Crisis communications

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The five key elements to handling a public relations crisis. (Originally given in April 2011)

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Crisis communications

  1. 1. Danger Will Robinson!How to plan for the crisis you don’t see coming
  2. 2. There’s an accident on your job site.Do you know the answer to these questions? ~ Who is your first call? ~ Where do you need to go? ~ Where is the list of media and social media to monitor? ~ Who is doing the monitoring? ~ Which reporter should you call first? Should you talk to anyone first?
  3. 3. You never want this
  4. 4. 5 must do’s for effective crisis communication 1. Be prepared 2. Listen, monitor and interpret 3. Be human & humane 4. Over communicate 5. Create relationships & communities
  5. 5. 48 hours? Think 48 seconds.
  6. 6. It’s all about being prepared!
  7. 7. Crisis communication plan The insurance you never want to use
  8. 8. Not thesame game anymore
  9. 9. The speed of 1982Took a week to tie deaths to TylenolMarket share went from 37% to 7%Recalled 31 million bottles ($100 million)Pulled all advertisingSeveral months later, introduced the triple seal tamper resistant packaging
  10. 10. Not thesame game anymore
  11. 11. News of the trainer’s death broke minutes after it happened
  12. 12. Video of the tragedy was uploaded within minutes
  13. 13. The speed of 2010In less than a minute, the news of the tragedy was on Twitter,followed shortly by FacebookVideo of the actual event was on YouTube the same dayReporters were on the scene within the hourWitnesses were interviewed – on web within the hourVP & General Manager – statement within hours
  14. 14. You can’t prepare once it startsDesignate a crisis team (from all necessary disciplines).Identify biggest risks (financial news, accident, scandal,layoff, recall)Create flow chart to map out response if/when somethinghappens.Define preventative measures needed.Pre-create tools (media lists, call lists, etc.)Create a dark website – to be launched at the time of anycrisis.
  15. 15. Great tool outlininghow the the AirForce responds in acrisis.Use it as a template.
  16. 16. Listen, monitor & interpret
  17. 17. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.
  18. 18. The Kryptonite locks can be opened by a bic pen situation
  19. 19. Over 474,000 views
  20. 20. Traditional media picks up story
  21. 21. Source: Fortune
  22. 22. Two thirds of all reporters say they use blogs as story generators
  23. 23. You must listen and be ready to reactIdentify listening tools (range from Google Alerts to tools like Radian6)Identify trends, news, key phrases etc. to monitor.Not an intern’s job – they have to be able to interpret.Measure mentions (not just quantity but sentiment)Respond when the fire is just a spark (according to your plan)Weave results reporting into C-level routine.
  24. 24. Be human and be humane
  25. 25. One sentence ruined him.BP CEO Tony Hayward
  26. 26. Show your human sideShowing your human side does not mean lose control.Know legally what you can and cannot say.Own the problem. No buck passing.Say “We’re sorry” in the more clear way you can.Go beyond “now”Have the right person (usually CEO) front and center.Be specific about next steps.
  27. 27. Over communicate
  28. 28. “Overcommunicatein crisis…but do it in deed more than words.”~ Jack Welch
  29. 29. Deny, deny is rarely the right answer Steve Mendell, CEO of Westland/Hallmark
  30. 30. Didn’t respond immediately (ostrich thinking)Stock prices dropped 10%Pizza home delivery sales tankedEventually released their own videoProsecuted the two people in the videoTalked about it until we were tired of it
  31. 31. Master the 3 IC’sInternal communicationIntentional conversationsInstant communication
  32. 32. Over communicateDo not wait.Be transparent. Tell the whole truth.Build message hierarchies so key messages are delivered every time.Do not dodge questions or online comments.Be confident. Look them right in the eye.Speak in sound bytes.
  33. 33. Create relationships and communities
  34. 34. In your corner before you need them
  35. 35. Train derailment in KYHad to create media relationshipsRan to the crisis – offered $ to anyonewho was inconveniencedAnnounced new safety measures as aresultReputation and relationships arestronger than ever
  36. 36. A surprise attack
  37. 37. Sequence of eventsGreenpeace releases fake Kit-Katand it goes viralNestle fights back by chasing afterthe video and trying to censor itGreenpeace moves the fight toNestle’s Facebook pageNestle’s Facebook team responds tocriticism on their wall by threateningto delete comments left byindividuals using modified versionsof their corporate logo as avatars,which only adds fuel to the fire.The campaign, initially managed byGreenpeace, moves into themainstream as environmentally-conscious Facebook users join theanti-Nestle crowd.
  38. 38. What to do if they come knockingBe very present.Gain control of the conversation.Introduce yourself – be a person/role not an impersonal company.Welcome comments, even encourage them.Invite your fans into the conversation.Create a discussions page (get it off your main stage)Don’t get defensive. The calmer you stay, the more irrational they look.Actually listen for some middle ground.Ask for suggestions.Follow through.
  39. 39. Build connections…hopefully before you need themKnow the reporters and high authority bloggers in your space.Bulletproof your brand by creating real conversations now.Hang in there when the waters get rocky.Invite others into the conversation.Recognize that social media is mainstream now.
  40. 40. 5 must do’s for effective crisis communication 1. Be prepared 2. Listen, monitor and interpret 3. Be human & humane 4. Over communicate 5. Create relationships & communities
  41. 41. Drew McLellan drew@mclellanmarketing.comCopyright 2011. All rights reserved. McLellan Marketing Group

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