As so often happens when a violent tragedy strikes and claims human lives, brands were taken along for the sad and sobering ride this week. As the usual questions about gun control and immigration arise for America, questions arise as well for Walmart, The Home Depot and Uber about what and how they should communicate to their stakeholders to reassure and to help.
By now, nearly everyone in Washington, D.C., has heard about the seemingly damaging article in this morning’s Politico. Former DNC chair Donna Brazile writes that she has solid proof that the Hillary Clinton campaign rigged the party’s nomination. The question for PR pros, of course, is what advice would you offer to Hillary Clinton now? Should she contest the article, hold a press conference, release a statement or remain silent?
Spacey was accused of a forceful sexual advance by actor Anthony Rapp, who was 14 at the time. Halperin was accused by 12 women of sexual assault and harassment during his tenure as political director at ABC News. Their statements differ in some very important ways.
In what he promises will be the final installment of his series on how watching the political scene can provide PR pros with a free, crash-course on crisis management, Arthur Solomon emphasizes the importance of telling the truth. While it might not help you keep your job, telling the truth about a situation or a person can keep you out of costly legal jeopardy, he argues.
One of the most uncomfortable sessions during the recent PRSA International Conference last week was a breakout about losing control of your brand’s social media account. Fortunately there are steps communicators can take to help avoid such situations, although many of the tactics sound similar to those used in crisis management. Yet how many brands are prepared for a crisis? Does your brand have an updated crisis plan and conduct regular crisis exercises?
The insidious nature of the Harvey Weinstein situation has become clear. Not only have the alleged inappropriate actions of Mr. Weinstein caused the apparent downfall of one of Hollywood’s top producers, the scandal also has touched the company he co-founded as well as NBC News, the Clinton Foundation and Amazon. James Corden, Woody Allen, Mayim Bialik and Al Michaels also were caught in the thicket. Can communicators do anything in situations like these when the boss and founder of a company is alleged to be a deviant?
Dove is in crisis mode after running a Facebook advertisement many are calling racist. The ad, a GIF which featured a black woman removing her shirt to reveal a white woman, was pulled after being widely shared on social media and covered in national news outlets. Given how many brands fumble in getting across respectful messaging around race and diversity, it’s crucial for all communicators to ensure their brands have an internal review process for all content, including an employee culture that nixes off-mark messaging long before it reaches the public.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is eating crow as the situation with Russian ads on Facebook has amounted to more than the nonsense he called it initially. Equifax, of course, has committed nearly every error possible in terms of its early crisis management to its summer data breach. Katie Paine grades the two brands’ crisis response efforts.
Maryland Transportation Authority Police dragged an uncooperative passenger off a Southwest Airlines plane. Public sentiment indicates sympathy for Southwest in this case, which could easily be due in part to the reputation the airline has built for itself through its efforts at transparency, customer service and good deeds.
Working on a PR crisis-management team, especially a successful one, can provide communicators with an indescribable high. Yet crisis work can be all-consuming, pressure-filled and harmful to one’s family and social life. Do you have what it takes to work in crisis management? Veteran PR pro Arthur Solomon offers a framework for PR pros thinking about entering the world of crisis.