Buckle Up: How to Respond to Cancel Culture Bullies

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

The Crisis Management Novices Have Moved On

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

Issues Management: Mastering the Attack Defense

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

Who Gets to Judge “Civility?”

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

Is Your Review and Approval Process Killing Your Results?

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

Don’t Surrender in the Battle of Word Choice

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

Make Sure Your PR Counsel Knows Its Loyalties

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

Should Your Company Take a Position on a Highly Charged Social or Political Issue?

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

Civility: One Person’s Honest Opinion is Another Person’s “Disinformation”…and the Story of How Galileo Got Cancelled

One of the hot new terms you may see bandied about in 2021 is “disinformation.”

Its users see it as a label for calling out deceptive speech, oftentimes to discredit and sometimes to censor that speech. Critics see the increasing use of the term as a propagandist strategy used to marginalize anyone who might dissent from a general narrative.… Read the rest

Apologies: Cancel Culture Does Not Forgive

There is a common assumption, particularly in public relations circles, that there is such a thing as a good apology. And by “good apology” they mean one that works on several levels. It is genuine. It satisfies the anger of your critics. It mends fences and brings a return of unity. Or, at the very least, it causes your critics to back off.… Read the rest