Crisis Communications: The Plan is Not to Plan

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

Sound Bite Case Study: Meet the News Media Where It Lives

In the communications business, to say we need to meet the media where they live is essentially to say, make it as easy as possible on reporters, editors, journalists and producers. Give them the content they need when they need it, where they need it and in the most user-friendly format possible.

The problem most newsrooms face these days is lack of resources.… Read the rest

There’s a Difference Between a Problem and a Crisis

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

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