Tag Archives: Crisis Communications

Air Force General Anti-Racism Response Video Goes Viral

Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria’s address last week to Air Force Academy students and staff in response racial attacks that appeared on message boards at the school set the bar for effective crisis response. It’s no surprise that the video has gone viral.

His five-minute speech, during which he encouraged those in attendance to film and share on social media, is worth watching in full.

PR Daily broke down his address, highlighting several key points that made it so effective:

  • Message was unambiguous
  • Strong closing
  • Built on the group’s collective power
  • Demand for action
  • Avoided politics
  • Strong delivery emphasized audience connection

Adding to these, and having worked with clients on crisis responses, one aspect that gave the address such impact was its authenticity. Surely everyone who heard it live, watched it on YouTube or on one of the many media sites that picked it up, walked away with no doubts that Silveria set the right tone for condemning the actions, and for moving forward as the preeminent educational institution that represents the Air Force and the country.

Mid-2017 Crisis Communications Overview

Adidas crisis communications responseHere is a recap of the some of the best crisis communications gaffes, courtesy of PR Daily and Meltwater, that you may not have heard of. Be sure to check out the takeaways at the end.

Shea Moisture
This company featured a series of television commercials that profiled different types of hair types, but unfortunately they showed a limited number of minorities in their ads. They issued an apology: “We really f-ed this one up. Please know that our intention was not – and would never be – to disrespect our community, and as such, we are pulling this piece immediately because it does not represent what we intended to communicate.”

Adidas
In a tone-deaf blunder, Adidas sent an email out Boston Marathon participants with the subject line: “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon.” It didn’t take long for them to apologize, and the crisis dissipated.

Juicero
Bloomberg news showed how a $400 Wi-Fi-enabled juicer was basically just a ruse, in a video showing a person producing the same amount of juice as the specialty juicer. Reporters were able to wring 7.5 ounces of juice from the specialty packs in a minute and a half. The machine yielded 8 ounces in about two minutes. The startup this week cut its staff by 25 percent, and it offered customers refunds.

Fyre Festival
Billy McFarland and Ja Rule launched a luxury music festival at a private island in the Bahamas, and tickets ran from $2,500 to $250,000 for “deluxe” packages. Instead of the promised extravagant catering, beach yoga sessions, bikini-clad models and yachts to lounge on, attendees found a “disaster tent city” with scant rations. Instagram photos documented sorrowful bread-and-cheese sandwiches and dreadful accommodations. Social media users had a field day mocking the woes of the well-to-do audience and the downfall of the much-hyped event. A criminal investigation is under way and lawsuits abound. Ja Rule’s response: The whole world knows Fyre’s name now,” he said. “This will pass, guys.”

Takeaways
With any crisis situation, including the ones above, having a response plan beforehand can help, and listening and responding to social media in real-time can help turn the tide. Keep these points in mind:

  • When you mess up, genuinely apologize and share what you’ll do to prevent similar mistakes in the future.
  • When in doubt, talk to your community; they’re the people who already support you.
  • Treat your community with respect and listen to what it has to say. If you’re only interested in the bottom line, it will show.

Media Questions During A Crisis

newsIt’s difficult to prepare for a crisis, particularly one that involves media coverage.

To help prepare, here is a list of the most commonly asked questions by the media to serve as a general guide.

Big? picture, journalists are likely to ask six primary questions in a crisis: who, what, where, when, why, and how. They will relate to five broad topics:

  1. What happened?
  2. What caused it to happen?
  3. What does it mean?
  4. Who is to blame?
  5. What are you doing to ensure it does not happen again?

Of course, only some will apply but this comprehensive list of questions is a good start to prepare you and your team for the next crisis:

77 Questions Commonly Asked by Journalists During a Crisis

Read more after the jump…

The Shrinking Denver Media Landscape

crumpled-newspaperThe shrinking Denver media just got even smaller. Last week, the Denver Post announced that 20 journalists took buyouts, and it was followed by an unknown number of additional layoffs.

This brings the total number of newspaper reporters working for Denver’s only metropolitan daily to less than 100. In perspective, 10 years ago, there were an estimated 400 journalists working for either the Post or the now-closed Rocky Mountain News.

Without getting into the critical role the media plays in our community, here are a couple points to consider as we work on behalf of our clients to navigate the Denver media landscape:

Build relationships: It will be nearly impossible to catch the attention of a journalist, let alone build ongoing relationships with the new crop of reporters. Just think, there are 90 journalists, half of which work behind the scenes, covering a metro area with 2 million people.

Strong pitches:  Getting a client’s news in the newspaper will be even more of a challenge, and only the best pitches will succeed. Strong news hooks and trends remain important. Read more after the jump…

Lessons from Coca-Cola and the Super Bowl: Have Thick Skin and a Clear Plan

One of many, many tweets discussing the content of Coke's campaign.

One of many, many tweets discussing the content of Coke’s campaign.

It’s hard to imagine a global brand implementing an advertising and social media campaign without considering all angles. They have focus groups. They have consumer data. They test and validate…and then retest. They have highly paid marketing professionals and even higher-paid legal counsel. So when Coke runs its #AmericaTheBeautiful ad during Super Bowl XLVIII – regardless of what you think of the campaign – don’t call it “ill planned” or think that Coke’s marketing team didn’t assume what would happen on social networks.

Read more after the jump…

Career Makeover: GFM’s Gil Rudawsky
discusses his switch from journalism

At a recent new business pitch, a client asked me if I missed being in journalism.

I stumbled over the question before getting my footing. The short answer is yes, but it’s more complicated than that. I miss journalism from 20 years ago, when reporters had the time and resources to pursue good stories, and when our audiences expected nothing less.

