IFCA 07 Crisis PR Presentation


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Dan Keeney, APR of DPK Public Relations was a featured presenter at the 2007 conference of the Insurance and Financial Communicators Association to discuss the fundamentals of crisis planning, response and recovery.

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  • IFCA 07 Crisis PR Presentation

    1. 1. Crisis Communications Fundamentals For the IFCA 2007 Annual Conference Presented October 2, 2007 Copyright © 2007 DPK Public Relations
    2. 2. The Fundamentals <ul><li>The three components of crisis communications are crisis planning, response and recovery </li></ul>
    3. 3. Crisis Planning
    4. 4. Fundamentals: Definition of “Crisis” <ul><li>A crisis is an unexpected and uncontrolled event or series of events that disrupt normal operations for a prolonged period and cause unwanted public scrutiny </li></ul>
    5. 5. Fundamentals: Definition of “Crisis” <ul><li>A crisis always has “victims,” which can be either human or animal. If nobody was vicitimized, it’s not a crisis. </li></ul>
    6. 6. Developing a Crisis Plan that Works <ul><li>Keep it simple </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on functional aspects of response </li></ul><ul><li>Build out crisis infrastructure </li></ul><ul><li>Examine and mitigate vulnerabilities </li></ul>
    7. 7. Developing a Crisis Plan that Works <ul><li>“ One of the first things you learn is you have to have a plan in place. It doesn’t matter whether it’s sophisticated or simple – you’ve got to have one. Frankly, the simpler the plan, the better.” </li></ul><ul><li>- Larry Hincker, Virginia Tech </li></ul>
    8. 8. Developing a Crisis Plan that Works <ul><li>“ Most plans I see are convoluted, unrealistic, out-of-date nightmares to interpret and never tested by a drill. Good plans point you in the right direction so you can act fast. If yours doesn’t, throw it out and start over.” </li></ul><ul><li>- Richard Amme </li></ul>
    9. 9. Planning: Keep the Plan Simple <ul><li>The process of planning involves an objective inward-assessment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Examine operations and processes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluate and catalogue assets </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Good plans can be hundreds of pages </li></ul><ul><li>Better plans are just a few pages </li></ul>
    10. 10. Planning: Functional Aspects of Response <ul><li>Who is on the Response Team and who are their alternates? </li></ul><ul><li>At what point do you activate the Crisis Response Team? </li></ul><ul><li>How can they be reached 24x7? </li></ul><ul><li>Who is spokesperson? </li></ul>
    11. 11. Planning: Crisis Infrastructure <ul><li>Crisis communications library </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fact sheets, bios, aerial photos, database of contacts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Communications infrastructure </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Offsite crisis response facility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Satellite phones, VoIP capabilities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Consider having a “dark” crisis response Web site ready </li></ul><ul><ul><li>www.yourcompanyanswers.com </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Planning: Vulnerability Assessment: Breakout <ul><li>Over the next five minutes, break into groups of four to brainstorm the conceivable crises that could hit your respective organizations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not in your control </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disrupt normal operations for a prolonged period </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cause unwanted public scrutiny </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Planning: Vulnerability Checklist <ul><li>Fatality: an employee or customer dies as a result of your organization's processes or products </li></ul><ul><li>Succession: the organization's leadership is in question due to the death or failing health of a chief executive </li></ul><ul><li>Security: a breach of the organization's security that puts employees or the community at risk </li></ul>
    14. 14. Planning: Vulnerability Checklist <ul><li>Activism: the organization is the subject of organized criticism or protest </li></ul><ul><li>Health and safety issues: the brand is associated with harmful outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Employee discord: current or former employees publicly attack the company's leadership or processes </li></ul><ul><li>Workplace violence: an employee is harmed or threatened on the job </li></ul>
    15. 15. Planning: Vulnerability Checklist <ul><li>Forces of nature: such as fires, floods, hurricanes, tornados and earthquakes that threaten operations </li></ul><ul><li>Litigation: the company or executive is the subject of significant legal action </li></ul><ul><li>Hostile takeover: effort to seize control of the organization </li></ul><ul><li>Regulatory: the organization's practices lead to an investigation or penalty </li></ul>
