Crisis Communications in a 24/7 Media World


For PR professionals, if there is no communications plan in place during a crisis, a little tempest in a teapot can combust into a full-blown disaster. Suffice it to say, that is never a viable option. It certainly wasn’t one for Mattel’s VP of corporate communications, Lisa Marie Bongiovanni, and Jules Andres, Mattel’s director of corporation communications, during the toy recalls of 2007. Here are some key lessons learned from this crisis communications initiative:

•    Communicate quickly and transparently to your target audience: [“With the Mattel toy recalls,] parents wanted to know from leadership what we were going to do solve the crisis,” says Bongiovanni. “It was fast-moving communication from the top.”

•    Leverage social media and the Web to get the word out: In this 24/7 Web 3.0 universe, this tenet is critical to crisis communication and management. “I think this is why our Web communications was so successful,” Andres says. “We took three different videos of our CEO talking to consumers [about the recalls] and posted them on our site. I think people really appreciated that. They wanted to feel that connection with us.”
CONTACTS: Lisa Marie Bongiovanni, lisamarie.bongiovanni@mattel.com; Jules Andres, jules.andres@mattel.com


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