Tag Archives: USC

PR Homerun: Turning Lemons into Lemonade

USC Issues Management Win | PR Homerun: Turning Lemons into Lemonade | GroundFloor Media PR AgencyNegative media and social media coverage abounds, but in increasingly rare instances clients can turn potentially bad news into a positive or at least a learning opportunity.

Sometimes all it takes is a bit of creativity and humor to mitigate an issues management headache. Case in point, recently the University of Southern California unveiled a $700 million project in the heart of Los Angeles. Students from rival University of California at Los Angeles were quick to point out that a statue serving as the centerpiece of the development misspelled the name of “William Shakespeare” by leaving out the last “e” in the bard’s name.

The Tweet that followed: “USC. The only place in America that can unveil a statue as the centerpiece of a $700 million project and manage to misspell Shakespeare.”

Not taking the bait and issuing a stodgy response, USC issued the following statement:

“To E, or not to E, that is the question. Over the centuries his surname has been spelled 20 different ways. USC chose an older spelling because of the ancient feel of the statue, even though it is not the most common form.”

And with that response, the Twittersphere has been weighing in on the debates, with scholars pointing out USC might have a point. Even in his last will and testament, Shakespeare spelled his name two ways (both with an “e” and without an “e”). Also, printed programs from 1664, spelled the name without an “e.”

The Washington Post even had fun with the issue, saying visitors to the University of Southern California might be muttering, “What fools these mortals be,” as they stroll past a statue of the legendary queen of Troy and notice William Shakespeare’s name seemingly misspelled at the base. “To USC officials, it’s much ado about nothing.”

(GroundFloor Media’s Gil Rudawsky is a proud graduate of the University of Southern California.)


Botched kidney transplant gives hospital crash course in crisis communication & reputation management

The USC University Hospital in Los Angeles received a crash course in crisis communication last week as news broke that a patient accidentally received the wrong kidney.

TJ Walker, a Forbes.com columnist and crisis communication expert, offered his take on what measures hospitals should take if they encounter this unfortunate situation: Walker advised:
1.       Call an immediate press conference with both the surgeon in question and the CEO of the hospital present.
2.       Apologize to the patient and the family of the patient. (Your lawyers may scream bloody murder about this, but you need to do it anyway.)
3.       Explain in 30 seconds or less how the mistake occurred. (If you really don’t know what happened, then announce you have begun a thorough investigation.)
4.       Announce that you have instituted a new policy or safeguard to dramaticallyincrease the odds of this never ever happening again.
5.       Then take questions.
6.       Webcast the whole press conference and take questions from citizens and patients as well as the media.
7.       Post the whole thing as an archive on your hospital’s website.

The GFM Crisis/Issues Management team would add a few more items to this list, including:
•    Create a separate webpage containing information specifically about the incident, along with updates and a forum to answer questions
•    Execute an internal communications plan to explain the incident and address the issue
•    Monitor all related conversations online and respond/clarify as appropriate
Unfortunately, crisis happen. How your organization responds to the crisis speaks volumes and impacts your reputation long term.

~Gil Rudawsky