Archive for the ‘Crisis management’ category

4 Reasons to Register for the 2012 PRSA Mid-Atlantic District Chesapeake Conference Today!

October 5, 2012

Wanna know why you should register now for the PRSA Mid-Atlantic District Chesapeake (#Chessie12) Conference?

4. Clear Your Schedule!

By registering early, you can block the day out on your calendar, eliminating the possibility that one of your colleagues will schedule an important meeting with you that day.

3. Get a Jumpstart on Your Networking!

Research the presenters and keynote speaker in advance so you know who you want to meet at the conference.  Gotta capitalize on that investment!

2. Formulate Your Plan of Attack!

Read over the agenda and figure out which sessions you’d like to attend.  You can choose to participate in all the sessions in one of the three tracks (PR Essentials, Social Media, and Strategic Business/Leadership) or mix and match from the 12 seminars.  Make sure to mark your calendar to arrive early at the conference for the networking breakfast and stay for the happy hour as well!

1. Save Some $$$ (and guarantee your spot)!

That’s right — the No. 1 reason to sign up today is to take advantage of the early bird discount and save, save, save!  Also, don’t let anyone take your spot because space is limited!

Four Tips on Social Media Crisis Communications

October 28, 2010

This post was written by Laura Crovo, SVP, Public Relations Director of MGH
http://mghus.com
http://mghus.com/blog
http://facebook.com/mghus

 Earlier this year, a survey from German consultancy Gartner Communications found that while nearly 85% of companies worldwide have general crisis plans in place, only 20.7% have social media crisis plans set. Moreover, a staggering 78.6% of in-house communicators said they were pretty unprepared or so-so when it comes to social media crises.

What this shows is that more and more brands are embracing the importance of social media marketing, without adequately preparing for the risks. This isn’t to say that brands shouldn’t be jumping headfirst into Facebook, Twitter and the like – they just need to treat them as they would any other communications avenue by making sure they are ready to tackle any challenges.

Several major brands have been dinged via social media recently – whether it was due to a product deficiency, customer service problem or employee transgression. But, what’s added insult to injury in many of these crisis situations are slow, inadequate and insincere responses to the calamities at hand – probably due in large part to a lack of social media crisis preparedness.

So, what should brands do?

  • Stop looking at “general crisis communications” and “social media crisis communications” as two different things. When planning for catastrophes, you need to think about all possible implications – including media coverage, internal dissent, social media furor and upset stakeholders. Whether it’s sending an email to your staff, responding to a reporter’s questions or posting to your Facebook page, all of these tactics need to be treated as equally vital in the communications process. 
     
  • Be prepared before hitting the launch button for the Facebook page. This is a critical part of the social media process. Brainstorm all of the possible critiques or problems, and develop potential responses or messaging so you don’t waste precious time that could escalate a social media snafu. For instance, if your business is a restaurant, be prepared to deal with claims that your food stinks, your servers are rude, your prices are outrageous, and your daily special gave someone food poisoning.
     
  • Pay attention – all of the time – to what people are saying about your company and where they are saying it. Even if you don’t have a Facebook page, brands need to understand that there’s always a chance that people will talk about you online. Each comment needs to be evaluated individually to determine whether, how and when you should respond. There are no hard and fast rules, but generally speaking, you should be transparent, gracious and accountable (as appropriate).
  • Respond in a prompt manner. The world of social media moves much faster than traditional communications, and any lag can just serve to fuel the fire. Similar to how you would respond to a media query in traditional PR, it’s important to quickly address issues on the web, even if only to let you your consumers know that you are taking the issue seriously and looking into resolving it.

PR and social media are not mutually exclusive – and this could not be more evident than when it comes to crisis communications. Companies must take the time now to develop plans to handle situations whether in traditional or social media platforms, or else they could be found on the wrong side of a really angry and vocal Facebook contingent.

How Would You Handle Toyota’s Crisis Communications?

January 30, 2010

“Quality was [Toyota’s] differentiator and now it’s their Achilles heel,” says Brenda Wrigley, chair of the public relations department at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Her comments appeared in a Forbes article this week, which draws a partial comparison between Toyota’s handling of the current PR crisis involving faulty accelerator pedals to Johnson & Johnson’s text-book handling of their 1982 PR crisis involving Tylenol bottles that were tampered with and poisoned. (J&J immediately recalled 20 million bottles of Extra Strength Tylenol from store shelves and replaced them with new product in tamper-proof packaging, sending a clear message to the public that it values consumer safety over profits.)

