Viewing entries tagged
crisis

MH370 - Three important crisis communication lessons

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MH370 - Three important crisis communication lessons

Look, there are very few people out there that really think that Malaysian Airlines have handled this crisis well. And even fewer who are PR or Crisis Communications experts. Three very important lessons can be learnt – which can be applied to most companies, whether or not you are flying 660,000 lb mission critical device with 239 souls.... find out what they are...

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Batman, the War Against Crime & Public Relations

There are possibly many learnings from the heavily armed gunman attacked an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater early Friday, that terrified audiences, killed 12 and wounded 38... but how will Warner Bros manage the inevitable PR before their $250 million project sales are effected?

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Avoiding the PR crisis before it happens

It’s always great to see when a sensible business gets their PR so right in a proactive manner.

For anyone that ever spent 5 minutes in a car in Southern California, they are (without doubt) bound to have heard the rather dodgy sounding radio commercial for 1-800-GET THIN and their revolutionary lap-band procedures that will have you dropping 125 lbs and whizzing around shopping malls in no time. Oh, and your insurance will cover it. But hurry – this offer won’t be around forever.

OK – so the commercial is really, really tacky and their jingle sounds no better when my 9 year old suddenly starts humming it.  You listen to this advert and you know, instinctively, that something is wrong. Somehow you visualize yourself walking into a very dirty and smelly waiting room and being helped by personal that don’t look qualified to take your temperature – let alone open your stomach up.

California has some very large people, and when you live in a city that chooses to wear sweat-pants and do yoga on the beach, you know you got to look good. It therefore stands to reason that there is some very serious amount of business here.  And as any savvy businessperson has probably already worked out, 1-800-GET-THIN is really only a marketing company – that in turn provides leads to independent clinics that in turn provide surgery using Allergan’s Lap-Band weight-loss device.

What do you do when you provide the devise that according to lawsuits is central to five Southern California patients whom have died since 2009 following Lap-Band surgeries at clinics affiliated with 1-800-GET-THIN?  You do the right thing.

Allergan today announce that they will no longer sell its Lap-Band weight-loss device to companies affiliated with the 1-800-GET-THIN marketing company. In a business where everyone is chasing the dollar and making their next quarterly goals for financial pundits, this is the right thing to do. From a business perspective, while it’s never easy to turn down sales, in this instance the PR team is handling what could be a PR crisis very well.

Good luck to Allergan Inc – smart PR move.

Now hopfully my 9-year-old can stop humming that stupidly anoying jingle.

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Who are the key decision makers and are the spokes people media trained?

Every company has a organizational chart - a ladder of power, but how this structure functions during a crisis must be clarified with all the stakeholders in the company; particularly the communications department. A crisis can hit at any time, and the company needs to determine secondary command structures in case key decision-makers are unavailable at the time.

Not only is it important for those to know who need to spring to action (and how those people are contacted) - it is equally important that everyone else in the organization knows they can not speak on behalf of the company or to the press. Something that is best handled in a company employee handbook.

Organizations also need to decide which situations warrant which spokes person, and plan accordingly.

Most importantly, the spokes people need to be media trained in advance. Effective spokes people should receive professional media training and should be well versed on how to deal with the press. An organization's spokes person need not necessarily be the most senior staffers. For example, in some cases, the CEO is not the most efficient spokes person due to experience, knowledge or geographical location.

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7 Tips for Tony Hayward to Survive the BP Oil Spill Congressional Hearing

If Tony Hayward, the CEO of BP, and ultimate person responsible for the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf wants to survive the present Congressional panel (heckler disruptions aside), he needs to not only get his message straight, but also get the delivery correct. Just like in any crisis communications situation he needs to work on:

1. Credibility – so that the panel has confidence in the message and believes in him.

2. Appropriate context – for the panel and ultimately the population of the US.

3. Right content – which is appropriate for the population of the US (and no doubt the viewers of the countless other international media following this event).

4. Clarity – so that the message is unequivocal.

5. Continuity – with previous and proposed BP marketing activity.

6. Simplicity – so that the message cannot be misunderstood or misinterpret.

7. Impact – so the media cover the story from BP's angle.

We also know from previous news reports that Mr Hayward is not a night owl (OK, I get he needs to be up early to do business back in Blighty). If I was him, I'd be spending a lot of long evenings anticipating what the panel (and journalist) are likely to ask and prepare my response and messaging in reply. I'd be spending my time exactly how a crisis communications spokes person should be preparing:

Anticipate – Prepare – Rehearse
Anticipate – Prepare – Rehearse
Anticipate – Prepare – Rehearse

While Tony may be one of the most hated people in America (has anyone run him head-to-head with Joran Van der Sloot?) if BP can get their crisis communications right, they could emerge a stronger and more profitable company.

What do you think?

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