Crisis Communication: The Right Way - The Only Way
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Crisis Communication: The Right Way - The Only Way

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Includes Chapter 14 (Crises) summary from "The Public Relations Practitioner's Playbook." ...

Includes Chapter 14 (Crises) summary from "The Public Relations Practitioner's Playbook."

Tell it first
Tell it fast
Tell it all
Tell it yourself

Presented at National School Public Relations Association National Seminar - 2012.


Taken from "The Public Relations Practitioner's Playbook" available at www.larrylitwin.com.

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Crisis Communication: The Right Way - The Only Way Crisis Communication: The Right Way - The Only Way Document Transcript

  • Crisis Communication: The Right Way – The Only Way NSPRA National Seminar – 2012 M. Larry Litwin, APR, Fellow PRSA Rowan University www.larrylitwin.com © 2012[Following PowerPoint after Page 17, review PR plays from The PublicRelations Practitioner’s Playbook – Chapter 14 – “Being Ready For A Crisis”] 1 Portions taken from… 2 1
  • Other Larry Litwin PowerPoints Visit • www.slideshare.net • www.larrylitwin.com 3 Golden Hours First 2 to 4 hours following the crisis 4 2
  • Practice your ABCs• A = Anticipate• B = Be prepared• C = Communicate clearly, calculatingly (measure each word), concisely, consistently, completely (specifically and simply) 5 Three Rules of Damage Control 1. Get information out early 2. Get it out yourself 3. Get it out on your own terms 6 3
  • Tell it:• First• Fast• All• Yourself 7 Follow Peco’s example… 8 4
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  • Communicate Early and Often – 1• Contact the media before they contact you• Communicate internally first, then externally• Put the public first• Take responsibility• Be honest• Never say “No comment”• Designate a single spokesperson 25 Communicate Early and Often – 2• Set up a central information center (staging area)• Provide a constant flow of information – two way• Be familiar with media needs and deadlines• Monitor news coverage and telephone inquiries• Communicate with key publics• Be accessible 26 13
  • Lessons Learned• Don’t duck the issue• Take responsibility• Offer to make good on broken promises• Cover the bases• Measure results (on-going evaluation) 27 Get Down to Basics• Get the facts• Once facts are gathered, make strategic changes to best manage crisis• Communicate plan – first internally, then externally (it is not a secret)• Seek feedback• Evaluate 28 14
  • The 10 D’s• Direct • Diffuse• Distance • Defuse• Deflect • Dilute• Distract • Dissolve• Divert • Dodge 29 10 Commandments of Crisis Communication1. Perception is reality. If your audience thinks it is, it is.2. Response is control. The community wants access to information, and no crisis is unmanageable if you give clear, cool facts.3. Information is power.4. Credibility is survival.5. Body language is crucial. If you behave like you have something to hide, people will think that you do. 30 15
  • 10 Commandments of Crisis Communication6. Calmness is essential. Unflappability is your best asset. Always act knowledgeable and calm.7. Give a confession. The public and the media want a confession. So, don’t be afraid to admit mistakes.8. Tell the franchise what happened. It is in the best interest of the community to keep them informed.9. Preparation is 99% of success.10. Out of every crisis comes the chance to “build a better mousetrap.” From every crisis there are major lessons to be learned. 3110 Commandments – Make that 1111. Pray like hell that you never have to handle numbers 1 through 10! 32 16
  • Questions ???M. Larry Litwin, APR, Fellow PRSA larry@larrylitwin.com www.larrylitwin.com © 2012 33 17
  • tions Rela book ublic Play ive he P ner’s T ctitio * Approach ication ec t to Eff Pra d n ergize ay Commuum of its parts.) A Syn wo-W ter than the s T whole is grea *(The iver >Rece V age>> Mess g r> > > V ed Eg Sende Crack asion Noise V Persu Nois e V V l V Mode Noise V V <<< V V <<< ack < V Feedb <<< V V <<<< M +P+T “Open, honest, C lid.” A thorough and va UPDATED and n EditioEXPANDED Third by M. Larry Litwin, APR, Fellow PRSA