    16. 16. Planning: Vulnerability Checklist <ul><li>Quality issues: doubts are cast on the suitability or value of the product or service </li></ul><ul><li>Legislation: If actions of lawmakers put the organization’s survival at risk </li></ul><ul><li>Racial issues: the product or services takes on a racial connotation </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental issues: segments of the public have concerns about the organization’s environmental impact </li></ul>
    17. 17. Planning: Vulnerability Checklist <ul><li>Animal rights issues: concerns about the company’s impact on animal life </li></ul><ul><li>Human rights issues: concerns about the company’s treatment of people </li></ul><ul><li>Implication by association: a company or its products are in league those who have a poor image </li></ul><ul><li>Criminal acts: someone associated with the brand appears to have committed a criminal act </li></ul>
    18. 18. Prioritizing Target Audiences <ul><li>Insiders </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Employees, shareholders, suppliers, customers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Government </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Local, state and federal regulators and lawmakers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Neighbors </li></ul><ul><li>Media to reach community </li></ul>
    19. 19. Prioritize from the inside out <ul><ul><li>Employees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shareholders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Suppliers, customers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Government </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Local, state and federal regulators and lawmakers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Neighbors </li></ul><ul><li>Media to reach community </li></ul>
    20. 20. <ul><li>Almost everyone has preconceptions and prejudices about journalists </li></ul>Prepping Spokespersons
    21. 22. Strong Negative Feelings Typical <ul><li>Missed the point </li></ul><ul><li>Got the facts wrong </li></ul><ul><li>Had their idea of the story and fit me into it </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on the negative </li></ul><ul><li>Out to “get” you </li></ul>
    22. 23. Impact of Negative Feelings <ul><li>Can be defensive, suspicious </li></ul><ul><li>Feel as though preparation doesn’t matter </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on the journalist rather than on the audience </li></ul>
    23. 24. Change the Mindset <ul><li>Old : Survive without embarrassing yourself </li></ul><ul><li>New : Accomplish an objective </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase awareness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase understanding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Get people to take action </li></ul></ul>
    24. 25. Crisis Response
    25. 26. Quick Case Study: Keiko the Killer Whale <ul><li>Star of “Free Willy” </li></ul><ul><li>Rescued from Mexico City in dramatic airlift </li></ul><ul><li>Millions raised from children, private donors </li></ul><ul><li>Became biggest tourist attraction in the Pacific Northwest </li></ul>
    26. 27. Keiko Case Study <ul><li>Foundation that owned whale seized control of care </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Controversial methods prompted questions about health and well being </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Oregon Coast Aquarium’s staff raised concerns to leadership and rumors spread </li></ul>
    27. 28. Keiko Case Study <ul><li>Situation: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hostile takeover of aquarium asset </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inability to assess health of whale </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Internal discord and questions about leadership </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research found Aquarium had become Keikofied </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What are the options? </li></ul>
    28. 29. Keiko Case Study The path they were on would continue to delay action until eventually there would be a very public discovery, possibly with Keiko deathly ill or worse… Duration Intensity
    29. 30. Keiko Case Study An alternative would be to speed up the inevitable by taking swift action and invite scrutiny Duration Intensity
    30. 31. Keiko Case Study <ul><li>We took action </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Called for independent evaluation of whale’s health </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Worked hard to build internal consensus to encourage one voice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Actively sought third party endorsement </li></ul></ul>
