When you or your client is hit with a crisis, perhaps the most important thing you can do is keep your message focused.
Brian Williams is being lambasted for falsely claiming he was aboard a helicopter that was “hit and crippled” by enemy fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Even 12 years later, a lie, mistruth or “misremembered” incident can and will come back to haunt you.
Nationwide Insurance’s Super Bowl ad featured the ghost of a young boy narrating scenes in a life he didn’t get to live because of an accident, and critics didn’t take kindly to it. Still, if you subscribe to the “no such thing as bad publicity” dictum, the spot was a win for the insurer.
Comcast is no stranger to bad press generated by its customer service team. This week, the company is suffering another PR headache after one of its employees changed a customer’s name to “A**hole Brown” on his bill.
A major complication arose when, on the eve of an important press announcement, a Chicago Sun-Times columnist reported incorrectly that Navy Pier would “sell naming rights” to redevelopment project which had been sponsored by a legacy gift.
PR pros can no longer assume their company or organization is immune to trauma. As a crisis communicator, when something horrible happen are you prepared for an immediate response? Do you have a recovery plan for your brand? A crisis plan that you test, and update annually?