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Crisis communication & the Austin Bombings

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A crisis communication case study of the Austin package bombings in March 2018.

Published in: News & Politics
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Crisis communication & the Austin Bombings

  1. 1. CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS &AUSTIN BOMBINGS &Dr. Corinne Weisgerber
  2. 2. A crisis is a situation that has reached a critical phase for which dramatic and extraordinary intervention is necessary to avoid or repair major damage. - Harvard Business Review
  3. 3. A crisis is a situation that has reached a critical phase for which dramatic and extraordinary intervention is necessary to avoid or repair major damage. - Harvard Business Review R E P U TAT I O N & M O N E Y Poor handling of a crisis can cripple a reputation and cause staggering monetary loss. T G O O D W I L L Effective handling can cement a positive reputation and establish goodwill. U L O N G - T E R M P E R C E P T I O N How an organization handles a crisis may influence how it is perceived for years to come. 
  4. 4. BRIEF RECAP March 2: March 12: March 18: March 20:
  5. 5. BRIEF RECAP March 2: March 12: March 18: March 20: Little media attention
  6. 6. BRIEF RECAP March 2: March 12: March 18: March 20: Little media attention Major story in Austin, treated as hate crime
  7. 7. BRIEF RECAP March 2: March 12: March 18: March 20: Little media attention Major story in Austin, treated as hate crime New method, question of new motive
  8. 8. BRIEF RECAP March 2: March 12: March 18: March 20: Little media attention Major story in Austin, treated as hate crime New method, question of new motive National and inter- national news story
  9. 9. WARNING SIGNS OF A CRISIS SURPRISE INSUFFICIENT INFO ESCALATING EVENTS LOSS OF CONTROL OUTSIDE SCRUTINY SIEGE MENTALITY PANIC
  10. 10. C EFFECTIVE
 CRISIS COMMUNICATION S OF
  11. 11. C EFFECTIVE
 CRISIS COMMUNICATION S OF CONCERN
  12. 12. C EFFECTIVE
 CRISIS COMMUNICATION S OF CONCERN CLARIT Y
  13. 13. C EFFECTIVE
 CRISIS COMMUNICATION S OF CONCERN CLARIT Y CONTROL
  14. 14. C EFFECTIVE
 CRISIS COMMUNICATION S OF CONCERN CLARIT Y CONTROL CONFIDENCE
  15. 15. C EFFECTIVE
 CRISIS COMMUNICATION S OF CONCERN CLARIT Y CONTROL CONFIDENCE COMPE TENCE
  16. 16. C O M P E T E N C EC O N T R O LC O N C E R N Does he come across as concerned & caring? 1 53 Does he look like he knows what he’s doing? Does he control the situation and the environment?
  17. 17. C O M P E T E N C EC O N T R O LC O N C E R N Does he come across as concerned & caring? 1 53 Does he look like he knows what he’s doing? Does he control the situation and the environment?
  18. 18. - BP CEO Tony Hayward, NBC Today Show
  19. 19. - BP CEO Tony Hayward, NBC Today Show
  20. 20. APD Chief Brian Manley CONTROL3 CONFIDENCE4 COMPE TENCE5 CLARIT Y2 CONCERN1
  21. 21. APD Chief Brian Manley CONTROL3 CONFIDENCE4 COMPE TENCE5 CLARIT Y2 CONCERN1
  22. 22. APD Chief Brian Manley CONTROL3 CONFIDENCE4 COMPE TENCE5 CLARIT Y2 CONCERN1 Safety is primary concern
  23. 23. APD Chief Brian Manley CONTROL3 CONFIDENCE4 COMPE TENCE5 CLARIT Y2 Repeats key info; “right now”; identifies “important message” CONCERN1 Safety is primary concern
  24. 24. APD Chief Brian Manley Starts off by setting expectations: brief, little info. Media staging area CONTROL3 CONFIDENCE4 COMPE TENCE5 CLARIT Y2 Repeats key info; “right now”; identifies “important message” CONCERN1 Safety is primary concern
  25. 25. APD Chief Brian Manley Starts off by setting expectations: brief, little info. Media staging area CONTROL3 CONFIDENCE4 COMPE TENCE5 Eye-contact; comfortable saying “we don’t know” CLARIT Y2 Repeats key info; “right now”; identifies “important message” CONCERN1 Safety is primary concern
  26. 26. APD Chief Brian Manley Starts off by setting expectations: brief, little info. Media staging area CONTROL3 CONFIDENCE4 COMPE TENCE5 Eye-contact; comfortable saying “we don’t know” Explains what they are doing and will do (next press briefing) CLARIT Y2 Repeats key info; “right now”; identifies “important message” CONCERN1 Safety is primary concern
  27. 27. Risk comm. studies how people behave during high-stress situations. Modeled on the concept that perception is reality. WHY ALL THAT REPETITION?
