Archive for the ‘ Crisis Communications ’ Category

Every college student that decides to pursue a career in public relations takes courses in crisis management. Some situations, though, you just can’t prepare for. In fact, when I was in school, I don’t think “catfishing” even existed.

So, what do you do in a situation like this? It’s all over the sports news. An inspirational love story of Notre Dame linebacker, Manti Te’o, who loses his girlfriend and grandmother in a six hour span of time and goes on to lead his team to a dramatic victory. All of America is inspired. Only to find out that the girlfriend was a hoax. She never existed. The Notre Dame athletic department was quick to make a public statement, backing their star player, but was that the right move?

If after further investigation, they find out he was in on the scam, how do you recover the tarnishing of your brand? Or does this make for good guerilla marketing – showcasing your university on every social media site, webcast, newscast in the nation?

Things are developing on an hourly basis for this story – how would you react?

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  • Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

  • Bugs in my Starbucks Frappuccino?

    Wondering how that Frappuccino got its strawberry hue? As noted in PCT magazine last month, Starbucks recently began using cochineal extract, made from crushed insects, to create that strawberry color. At the time, the company said it had switched to the extract in response to customers who wanted Starbucks to use more natural ingredients.

    As quickly as the announcement came, Starbucks drew flak from some vegetarians. And Starbucks responded to its customer’s concerns. They had made a mistake. 

    Cliff Burrows, president of Starbucks U.S., said in a blog post, “Our commitment to you, our customers, is to serve the highest quality products available. As our customers you expect and deserve better – and we promise to do better.”

    Starbucks listened to what its critics where saying – even many of whom were their own customers. In tough situations, a company can still come out on top by listening and responding quickly and appropriately. Even the most loyal customer may get upset at times, but will allow you the opportunity to correct the matter. In this case, Starbucks will be replacing the cochineal extract with tomato-based lycopene. The company expects the transition to be complete in the United States by the end of June, then everyone can enjoy a bug-free Strawberries & Creme Frappuccino made with natural ingredients. Bon appétit!

  • Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

  • Managing a social media crisis

    Crisis management is one of the main concerns of any business involved in social media. Jeremiah Owyang, an industry analyst with Altimeter Group, has published a great report about the preemptive crises management strategy “advanced” companies are using to minimize or avert a public crisis.

    View more documents from Jeremiah Owyang

    Owyang also links to A Chronology of Brands that Got Punked by Social Media, highlighting the social media crises that spurred the research project, as well as the Forrester Groundswell Awards, highlighting excellent and effective use of social technologies to advance an organizational or corporate goal.

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    Air traffic controller

    Police officer

    Our military fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan

    These are three occupations I would consider to be fairly stressful – more stressful than my job as a public relations executive. Don’t get me wrong, the job certainly does have its loosen-the-collar moments when things do get hectic in the world of B2B PR. But in general I think most people would rate the three occupations listed above as high stress for all the obvious reasons. (more…)

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  • Friday, October 15th, 2010

  • The power of a “super” brand

    Photo Source: Sky News Online

    Ferrari announced recently a recall of its 458 Italia “supercar” because of a defect that has apparently resulted in several fires.  What really caught my attention in the story was this …

    Britain’s Sky News site said drivers of the 458 Italia were “fearing they are jinxed after 10 of the vehicles crashed or caught fire within three months … It is not thought that the 458 design has a fault, just that the owners have been unusually unlucky.” 

    Owners of the new Ferrari were just unusually unlucky?! You mean we’re not going to immediately blame Ferrari? (more…)

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  • Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

  • Media training: Once is never enough

    Media training is like milled corn to a rodent, one time at the trough is never enough…or something like that.

    The art and science of media training is the healthy respect that comes from knowing that the mic is always hot and that the reporter (or blogger) is not your long-lost buddy from college. It’s about understanding the 24-hour news cycle and knowing how you fit into it. And the focus is on getting as much value out of the media confab as possible. (more…)

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  • Friday, June 18th, 2010

  • Media training: Always a good idea

    TNT announcer and former NBA player Charles Barkley can say can't.

    On the heels of controversial comments made by BP CEO Tony Hayward about the ocean essentially repairing itself and that he’d like everything in his life to be normal again, company chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg leapt into the void… to make things better. He promptly made them worse by mentioning that BP cares about “the small people” injured by the oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Do these two executives not have a legion of PR folks? (more…)

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