Posted tagged ‘crisis communications’

Missed the PRSA International Conference? No Worries—Another Conference Awaits!

October 22, 2012

by Jackie Allder, Chessie Planning Committee

So, did you make it to the PRSA International Conference last week?  I would loved to have attended this year’s event in San Francisco, but my schedule didn’t work out (and I’m not sure my budget could’ve handled the cross-country trip either).  Although PRSA’s International Conference is over, there’s still a chance to hear tips, tricks, and PR’s best practices from pros in the industry this year. 

On November 8, the Maryland Chapter is partnering with several other Mid-Atlantic District chapters (National Capital Chapter, Central Pennsylvania Chapter, Central Chesapeake Chapter, and the Blue Ridge Chapter) to host the Mid-Atlantic District Chesapeake Conference (also known as Chessie). 

New for this year’s conference is three tracks to choose from — Strategic Business and Leadership, PR Essentials, and Social Media — and more than a dozen local members are presenting on everything from creating a strategic communications plan to networking effectively.

For example, you can join Barbara Haupt and Elissa Leif of MiniMatters for a discussion about the wild world of web videos, or find out how to manage the client/agency relationship with Robert Udowitz and Steve Drake of RFP Associates.

You’ll  also hear from members Rachel DiCaro Metscher, Erica Pierson, Sabrina Kidwai, Margie Newman, Veronica Brown, Amy Lestition, Rebecca Andersen, APR, Dana Vickers Shelley, and Tiffany Thomas Smith, among many others. 

Additionally, #Chessie12 features keynote speaker Amy S. Mitchell from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. And because this year’s event is sponsored by chapters around the region, it’s a great opportunity to network with PRSA peers you might not see that often, especially during the post-conference happy hour. 

So #Chessie12 has a dozen sessions, an awesome keynote speaker, and a networking happy hour.  It’s local (hosted at the Four Points Sheraton BWI in Baltimore, MD) and costs less than $200 to attend if you’re a PRSA member and you register by November 1.  

Don’t let this one pass you by…visit http://www.prsamd.org/news/events2012/nov12.htm, download the program, and register today!

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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
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 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.