  28. 28. Risk comm. studies how people behave during high-stress situations. Modeled on the concept that perception is reality. WHY ALL THAT REPETITION?
  29. 29. Risk comm. studies how people behave during high-stress situations. Modeled on the concept that perception is reality. WHY ALL THAT REPETITION? In times of high stress, people can miss up to 80% of message content. Of the 20% they do receive, most is negative.
  30. 30. CLARIT Y: Repeating key messages
  31. 31. CLARIT Y: Repeating key messages
  32. 32. CONTROL OF THE ENVIRONMENT What does this image convey?
 How would you feel if you were him?
  33. 33. CONTROL OF THE ENVIRONMENT What does this image convey?
 How would you feel if you were him? CONTROL REQUIRES PLANNING Communicating at every stage:
 APD en route, staging area info, update, ready for briefing
  34. 34. CLARITY OF THE MESSAGE Is this use of language effective for this audience?
  35. 35. CLARITY OF THE MESSAGE Is this use of language effective for this audience?
  36. 36. CLARITY OF THE MESSAGE Is this use of language effective for this audience?
  37. 37. CLARITY OF THE MESSAGE Is this use of language effective for this audience? Do you know what an ordnance is?
  38. 38. A QUESTION TO REMEMBER:
 WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE? The ‘Publics’ in Public Relations I N G E N E R A L I N T H I S C A S Evs.
  39. 39. Organization
  40. 40. Board of Directors Organization
  41. 41. Board of Directors Employees Organization
  42. 42. Board of Directors Investors Employees Organization
  43. 43. Board of Directors Investors Employees Government Organization
  44. 44. Board of Directors Investors Employees Unions Government Organization
  45. 45. Board of Directors Media Investors Employees Unions Government Organization
  46. 46. Board of Directors Media Investors Employees Unions Consumers Government Organization
  47. 47. Board of Directors Media Investors Employees Unions Consumers Government CommunityOrganization
  48. 48. Board of Directors Media Investors Employees Unions Consumers Government Community Internal Publics Organization
  49. 49. Board of Directors Media Investors Employees Unions Consumers Government Community Internal Publics External Publics Organization
  50. 50. KEY STAKEHOLDERS
 AND THEIR NEEDS
  51. 51. KEY STAKEHOLDERS
 AND THEIR NEEDS Austin Community1
  52. 52. KEY STAKEHOLDERS
 AND THEIR NEEDS Austin Community1 Media2
  53. 53. KEY STAKEHOLDERS
 AND THEIR NEEDS Austin Community1 Media2 Government3
  54. 54. KEY STAKEHOLDERS
 AND THEIR NEEDS Austin Community1 Media2 Consumers4 Government3
  55. 55. KEY STAKEHOLDERS
 AND THEIR NEEDS Austin Community1 Media2 Consumers4 Investors5 Government3
  56. 56. KEY STAKEHOLDERS
 AND THEIR NEEDS Austin Community1 Safety, reassurance, info Media2 Consumers4 Investors5 Government3
  57. 57. KEY STAKEHOLDERS
 AND THEIR NEEDS Austin Community1 Safety, reassurance, info Media2 Information Consumers4 Investors5 Government3
  58. 58. KEY STAKEHOLDERS
 AND THEIR NEEDS Austin Community1 Safety, reassurance, info Media2 Information Consumers4 Investors5 Government3 Local, State, Federal Response
  59. 59. KEY STAKEHOLDERS
 AND THEIR NEEDS Austin Community1 Safety, reassurance, info Media2 Information Consumers4 Tourists, people relocating Investors5 Government3 Local, State, Federal Response
  60. 60. KEY STAKEHOLDERS
 AND THEIR NEEDS Austin Community1 Safety, reassurance, info Media2 Information Consumers4 Tourists, people relocating Investors5 Austin economy: SXSW, etc. Government3 Local, State, Federal Response
  61. 61. REASSURER IN CHIEF Of the city of Austin: P e r f o r m i n g i n t h e r o l e o f
  62. 62. REASSURER IN CHIEF Of the city of Austin: P e r f o r m i n g i n t h e r o l e o f Mayor Adler
  63. 63. Use of ‘we’1
  64. 64. Use of ‘we’1 You’re not alone. Shared concern.
