Archive for the ‘Crisis’ 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!


Googlegate. Thoughts?

May 22, 2011

Googlegate. You know the story. The allegation is that Facebook hired PR firm Burson-Marsteller to pitch articles to newspapers describing Google’s privacy violations. Both parties involved released statements saying it wasn’t meant to be a smear campaign.


Four Tips on Social Media Crisis Communications

October 28, 2010

This post was written by Laura Crovo, SVP, Public Relations Director of MGH

 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.

Gap Logo PR Flub

October 12, 2010

Gap has received alot of flak for quietly uploading a new logo to its website; so much flak that, in fact, they have since taken the new logo down and reverted to their old one.

As all of us know, the costs for rebranding with a new logo are astronomical. Can you imagine the amount of flak it took for them to make the decision to say, “oops!”?

Gap quietly uploaded the new logo about a week ago. Fans objected in force, posting comments to Twitter, FaceBook and on tech blogs. Initially, Gap insisted the new logo would stay, and would be rolled out in advertising and in stores next month.  However, Gap soon changed its tune and listened to its customers, releasing the following statement on its FaceBook page: “We’ve heard loud and clear that you don’t like the new logo. We’ve learned a lot from the feedback. We only want what’s best for the brand and our customers”. The new logo was removed from its website today.

The thought behind the new logo was that it better reflected Gap’s updated image and more modern clothing designs.

What did they do wrong? They didn’t take into account the emotional attachment their customers had to their logo. On top of that, they ‘introduced’ the new logo without fanfare or even explanation. Plus (and I know I often stand alone on this), if you have something that works, and works well, why change it? Their logo was iconic – you can’t beat that PR! Finally, a big criticism they faced was that Gap didn’t ask their customers to weigh in on the new logo before choosing it.

What did they do right? They admitted a mistake, and swifly corrected it. Doing so endeared them to their customers, and allowed their customers to feel as if their opinion mattered and as if the Gap was listening. Doing so cut short what could have been an even larger PR disaster, and provided an opportunity to turn their current crisis into a positive experience for the company and its customers.

What do you think? What should Gap have done? Should they have reverted to their old logo? Weigh in with your thoughts and opinions!