Crisis Management Workshop
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Crisis Management Workshop

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Practical information for Companies and organizations on Crisis Management

Practical information for Companies and organizations on Crisis Management

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  • 1. PRSA Workshop May 6, 2009 Tony Lentini, Pixel Creative Group CRISIS MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP PRSA – May 6, 2009 Tony Lentini, Pixel Creative Group
  • 2.
    • 38 years Crisis Management, Media Training & PR/Corporate Communications
    • U.S. Army
    • Middle South Utilities (Entergy)
    • Mitchell Energy & Development
    • Holiday Corp. (Holiday Inn)
    • Apache Corporation
    • Consulting
  • 3.
    • It can happen to you!
    • Protect reputation & franchise
    • Save valuable product or service
    • Reduce liability
    • Identify resources, contacts well in advance
    • Train & drill before it hits the fan
    • Perception = reality
    • Confidence breeds confidence
  • 4.
    • Understand BIG PICTURE: What’s at risk; what will it take to fix problem?
    • Potential long- & short-term impacts on your organization
    • Potential costs of resolution (money, people, reputation, market share)
  • 5.
    • 7 dead in Chicago: cyanide-laced Extra- Strength Tylenol capsules
    • Tylenol a top brand. Market share dropped from 37% to 7%
    • Johnson & Johnson $100 million+ product recall
    • Re-introduced: Tamper-proof packaging, steep discounts
    • 2,250 sales reps made presentations to medical community to restore confidence
    • Tylenol saved; 1-yr. market share rebound
  • 6.
    • Enron put AA on defensive
    • Document shredding, dishonest audits severely damaged reputation
    • Franchise could have been saved
    • Cost: senior management resignations, self-reporting to DOJ, SEC
    • “ Circle-the-wagons” mentality killed AA
  • 7.
    • Management, employee buy-in
    • Notification system
    • Crisis Management Team
    • Lawyers on CMT but not in charge
    • Fact files on all facilities: Risks, contact information, government/public safety officials
    • Maps of nearby communities, roads, for evacuation planning
  • 8.
    • Proactive approach: news media and community
    • Retains Crisis Management Consultant
    • Establishes Issue Management system
    • Strategic focus, BEYOND immediate crisis
    • Drills & training
    • Business continuity plan
  • 9.
    • Drill, drill, drill: Periodic, unannounced tabletop exercises
    • Test notification system
    • Test mobilization of CMT
    • Test functioning of operations, PR, etc.
    • Critique and adjust plan
  • 10.
    • Spokesperson depends on nature, location, severity of crisis
    • Train PR staff
    • Train field managers
    • CEO definitely needs training
    • Manage not just messages, but appearance & demeanor
  • 11.
    • Two types of media training:
    • 1) “Boot camp”
    • 2) Positive reinforcement
    • Successful media interviewing not rocket science, does require training
    • Training should empower spokespeople; humiliation makes them wary
    • Boot-camping your CEO could be hazardous to your career
  • 12.
    • On-camera practice interviews
    • Experience: Ideally, trainer has been on both sides of camera
    • Scenario-specific to your company
    • Crisis & non-crisis training equally important
    • Small groups best, but train CEO separately
    • Don’t attempt to train senior management yourself
  • 13.
    • Essential skill for corporate communicators
    • Your audience? Your goal?
    • Limit messages
    • Support with sound bites, statistics, colorful anecdotes
    • Anticipate questions, develop answers
    • Learn transitioning
    • Take charge & stick to messages
  • 14.
    • Experience, contacts from handling many crises
    • Saves time when timing is critical
    • Expertise in variety of necessary disciplines (Crisis Management, PR, media training)
    • Outsider’s perspective
    • Can tell management things an employee may be reluctant to address
  • 15.
    • Trust begins at home: To gain seat at Crisis Management table, PR needs credibility with senior management
    • Get to know reporters, public safety officials before a crisis occurs
    • Contact lists must be part of your plan
    • Trust trumps natural skepticism
    • EXXON’s big problem during Valdez: No relationships, therefore no trust
  • 16.
    • Develop evacuation, relocation plan for key management, operations, critical support functions
    • Secure offsite storage of records
    • Transportation plan for relocation
    • Backup communications (satellite phones, alternate servers)
    • Establish office-closure notification system for employees