  • The Public Relations Practitioner’s Playbook(AuthorHouse/584 Pages/ISBN: 978-1-4389-9475-8)Each chapter ends with PR Challenges – exercises designed to evoke the beststrategic thinking of students and public relations professionals, as well.Chapter 1 Public Relations – A Brief HistoryChapter 2 Anatomy of Public Relations or The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts – SynergyChapter 3 TEC (A Total Effort to Communicate) – Overview of a Successful Public Relations ProgramChapter 4 Research Techniques Simplified – or – You Talk...We ListenChapter 5 Basic Public Relations Writing TechniquesChapter 6 Advanced Public Relations Writing TechniquesChapter 7 Public Relations Planning and BudgetingChapter 8 You, Too, Can Conduct Successful CampaignsChapter 9 Media Relations – and – The Impact of Public Relations on the NewsChapter 10 Cross Platforming – The Networked Age Radio, TV, Internet and Nonbroadcast VideoChapter 11 What Public Relations Practitioners Should Know About AdvertisingChapter 12 Designing Effective PublicationsChapter 13 Researching, Writing and Delivering Effective SpeechesChapter 14 Being Ready for a CrisisChapter 15 Public Relations Potpourri – Other Public Relations ToolsChapter 16 Public Relations Ethics and the LawChapter 17 Public Relations Checklist of Skills M. Larry Litwin, APR, Fellow PRSA, is an established strategic advisor, teacher, mentor, role model and ethicist, and an award-win- ning public relations counselor and broadcast journalist, who has left a lasting impression on thousands of students and professionals. He is associate professor of communication at Rowan (N.J.) University where his classroom is considered a “laboratory for practical knowl- edge.” Litwin incorporates “edutainment” into teaching public rela- tions, advertising, radio and television. He is a member of the Public Relations Society of America College of Fellows, recipient of the National School Public Relations Association’s Lifetime Professional Achievement Award for “excellence, leadership, contributions to the profession, and advocacy for students and our nation’s public schools,” the Sigma Delta Chi Bronze Medallion for Distinguished Service in Journalism and has been recognized by the Public Relations Student Society of America with its Outstanding Faculty Advisor award. His book, The ABCs of Strategic Communication is a compendium of more than 7,000 terms, tips and techniques that define the communication professions. For more information: www.larrylitwin.com
  • CHAPTER 14 Being Ready For A CrisisPR Play 14-1Three Rules of Damage ControlPR Play 14-2Phases of an EmergencyPR Play 14-3Communicate Early and OftenPR Play 14-4The Role of Public Relations in the Johnson & Johnson®Tylenol® CrisisPR Play 14-5Lessons LearnedPR Play 14-6Get Down to BasicsPR Play 14-7The 10 D’s of Crisis CommunicationPR Play 14-8Crisis Management Tips From ProfessionalsPR Play 14-9Considerations Your Single Spokesperson Must Keep InMind (During A Crisis)PR Play 14-10Successful Crisis PR Depends on Planning and thePractitioners Mindset. Needed Are:PR Play 14-11Emergency Management Kits > Continued >
  • < Previous <PR Play 14-12An Award-Winning Crisis Communication PlanPR Play 14-13Bernstein’s 10 Steps of Crisis CommunicationPR Play 14-14Jack Welchs Five Stages of Crisis ManagementPR Play 14-15Bill Jones 10 Commandments of Crisis Communication Back to Table of Contents
  • PR Play 14-1 Three Rules of Damage Control1. Get information out early. • Respond within 2-4 hours – if only as an acknowledgment that you are on top of the situation.2. Get it out yourself. • The spokesperson should be a high profile representative of the organization.3. Get it out on your own terms. • Control the message. Back to Chapter 14
  • PR Play 14-2 Phases of an Emergency• Initial Crisis• Successive Events• Follow-up Management Back to Chapter 14
  • PR Play 14-3 Communicate Early and Often• Contact the media before they contact you.• Communicate internally first, then externally.• Put the public first.• Take responsibility.• Be honest.• Never say “No comment.”• Designate a single spokesperson.• Set up a central information center (staging area).• Provide a constant flow of information.• Be familiar with media needs and deadlines.• Monitor news coverage and telephone inquiries.• Communicate with key publics.• Be accessible. Back to Chapter 14
  • PR Play 14-4 The Role of Public Relations in the Johnson & Johnson® Tylenol® CrisisThe public relations decisions related to the Tylenol crisis and theproducts strong comeback came in two phases.Phase one was the crisis phase, which began on the morning ofSeptember 30, 1982, with the grim news of the cyanide poisonings.Since the extent of the contamination was not immediately known,there was grave concern for the safety of the estimated 100 millionAmericans who were using Tylenol. The first critical public relationsdecision, taken immediately and with total support from companymanagement, was to cooperate fully with the news media. Thepress was key to warning the public of the danger.Later it was realized that no meeting had been called to make thatcritical decision. The poisonings called for immediate action toprotect the consumer, and there wasnt the slightest hesitation aboutbeing completely open with the news media. For the same reasonsthe decision was made to recall two batches of the product, and laterto withdraw it nationally. During the crisis phase of the Tylenoltragedy, virtually every public relations decision was based onsound, socially responsible business principles, which is when pub-lic relations is most effective. cont. Back to Chapter 14
