Crisis Management


3 Tiers of a Social Media Crisis—and How to Manage Each One of Them

March 26th, 2018 by

Savvy communicators know that having a crisis plan in place before a situation emerges is crucial for any brand. But not every negative comment requires a full-scale mobilization of the proverbial troops. Some social media crises can be mitigated before they gain widespread attention. Taking a tiered approach to crisis management strategy is important for avoiding blunders. By examining your company’s audience and vulnerabilities ahead of time, you can create protocols for each tier.

Mark Zuckerberg, Co-CEO, Facebook

‘Meaningful Social Interactions’ From Facebook’s Leadership Remain Scarce as Cambridge Analytica Story Accelerates

March 21st, 2018 by

We’ve seen it before but it never seems to lose its irony: A brand built on something turns out to be in short supply of it. The British arm of KFC recently ran out of chicken. Built on collecting and protecting sensitive financial data, Equifax turned out to be clueless when handling customers’ confidential information. And Facebook, which espouses “meaningful social interactions,” has leaders who have been slow to talk about its biggest crisis yet.


KFC and Oxfam Take Different Paths to Crisis Resolution, Honesty Triumphs

March 20th, 2018 by

Katie Paine compares crises at Oxfam and KFC in her regular Image Patrol feature. In this edition she explores how transparency and even humor can be prime tactics for managing crisis.


Facebook’s Reputation Takes Another Hit With Cambridge Analytica Revelation

March 19th, 2018 by

Facebook is nursing yet another bruise to its reputation as it manages the fallout from a scandal involving leaked data from nearly 50 million users. The latest incident regarding Strategic Communication Laboratories and its political research arm Cambridge Analytica will likely amplify calls for increased regulation and further erode public trust in the platform.


Tillerson, United, the SEC, Bozoma Saint John—Your Week (so far) in Messaging

March 14th, 2018 by

There’s been no shortage of news in the past couple of days, much of it relating to messaging, brands and crisis management. It’s difficult to know where to start, though it’s hard to ignore the messaging that emanated from the ousting of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Other interesting messages and lessons came from Tillerson’s deputy, the SEC, United and Uber’s Bozoma Saint John.


United’s Latest Mea Culpa Shows Lesson Learned From Dragging Incident

March 14th, 2018 by

Eleven months after its disastrous handling of an incident in which a passenger was violently dragged off of a flight, United Airlines is once again in hot water due to a dog’s death. But unlike its tone-deaf response last year, in which it vigorously defended its employees and blamed the victim, United has accepted full responsibility, shown support for the victim and said it is investigating its employee’s actions.


Delta and FedEx Find Neutrality Impossible in the Gun-Control Debate

February 27th, 2018 by

When Delta joined a growing list of companies rescinding discounts for NRA members, it did so by proclaiming its neutrality. And when FedEx decided to keep its NRA discount in place, the brand also attempted to stay neutral. But both quickly found that when it comes to an issue as controversial as gun control, brands can’t have it both ways.


When Transparency Backfires: A Lesson From Marco Rubio’s Town Hall

February 22nd, 2018 by

There’s an old courtroom expression: “Never ask a question if you don’t know the answer.” But after last night’s CNN town hall debate about gun control—when survivors of last week’s Parkland, Fla. school shooting met with Sen. Marco Rubio, Parkland Rep. Ted Deutsch, Broward County sheriff Scott Israel and National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch—perhaps a new version of that quote is in order: “Never answer a question without first reading the room.”


Planning for Crisis: Don’t Be Caught Off Guard Like Mark Cuban

February 21st, 2018 by

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has had a rough week. On Tuesday, Sports Illustrated published a bombshell investigation that detailed a culture of sexual harassment among the Mavericks’ corporate culture for the better part of a decade. The report seemed to catch Cuban—and the Mavericks organization—off guard, highlighting the need for all organizations to engage in crisis planning. And it’s yet another example of how all brands need to be prepared for allegations of this nature in the wake of the #MeToo movement.


KFC Seasons U.K. ‘Crisis’ Response With Extra Dash of Humor

February 20th, 2018 by

KFC ran out of chicken in Britain earlier this week, closing over half of its 900 U.K. locations Monday in a move that will likely keep some stores closed throughout the week. But KFC got out ahead of the issue and practiced the tried and true “acknowledge, align, assure” mantra—a go-to blueprint for brands needing to engage in efficient, actionable conflict resolution.