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
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
Credit where credit’s due. One of the lasting lessons for me of my experience at the big agency I once worked for was a simple technique for gathering quick intelligence on the public’s attitude on an issue, a company, a brand or a product. It’s called the “Bar Stool Survey.”
As the name implies, it’s informal, impromptu and easy to do. … Read the rest
Sports Analogy Alert/Warning: In all the years I’ve written articles and blog posts, I’ve taken care to avoid the use of sports analogies because I know the majority of people in the PR profession can be turned off by them. That said, this is that rarest of exceptions where a sports analogy is the absolute best way to illustrate the strategy that is our focus here.… Read the rest
Comedian Steve Martin had a great line early in his career when he talked about the secret to becoming a millionaire. “First,” he said, “you get a million dollars…”
Isn’t that so true? How many self-help books or gurus are just like that? They skip right to the result but are scant on details of how to actually get there.… Read the rest
I got an email today from a respected consulting organization that provided details on a recent ransomware attack that occurred over the July 4th weekend. The rather polished e-news alert was robust in its information, but there was a problem. It’s two weeks too late, and I’ve already gleaned all of the information in the article from other sources when the news first broke.… Read the rest
It’s one of the most effective and common ways activists win public debates these days. They change the language. Whatever words or terms you are using today, they will change the words tomorrow and the words you say today, will not only be obsolete, but they will likely be deemed to be offensive. That means when you are quoted from anything you’ve said historically, you are not only wrong (according to their fluid standards), but you will likely be framed as morally and ethically bad, or at least uncaring.… Read the rest
For as long as I can remember, one of the challenges as a communications counselor to clients has been a general mistrust some managers and a few lawyers have had when it comes to discretion and the potential for news media leaks of proprietary information.
More to the point, I’ve seen instances where managers and attorneys tend to hold on to vital information until that last possible moments before public disclosure because they fear that if they provide that information to the communications function too soon it will find its way into the news media before its time.… Read the rest
We have to get real on this. If you’re wondering why you’re seeing major corporations or brands take stances on highly charged social and political issues, it’s unlikely that they’ve all simultaneously discovered their socially aware or politically activist convictions that no one knew existed before.
The crisis and issues manager in me that’s been around for a few decades tells me something else.… Read the rest
Even if you aren’t one to use words like “polemic,” you are likely to be familiar with the meaning behind the word itself, since it’s pervasive in society today. A “polemic” is rhetoric that is not intended to advance an idea or an argument on its own merits, but rather to “win” by aggressively undermining an opposing position.… Read the rest