  • PR Play 14-4 continuedAlmost immediately, planning began for phase two, the comeback,and this involved a more detailed and extensive publicrelations effort that closely followed important marketing decisionsand reached out to many audiences. The comeback began officiallywith a 30-city video press conference via satellite, an innovativeapproach suggested by Burson-Marsteller, the public relationsagency responsible for Tylenol product publicity.The video conference and all other key decisions were discussedand debated by a seven-member strategy committee formed byChairman and CEO James E. Burke to deal with the Tylenolcrisis. The committee included a public relations executive and mettwice daily for six weeks. The decisions it made dealt with everyaspect of the problem – from packaging to advertising to appear-ances on network television. Many required follow-up by the publicrelations staff at corporate and at McNeil Consumer ProductsCompany – the subsidiary that manufactures Tylenol.The Tylenol tragedy proved once again that public relations is abusiness of basics, and that the best public relations decisions areclosely linked to sound business practices and a responsible corpo-rate philosophy. Lawrence G. Foster Corporate Vice President-Public Relations Johnson & Johnson Back to Chapter 14
  • PR Play 14-5 Lessons Learned• Dont duck the issue.• Take responsibility.• Offer to make good on broken promises.• Cover all the bases.• Measure results. KDPaine & Partners, LLC • www.measuresofsuccess.com Back to Chapter 14
  • PR Play 14-6 Get Down to Basics1. When a crisis breaks, first, before anything else, get the facts – gather information.2. Once you have the facts, determine which changes must be made in the strategic plan to best manage this particular crisis.3. Communicate your plan, first internally, then externally.4. Seek feedback.5. Evaluate your plan. Back to Chapter 14
  • PR Play 14-7The 10 D’s of Crisis Communication • Direct • Diffuse • Distance • Defuse • Deflect • Dilute • Distract • Dissolve • Divert • Dodge Back to Chapter 14
  • PR Play 14-8 Crisis Management Tips from Professionals1. Even the most carefully laid plans must be constantly re-evaluated and refined.2. Planning is just the beginning.3. Every crisis is different and when one occurs, it is a mistake to assume a plan will handle all the answers.4. In a crisis, the best defense is staying on your toes. Back to Chapter 14
  • PR Play 14-9 Considerations Your Single Spokesperson Must Keep in Mind (During A Crisis)• Do your homework.• Be accessible.• Be prompt and dependable.• Avoid being pushed into easy solutions.• Accept responsibility.• Be responsive and forthright, and show compassion for victims and their families.• Bluffing an answer is not acceptable – wait until you have the cor- rect information.• Speak and write your information clearly.• Be prepared to respond to incorrect information.• Remain calm and confident. Back to Chapter 14
  • PR Play 14-10 Successful Crisis PR Depends on Planning and the Practitioners Mindset. Needed Are:• A strategic communication process in place• Support from senior management• Communication with the chief PR officer or someone with direct access to senior management• Good relations and credibility with the news media• Effective internal communication• Strong peer relations, especially with attorneys• Ability to “fly the plane” so to speak C. Fernando Vivanco – The Boeing Company – and Kathleen L. Lewton – Fleishman-Hillard, Inc. Back to Chapter 14
  • PR Play 14-11 Emergency Management KitsNo matter the industry or profession, when a crisis or emergencyhits, you should be just as ready with your own EmergencyManagement Kit (EMK) of communication-type items as you wouldbe with a first-aid kit containing bandages, antiseptics, alcohol, etc.Below is one public relations practitioners suggestion for an EMK.Its contents might depend on the type of company or organizationand staff size. You or your staff should customize your own, deter-mine quantities and keep it current. Emergency Management Kitsand copies of a Crisis Communication Plan should be in severallocations so that if an emergency hits, the plan and kit will not be ina quarantined area.At the very minimum, it should contain:1. Copy of Crisis Communication Plan (keep the plan on a pass- word protected