Our weekly roundup of stories, trends and personnel moves in PR and communications. This week we feature a story timed to International Women’s Day, a reminder about why communicators need to monitor employees’ social media accounts 24/7 and a fond remembrance of Finn Partners’ Anne Glauber.
A video showing Uber CEO Travis Kalanick lashing out at an Uber driver put the company back in the media spotlight. Rival ride-service company Lyft might consider saving some money and suspending all advertising expenditures—Uber’s CEO might as well be on their payroll.
The blame for the Moonlight/La La Land mix-up seems to be falling on PwC, caretakers of the Oscar ballots, whose carefully guarded “ballot briefcase” tours the nation each year on its way to Hollywood. The accounting firm tweeted an early-morning statement, but has otherwise remained quiet on social media.
In today’s personality-driven culture, it’s sometimes hard to sort out whether it’s the guy at the top who causes a crisis or the culture he has created within the organization. Either way, most of the time, a crisis starts at the top. But in 2017, one could make the case that cultural and social norms are exerting a greater influence than the people in charge. The crises we’ll examine here, PewDiePie/Youtube/Disney/Google and Uber’s latest, we would argue, owe as much if not more to changing norms than to corporate leadership.
In today’s rapid-fire world of communications, brand reputations can be torn down in a moment by a single tweet or Facebook post. One of the major facets of being prepared for such a crisis is having a staff that’s ready to respond and rebuild at a moment’s notice. To investigate the process behind preparing staff for a calamity, PR News opened its Crisis Management Boot Camp on Feb. 23 with a session on building a flameproof crisis team.
It’s too early to say with a lot of certainty, but it appears Uber has absorbed several PR lessons concerning crisis management. It’s had a fair amount of practice. The most recent incident for the SF-based company has Susan Fowler, a former employee, penning a widely circulated blog post about sexual harassment at Uber. It’s hard to fault the response of the company’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, this time. He’s taken several of the basic steps of crisis management and done so promptly.
When social media channels started to emerge in the early 2000s, many of us thought these platforms would improve business understanding and help break down barriers between companies and their critics. More than a decade later, it hasn’t exactly turned out that way. These days the chatter in business sanctums is more about the weaponization of social media. Twitter, Facebook and others are being used to denigrate, belittle and demonize brands as well as the people who run them.
In times of stress, one’s judgment is impaired, no matter how cool the head might seem. This holds true for both individuals and organizations in crisis mode, and the temptation to act out on social media can be too great for some. The best defense is a smart, succinct crisis plan that can be shared throughout an organization.
Uncertainty could be one of the handmaidens of crisis. So you can imagine the mood in Washington, D.C., as a new administration transitions into the White House. Presidential transitions often are bumpy, even when the new administration is from the incumbent’s party (think the balky path from the Reagan White House to the Bush team in 1989). The phones of brand communicators and PR firms alike are ringing a lot at the moment. Many of the calls are about crisis or potential crisis. As such, we asked communicators who will be speaking at PR News’ Crisis Management Boot Camp in Huntington Beach later this month for best practices to prepare for and react to crisis.
In crisis communication, more than any other facet of PR, planning is crucial; allowances must be made for various possibilities, and responses need to be deployed with utmost speed. It may seem a daunting task to develop such plans, but if you have a set of underlying principles, you may find that your plans flow out of that foundation in a very natural way.