New Hurricane Harvey-related public health concerns arose Aug. 31 when two explosions were reported at a chemical plant in Crosby, TX, about 25 miles outside of Houston. The plant, owned by French chemical company Arkema, lost power on Aug. 26 as a result of Harvey’s floods. Here are five ways Arkema’s communications team has responded to the crisis so far.
In the Houston area the priorities are rescue, assistance and recovery. Finger pointing about who’s to blame has started, but properly should come much, much later, if at all. Still, there are PR lessons in the early stages of what looks to be a years-long issue. Here are a few.
The experts we talk to routinely stress the importance of having a crisis plan. Of course, as we all learned when writing papers in school, it’s not enough simply to do the initial work—we must revise mindfully and make important adjustments. Attempting to appraise every aspect of your plan is intimidating and overwhelming, so start the evaluation process in stages.
Katie Paine grades the crisis response of Merck, whose CEO took a stand against the President that eventually led to the downfall of two White House advisory groups, and Kapersky Lab, which whiffed when its integrity was questioned.
In a crisis, a solid framework can make sure you’ve touched on all the major areas you need to communicate and that you haven’t overlooked something major. When the goal is to demonstrate responsibility and leadership, these “5 C’s” can cover all your bases for a reassuring and competent response.
The upside of technology is obvious. But when things go wrong on the tech side it can create havoc for a technology dependent brand. That was the case for Southwest Airlines last summer, when a computer malfunction grounded a slew of its flights and left thousands stranded. See how the brand used Facebook Live and other social media to keep its passengers and employees informed.
As you know, speed is of the essence when dealing with a social media crises. Fortunately, tools exist that can help brands large and small monitor social media conversations, which can buy a bit of time for brands when a social media crisis occurs.
All that glitters is not gold. That seems to be true with MixBin. The brand recalled nearly 300,000 of its glittery mobile phone cases after an unnamed liquid started dripping from them, burning customers’ skin. While MixBin responded quickly to the situation, offering a full refund, its written statement seems tone deaf and unapologetic.
In her latest installment of Image Patrol, Katie Paine looks at how USA Gymnastics is handling its sexual scandal and contrasts it with Bell Pottinger’s mishandling of its crisis concerning an account from a South African company with ties to that country’s president.
Cynthia Martinez has handled some of the worst crises you could imagine. As director of global corporate communications for Royal Caribbean Cruises, Martinez has dealt with everything from fires to a guest committing suicide by jumping overboard. And since any of Royal Caribbean’s guests can tweet or post a video the moment a crisis arises, her team needs to be quick, transparent and, most of all, prepared. Martinez, who will speak at PR News’ Digital and Marketing Show Oct. 17-19 in Miami, shares a few tips on how to own the narrative.