Web site link, USB “flash” drive, CD and hard copy.) Be certain it is up to date.2. Legal pads.3. Pens (ballpoint, felt tip [Bic® and Sharpie® brands are depend- able]).4. Large felt-tip markers.5. Plain white peel-off stickers (used to identify injured staff at the emergency site).6. List of telephone numbers for various offices and satellite com- pany locations, local law enforcement agencies, emergency medical services, fire department and other agencies that need to know of the crisis. Include cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses on this list. Fax lines and e-mails at major offices should also be included.7. List of cell and beeper numbers for staff.8. Local telephone directory with e-mail addresses.9. Current staff directory.10. Floor plans showing locations of all exits, telephones and wall jacks, computers, and other devices that may be useful in com- munication during an emergency.11. Fully charged battery-operated bullhorn.12. Local street and zone maps.13. For all trips from the site, a map showing the most direct and safest routes to be traveled to and from the destination. cont. Back to Chapter 14
  • PR Play 14-11 continued14. List of assigned roles for personnel.15. Summary of information that can be made public during an emergency. Include Freedom of Information Act summary, company policy and others.16. List of professional and community contacts for organizing a crisis care team of counselors, clergy and others.17. Laptop computer with fresh batteries. Back to Chapter 14
  • PR Play 14-12 An Award-Winning Crisis Communication PlanTo view the award-winning plan,“Philadelphia Phillies – A CrisisCommunication Plan Commissioned byCourier-Post” go to www.larrylitwin.com andclick on Student Resources, ClassroomHandouts, No. 49. Plans use a decimal sys-tem for easy reference. The plan earned the2006 Pepperpot Award from the Philadelphiachapter of the Public Relations Society ofAmerica for Crisis Communication and theFrank X. Long Achievement Award for“excellence in writing and creativity.” Back to Chapter 14
  • PR Play 14-13 Bernstein’s 10 Steps of Crisis Communication “Crisis communication’s function is to preserve the value of thebrand. That’s accomplished by minimizing the impact of the crisis.”1. Identify your crisis communication team2. Identify spokesperson3. Train spokesperson4. Establish communication protocol (notification systems)5. Identify and know your stakeholders6. Anticipate crises7. Develop holding statements (quick response)8. Assess the crisis situation9. Identify key messages10. Riding out the storm Jonathan Bernstein – Bernstein Crisis Management LLC – www.bernsteincrisismanagement.com Back to Chapter 14
  • PR Play 14-14 Jack Welchs Five Stages of Crisis Management1. Denial – Denial in the face of disaster is human. It is the main and immediate emotion people feel at the receiving end of any really bad news. That doesnt excuse any official from not react- ing quickly and staying “in front of the story.” Rather than denial, the reaction should be forthright, calm, fierce and bold.2. Containment – In companies and other organizations, contain- ment usually plays out with leaders trying to keep the “matter” quiet – a total waste of energy. All problems, and especially messy ones, eventually get out and explode.3. Shame-mongering – This is a period in which all stakeholders fight to get their side of the story told, with themselves as the heroes at the center.4. Blood on the floor – Too many times, officials believe that someone has to pay for the crisis with his or her head.5. Galvanizing effect – The fifth and final part of the pattern – the best part – is the awareness raised by a crisis. Jack Welch – Former Chairman and CEO – General Electric® Back to Chapter 14
  • PR Play 14-15 Bill Jones 10 Commandments of Crisis Communication1. Perception is reality. If your audience thinks it is, it is.2. Response is control. The community wants access to informa- tion, and no crisis is unmanageable if you give clear, cool facts.3. Information is power.4. Credibility is survival.5. Body language is crucial. If you behave like you have some- thing to hide, people will think that you do.6. Calmness is essential. Unflappability is your best asset. Always act knowledgeable and calm.7. Give a confession. The public and the media want a confession; so dont be afraid to admit mistakes.8. Tell the franchise what happened. It is in the best interest of the community to keep them informed.9. Preparation is 99% of success.10. Out of every crisis comes the chance to “build a better mouse- trap.” From every crisis there are major lessons to be learned.11. Pray like hell that you never have to handle numbers 1 through 10! Back to Chapter 14