposite issue – how to avoid being overwhelmed by good news!
United Food Bank of Mesa, Arizona, learned that it would receive an abundance of USDA bonus food, along with trade mitigation foods resulting from U.S. trade renegotiations. In all, the food bank would receive about 3 million additional pounds of food, most of it requiring refrigeration.
For a food bank, 3 million pounds... ⇢ read more
By Amy Kossoff Smith, President Write Ideas, Inc. and Power Hour Editing, and Editor/Founder of PRCG Powerlines
Note - Picture taken in the PV (Polar Vortex)
When you ask PR professionals to battle the elements, find a workaround with canceled flights, and dig out parkas, face masks, and hand warmers, what happens? You get 26 of them assembled in the middle of a historic Polar Vortex, ready to bundle up and buckle down, with another 10 participating virtually. All joking aside, the PRConsultants Group’s 24th Annual Conference traveled to incoming President Jason Brown’s home town of Detroit a.k.a. Motor City for professional development, networking,... ⇢ read more
By Brian Chandler, APR
If you’re looking for a so-called “Victory Royale” with your public relations work, or counsel to clients, you might want to set your crosshairs on how Epic Games handles public relations and marketing around its popular game Fortnite.
In case you’ve been off the grid or stuck under a rock for the last two years, Fornite is the most popular video game available right now. It is easy to think of video games as strictly for kids and teens, but Fortnite has attracted individuals of all ages, demographics, geographic locations and cultures, with more than 125 million players... ⇢ read more
What crisis management lessons can a disaster like Hurricane Florence provide to organizations and the PR pros who support them?
Recently, I flew into North Carolina to help a friend with what started as a small, rural nonprofit dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. My friend saw a need and stepped in — using her natural gifts and savvy about people — to grow the organization to be a key player in her county during Hurricane Florence.
Our PR Challenge: Staying “rural relevant” while quickly getting the organization “more sophisticated” in media relations and big-time grant opportunity development.
After my years of working... ⇢ read more
Earlier this month, International House of Pancakes (aka IHOP) made a bold decision to rebrand. At least, that’s what people initially thought. IHOP announced June 4 on Twitter it was “flippin’ our name to IHOb.” The company didn’t tell anyone what the “b” would stand for initially, building suspense for the big reveal.
People guessed everything from biscuits, to bacon to butternut squash. Many people assumed “b” would stand for “breakfast” since IHOP is known for its pancakes and other morning fare. For a week, IHOb (the name had already been changed on Twitter) continued to engage with followers via social... ⇢ read more
Everyone makes mistakes. We have been taught this from a very young age. In many situations, mistakes are understandable and easily handled. However, they do tend to make situations more difficult, and often, more complicated. When your company is confronted with a crisis, there is rarely any leg room for added complications. Addressing possible mistakes or pitfalls in crisis management is integral to the process. Although you cannot see into the future, there are a number of common pitfalls that may be stealthily avoided with the right amount of preparation, communication and teamwork.
No Action Plan
In order to tackle a crisis... ⇢ read more
The annual juggernaut that is the SXSW film, interactive, music, and media conference recently wrapped up in Austin, and as always, programming and conversations were driven by cultural and scientific innovations, ideas, and trends. One of this year’s most-discussed trends was blockchain technology and how it might revolutionize not just the exchange of financial assets, but everything—much like the Internet changed everything.
A simple definition: Blockchain is a shared, distributed ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network. An asset can be tangible, such as a house, a car, cash, or land; or intangible... ⇢ read more