When you are faced with the need to manage an issue on behalf of your organization, choose your words carefully. This may sound like I’m telling you to be careful not to use certain words that may offend, which is partially true, but if this is all you take away, you’re setting yourself up for defeat.… Read the rest
One thing that gets talked about a lot in the public relations business is crisis communications. You read articles like this one, perhaps you go to conferences or participate in webinars on the topic. You follow people on social media who give you a steady diet of crisis PR tips and tricks. But what is the current state of your crisis management readiness?… Read the rest
You can’t predict the future, and with that in mind, you can’t predict every crisis before it may happen. But one of the things I’ve built into crisis planning over the years is an early-warning process for anticipating and identifying potential crises.
There’s no magic to it. Mostly, it’s a matter of constant vigilance and discipline in monitoring your own intelligence channels.… Read the rest
Once a crisis starts, the question that’s top-of-mind throughout is, “What’s next?” Sometimes, the answer is obvious, but oftentimes it’s anyone’s guess. In every case, however, the answer is the most critical piece of data you need.
By this point, you know what’s happened. You may have a good idea of how it happened and why it happened.… Read the rest
Pittsburgh is not unlike a lot of major cities in America in that it’s become a news media desert, which is not to say an information desert. The two would be different things.
While Pittsburghers, like most Americans, are drowning in a sea of digital information, their local news media landscape has become devoid of a strong news media industry.… Read the rest
There’s a term used in medicine called “the pertinent negative” that helps doctors and other medical professionals diagnose illnesses and identify problems. Essentially, it’s to look for what’s missing.
For example, a pertinent negative is when it appears someone has heart failure but they haven’t gained weight, a common symptom of heart failure. To a doctor that’s weird, and it’s a pertinent negative, because weight gain is missing from the symptom list.… Read the rest
Don’t think ‘plan.’ Think ‘process.’
I have some friends who avoid the stress of planning for their annual summer vacation by not planning for it. Yes, they take a vacation every year, and they always have a good time in a nice place. But they don’t plan for it, at least not in the way you may think.… Read the rest
One of the more common myths when it comes to crisis management is that problems are often conflated with crises. In other words, when a company or brand is faced with negative social media backlash, it’s broadly assumed that’s a crisis when in fact it’s not. It’s just a problem, a serious problem, perhaps, but still not a crisis.… Read the rest
While the term, “cancel culture” is relatively new, the concept is not. Anyone who has spent any significant number of years in crisis communications or crisis management has had to deal with forces working to destroy, ruin and cancel their targets.
As a result, we’ve developed effective strategies, tactics and approaches to situations where you or your organization is under unfair attack.… Read the rest
About a year ago, in the months after COVID-19 first arrived in America, the nation was in crisis. No organization or family or person was unaffected.
As a result, nearly every professional communicator faced challenges of their own.
To be sure, there’s a difference between being in crisis and being a crisis manager. It’s the same difference that exists between being the patient and being the doctor.… Read the rest