  65. 65. Use of ‘we’1 You’re not alone. Shared concern. Use of ‘small army’2
  66. 66. Use of ‘we’1 You’re not alone. Shared concern. Use of ‘small army’2 We take this seriously. We’re doing everything we can.
  67. 67. Use of ‘we’1 You’re not alone. Shared concern. Use of ‘small army’2 We take this seriously. We’re doing everything we can. Positive visualization3
  68. 68. Use of ‘we’1 You’re not alone. Shared concern. Use of ‘small army’2 We take this seriously. We’re doing everything we can. Positive visualization3 Looking to a brighter future.
  69. 69. Use of ‘we’1 You’re not alone. Shared concern. Use of ‘small army’2 We take this seriously. We’re doing everything we can. Positive visualization3 Looking to a brighter future. Call for action4
  70. 70. Use of ‘we’1 You’re not alone. Shared concern. Use of ‘small army’2 We take this seriously. We’re doing everything we can. Positive visualization3 Looking to a brighter future. Call for action4 There’s something you can do.
  71. 71. Use of ‘we’1 You’re not alone. Shared concern. Use of ‘small army’2 We take this seriously. We’re doing everything we can. Positive visualization3 Looking to a brighter future. Call for action4 There’s something you can do. Pinned Tweet5
  72. 72. Use of ‘we’1 You’re not alone. Shared concern. Use of ‘small army’2 We take this seriously. We’re doing everything we can. Positive visualization3 Looking to a brighter future. Call for action4 There’s something you can do. Pinned Tweet5 Constant reminder. 1st thing you see.
  73. 73. - President Bush addressing the nation on the evening of 9/11
  74. 74. - President Bush addressing the nation on the evening of 9/11
  75. 75. PUBLIC & MEDIA NEEDS THE SEARCH FOR INFORMATION
  76. 76. ENGAGING THE MEDIA Set up media headquarters. Establish media rules. Speak first and often. Establish yourself as the most authoritative source. Don’t speculate. Stay with the facts. Be open; not defensive. Make your point; repeat it. Don’t wage war with media. Be calm, truthful & cooperative. Never lie.
  77. 77. NEEDS OF THE PUBLIC: Want info & want it now
  78. 78. NEEDS OF THE MEDIA: Inform public, don’t compromise investigation
  79. 79. Interpret management to the public Management Public and the public to management PR
 Professionals
  80. 80. Interpret management to the public Management Public and the public to management PR
 Professionals
  81. 81. Interpret management to the public Management Public and the public to management PR
 Professionals Needs of Media
  82. 82. Interpret management to the public Management Public and the public to management PR
 Professionals Needs of Public Needs of Media
  83. 83. Interpret management to the public Management Public and the public to management PR
 Professionals Needs of Public Needs of Media Needs of Law enforcement
  84. 84. A S S O C I A T E P R O F E S S O R O F C O M M U N I C A T I O N St. Edward’s University CORINNE WEISGERBER, PHD @ C O R I N N E W

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