  • 17.
    • An invisible page on Web site, activated when need occurs
    • Platform for internal and/or external crisis updates
    • Mechanism for informing employees of office closures and activation of business continuity plan
    • Intranet link can perform same function
  • 18.
    • Respond (put out the fire)
    • Ensure senior management, appropriate departments notified
    • Ensure required government/regulatory notifications accomplished
    • Gather facts
    • Determine whether Crisis Management Team should be activated, designate spokesperson
  • 19.
    • Draft media statement
    • Anticipate media questions/develop answers
    • Notify media?
    • Respond to queries with statement;
    • Update as new information becomes available
    • Try to make it a one-day story
  • 20.
    • Answer as many of the five W’s as you can
    • Take responsibility for resolving the crisis
    • Tell the truth
    • Don’t speculate
    • Don’t announce names of deceased/injured
    • Don’t discuss blame, insurance coverage, causes
    • “ It’s under investigation”
  • 21.
    • Relatively minor events usually may be handled by a skilled spokesperson in your PR department through a brief statement
  • 22.
    • Social media (Blogs, Twitter, etc.) emerging & evolving: Be very careful using “New Media” in a crisis
    • Informal communication can backfire or give story “legs”
    • If you engage social media, treat as any other news medium (be on your toes)
    • One or two Blog messages do not make a trend
    • Be selective in choosing which to engage
  • 23.
    • Be sure of your facts—Rather’s evidence in Bush National Guard story debunked by blogging typewriter experts
    • Experts abound on Internet
    • Everybody has a camera!!!
    • Internet becoming go-to place for news
    • Rather, mainstream media ignored blogs, to their detriment
  • 24.
    • Post-mortem: What went right, what went wrong
    • Update, change crisis plan accordingly
    • Take steps to prevent crisis from occurring again
    • Update safety procedures, operational protocols, training, as needed
    • Communicate with employees & stakeholders
  • 25.
    • Working for Middle South Utilities March 28, 1979: Three Mile Island nuclear plant accident near Harrisburg, PA
    • Partial core meltdown in Unit 2 when coolant relief valve stuck & operators failed to recognize implications
    • TMI attracted worldwide attention
    • “ The China Syndrome” motion picture released 12 days before TMI
  • 26.
    • Middle South: one nuke plant operating in Arkansas, four under construction in Arkansas, Mississippi & Louisiana
    • President of Arkansas subsidiary erred by public announcement of precautionary shutdown
    • Middle South’s nuclear program in jeopardy
  • 27.
    • Service-area-wide road show on TMI and nuclear safety (PR rep. and Nuclear Engineer)
    • Conducted media interviews
    • Prepared booklet: Nuclear Power in the Post-Three Mile Island Era (distributed nationwide);
    • Featured nuclear power, safety in annual report that year
    • Proactive approach saved company’s nuclear program
  • 28.
    • Late ‘80s protests against in-room “porn” at Holiday Inn hotels organized by American Family Association
    • Holiday’s PR staff manned “war room” during annual protests: monitoring, providing media interviews, advising hotel managers
    • Holiday Inn’s market: middle-class families; protests harming franchise
  • 29.
    • Research: Watched movies (softcore & stupid), angering both pro- and anti-porn guests
    • Cost of breaking contract less than $200,000 (wasting that much staff time in “war rooms”)
    • Solution: Bought out contract; protests ended; brand protected
  • 30.
    • Motorists report crude oil bubbling through highway serving airport near Hobbs, NM
    • Apache field personnel determine it “might” be from company production
    • Solution: Act first; determine ownership later
    • Took responsibility, worked with local authorities to shut in highway, repair leak
    • Highway reopened within day. Public kudos from highway patrol, airport officials
  • 31.
    • June 2007: Offshore driller announces possible FCPA problem related to “facilitating payments” to Nigerian customs officials
    • Noble Corp. recognizes it may have same issue
    • Solution: Take charge. Self-report to DOJ, SEC; internal Board investigation; examine practices worldwide; announce to media (anticipate all questions)
    • Resolution: Stock price up on announcement; no fines, prosecutions
  • 32.
    • Tony Lentini
    • Lentini Creative Communications
    • [email_address]
    • PR/Crisis Management Counsel
    • Pixel Creative Group
    • 2801 Post Oak Blvd., Suite 101
    • Houston, TX 77056
    • Mobile: 713-907-5841
    • Office: 713-622-9293