Do I miss the journalism world of the last five years? No way.

Read the entire post at Ragan’s PR Daily.

Best Way to Avoid a Self-Made Crisis? Slow Down!

Image credit: USAToday.com
Depending upon where and when you chose to get your news this morning, this may come as a shock: the United States Supreme Court ruled to largely uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this morning. 
Unfortunately, in the race to be the first to break the news, a handful of major news outlets and a number of politicians (and surely a host of others…) erroneously reported that the ACA had been ruled unconstitutional. And while many of us might have missed the early reports, thanks to social media, screen grabs and other news outlets, the mistakes already are infamous. 
Rule one in a rapid-response situation? Slow down and get all the facts straight before you put your message out there. There’s certainly a risk/reward factor to consider when trying to be “first to market” – but the risk far outweighs the reward if you create your own crisis that requires shifting your focus from the original goal to cleaning up the mess you’ve created in your haste.

An Emerging Trend for 2012: The Collision of Social Media and Crisis Communication

The most frequent questions I encountered in 2011 included: what should we do when a detrimental story about our company breaks online? How do you respond to social media posts or comments from angry customers, or even disgruntled employees? Or do you avoid response and consider deleting comments? Worse, how do you stop the spread of misinformation, or blatantly false claims about your CEO, company or its products?

It used to be that the worst-case scenario for a business going through a crisis was a story appearing on an evening network newscast or in the morning paper. Today, the greater risk is what happens to that story, or any unfavorable story for that matter, when it is broadcasted across social networks. In the era of social media, not only does the public have the opportunity to say, report and offer opinions at will, but they are able to do so without any type of factual check and balance. And all of that information lives online in perpetuity, eroding reputations that took years to build.

A quick search for “crisis communication” on Mashable turns up a lengthy list of situations and case studies that played out over the past year: Taco Bell being under fire for the ingredients in its ground beef, the reaction to NetFlix’s price increase, and there were plenty of political figures who had their issues. As you can imagine, the list is quite extensive.

During 2011, GroundFloor Media saw a large increase in the number of clients that were looking for answers to the “what if” social media crisis questions, and even a few clients who experienced the intersection of crisis communications and social media firsthand. We expect this trend to continue in 2012 as more and more individuals, companies and their customers continue to expand and engage in social networks.

In December, GroundFloor Media launched its proprietary Online War Room to help prepare businesses and organizations for scenarios that can, and will, occur on social networks. This secure tool allows our Rapid Response and social media teams to work with clients to customize training sessions and mimic online crisis and issues management situations and conversations, in real time. We all know that preparation is key in any crisis situation, and the Online War Room allows our clients to discover what they need to include in their social media response plan, test their existing response plans, refine the processes for reacting and responding to negative sentiment and misinformation, and even put executives more at ease with communicating in the social media space.

In most cases, the first 120 minutes of a crisis can determine the public’s perception of an organization, and social networks exponentially emphasize the need to be prepared for any number of public conversations and crisis-related scenarios. What are your company’s plans to effectively manage its online reputation in 2012?

~ Jim Licko

An Emerging Trends for 2012: The Collision of Social Media and Crisis Communication

The most frequent questions I encountered in 2011 included: what should we do when a detrimental story about our company breaks online? How do you respond to social media posts or comments from angry customers, or even disgruntled employees? Or do you avoid response and consider deleting comments? Worse, how do you stop the spread of misinformation, or blatantly false claims about your CEO, company or its products?

It used to be that the worst-case scenario for a business going through a crisis was a story appearing on an evening network newscast or in the morning paper. Today, the greater risk is what happens to that story, or any unfavorable story for that matter, when it is broadcasted across social networks. In the era of social media, not only does the public have the opportunity to say, report and offer opinions at will, but they are able to do so without any type of factual check and balance. And all of that information lives online in perpetuity, eroding reputations that took years to build.

A quick search for “crisis communication” on Mashable turns up a lengthy list of situations and case studies that played out over the past year: Taco Bell being under fire for the ingredients in its ground beef, the reaction to NetFlix’s price increase, and there were plenty of political figures who had their issues. As you can imagine, the list is quite extensive.

During 2011, GroundFloor Media saw a large increase in the number of clients that were looking for answers to the “what if” social media crisis questions, and even a few clients who experienced the intersection of crisis communications and social media firsthand. We expect this trend to continue in 2012 as more and more individuals, companies and their customers continue to expand and engage in social networks.

In December, GroundFloor Media launched its proprietary Online War Room to help prepare businesses and organizations for scenarios that can, and will, occur on social networks. This secure tool allows our Rapid Response and social media teams to work with clients to customize training sessions and mimic online crisis and issues management situations and conversations, in real time. We all know that preparation is key in any crisis situation, and the Online War Room allows our clients to discover what they need to include in their social media response plan, test their existing response plans, refine the processes for reacting and responding to negative sentiment and misinformation, and even put executives more at ease with communicating in the social media space.

In most cases, the first 120 minutes of a crisis can determine the public’s perception of an organization, and social networks exponentially emphasize the need to be prepared for any number of public conversations and crisis-related scenarios. What are your company’s plans to effectively manage its online reputation in 2012.

~ Jim Licko

Lessons Learned: how to avoid fake reporters

Following recent “gotcha” issues faced by NPR and Wisconsin’s governor, to name a few, GroundFloor Media’s Gil Rudawsky provides some smart tips to ensure that you don’t get scooped by someone posing as a reporter.

For more from Gil on this and other crisis issues, visit GFM’s crisis blog.