    31. 32. Keiko Case Study <ul><li>Simultaneously, we crafted an exit strategy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Keiko was a destructive force for the aquarium brand </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>He was a temporary exhibit, not under aquarium control </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It was crucial to spread the vision of a post-Keiko future </li></ul></ul>
    32. 33. Keiko Case Study: Evaluation <ul><li>Maintained a high approval rating (74%) through Keiko’s departure </li></ul><ul><li>Succeeded in protecting Keiko and won back control of his care </li></ul><ul><li>Established leadership as among the best, earning an exceptional bond rating for a $14 million expansion </li></ul>
    33. 34. Specifics of Crisis Response <ul><li>Scheduling and adequate staffing can’t be overlooked </li></ul><ul><ul><li>24x7 means 158 hours per week </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Be ready for a crush of calls from media, customers and others </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Your infrastructure may not handle the volume, contributing to confusion and perceptions of poor response </li></ul></ul>
    34. 35. In the Media Spotlight: The Critical 10 Minutes <ul><li>Today, everyone with a nice phone can be a “journalist” </li></ul><ul><li>Video and photos can be posted on the Web within minutes </li></ul><ul><li>Speculation has a life of its own, so stating facts can quell rumors </li></ul>
    35. 36. Guiding Principles of Crisis Response <ul><li>Quickly assess situation and lay out options </li></ul><ul><li>Your first concern should be the health and safety of anyone involved </li></ul><ul><li>Express concern and sympathy   </li></ul>
    36. 37. Guiding Principles of Crisis Response <ul><li>If the case, emphasize that there will be a complete investigation and your organization will fully cooperate </li></ul><ul><li>Stick to the facts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on the 5 Ws </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Never guess or speculate about information you don’t know </li></ul>
    37. 38. Guiding Principles of Crisis Response <ul><li>Understand that leadership may be part of problem </li></ul><ul><li>Making a statement quickly can help define the story </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You can’t wait for comprehensive information </li></ul></ul>
    38. 39. Crisis Response Realities <ul><li>In a crisis, confusion and inaccurate information dominate </li></ul><ul><li>The media deals in black and white and simplicity, but a crisis is shades of gray and complexity </li></ul><ul><li>Media will assess blame </li></ul><ul><li>Media often gets information you don’t have </li></ul>
    39. 40. Think Actions Over Words <ul><li>Look for opportunities to exhibit concern and control </li></ul><ul><li>Resist blatant photo ops </li></ul><ul><li>Document your organization’s efforts, but resist the temptation to self-promote too soon </li></ul>
    40. 41. Crisis Recovery
    41. 42. Rising from the Depths <ul><li>Look for opportunities to put a close the book on the matter… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I had asked some people who were working with me, ‘How do you know when the crisis is over?’ They said, ‘Sometimes you just declare it over and move on.’ And that’s what I did.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>- Larry Hincker, Virginia Tech </li></ul>
    42. 43. Crisis Recovery: The Crisis Lifecycle Discovery True impact clear Personal stories On to the next story Duration Intensity
    43. 44. Crisis Recovery: The Crisis Lifecycle Discovery True impact clear Personal stories On to the next story Duration Intensity
    44. 45. Priorities of Recovery <ul><li>Welcome and embrace a period of renewed commitment to the core principles under which the organization was founded </li></ul><ul><li>Help the organization get back to normal business operations </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage, facilitate and help manage change </li></ul>
    45. 46. Examples of Organizations that Recovered Quickly <ul><li>Southwest Airlines – Plane skids off runway </li></ul><ul><li>City of New York – Terrorist attacks </li></ul><ul><li>NASA – Columbia disaster </li></ul><ul><li>Johnson & Johnson – Tylenol tampering </li></ul><ul><li>Pepsi – Syringe hoax </li></ul>
    46. 47. What They Had In Common <ul><li>Visible senior leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Immediate expressions of concern and sympathy </li></ul><ul><li>Rapid unequivocal action in the public’s interest </li></ul>
    47. 48. Organizations that Failed to Recover Quickly <ul><li>Merck – Product recall </li></ul><ul><li>Exxon – Environmental disaster </li></ul><ul><li>Tobacco industry - Lawsuit </li></ul><ul><li>Firestone – Faulty product </li></ul>
    48. 49. What They Had In Common <ul><li>Leadership was late to show </li></ul><ul><li>Slow to express concern or sympathy </li></ul><ul><li>Slow to take definitive action </li></ul><ul><li>Lied and/or stonewalled </li></ul>
    49. 50. Contact: Dan Keeney, APR DPK Public Relations [email_address] Dallas: 214-432-7556 Houston: 832-467-2904 www.dpkpr.com