Over the past two weeks, Toyota has issued recalls on millions of cars, stopped production of eight of its models at plants across the globe, and ordered dealers to pull cars off their showroom floors. The problem with the accelerators isn’t entirely new, but it has rapidly escalated into a crisis. Some critics say that Toyota, in its aim to be the world’s top car manufacturer, has outgrown its quality control measures, thus undermining the essence of its brand.

What do you think? Are Toyota’s current crisis management efforts sufficient to maintain consumer confidence in a brand that has been synonymous with quality? What message is the current recall and halt on production sending to consumers? Is Toyota’s handling of the problem comparable to J&J’s handling of the Tylenol crisis? How would you handle the current crisis?

Visit Toyota’s Web site for official information about the recall.

Tips for Dealing with the Changing PR Landscape

January 22, 2010

Planning for PR programs in 2010 will be more difficult than in past years because of the dynamic and continually changing PR landscape.

frankstrong

Choose one: (a) strongly disagree, (b) disagree, (c) unsure, (d) agree, (e) strongly agree. Fifty percent of public relations professionals surveyed chose (e) agree, according to Frank Strong, public relations director for Vocus. Strong addressed PRSA-MD members Thursday morning at the University of Baltimore (left), where he discussed some of the factors that make PR planning increasingly difficult, and what you can do about it. Here are a few of my takeaways.

Maintain your media relationships. Last year 293 newspapers folded, 1,226 magazines disappeared, 10,000 radio employees were cut, and 100 TV stations were affected by Chapter 11. In short, massive job loss. Where are all these editors and reporters going? Some of them are getting into PR, but many are going to online publications. Wherever they move, they’ll land somewhere and may continue to be relevant contacts. So don’t let your relationships go. You never know where a sacked reporter might resurface.

Master SEO and other new media tools. Attention is the new deficit, and social media can help break the threshold. Increasingly, PR professionals are giving testimonials about how their blog or tweet or discussion board made a difference for their organization or a client. It’s not just about the message anymore. We need to think beyond text, giving more consideration to  posting videos, engaging readers in conversation, tagging and, above all, SEO. Figure out which social media tools are appropriate for your organization—and learn how to use them. (Note: SEO is a must for every professional communicator’s toolbox!)

Learn crisis communications. You’ll need it. Up until now, the prevailing wisdom has been that crisis communications should be left to specialists. While this may still hold true for major crises, it’s also true that social media leaves everyone exposed to previously nonexistent dangers. Know how to respond when a customer or employee launches a withering attack at your organization or its leadership. You may not be able to control it, but you need to know how to deal with it, or better yet—prevent it.

Integrate your communications. Social media’s rejection of commercialization makes PR central to an organization’s communications efforts. Users can sniff out marketing copy, but a good PR professional knows how to connect to people with authenticity—in other words, without selling. Okay, so does a good marketer, but relationships are the essence of PR. It’s not worth considering which of these two functions is more important. They’re both important for many organizations. A better question to ask is, How can PR and marketing work together?

For more information on this topic, check out Frank Strong’s whitepaper, Meeting Change: Public Relations Planning in 2010.

Need to Protect Your Reputation?

October 2, 2009

With social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, YouTube, blogs and Twitter, critics have an array of tools at their fingertips to launch attacks. Corporations have never been more vulnerable to attacks that can spread instantly throughout cyberspace as they are today. (Wonder how – read Jennifer Gehrt’s post “Responding to a Brand Attack” for one story and Tom Chapman’s post in Social Media Today – “Protecting your brand against negative buzz” for another.)

Today’s reputation management requires relentless attention to online communities, since anyone can offer their opinion on your company to people around the world in a matter of seconds.

Join Bill Atkinson, vice president of Weber Shandwick’s Baltimore office, as he offers tips and suggestions on how to protect and defend your company’s reputation in his seminar at Tuesday’s Chesapeake Conference, Defending Corporate Reputation in the Age of Social Media. Learn how to prepare for attacks and even how to launch counter attacks.