With so much reporting of how botched crisis response can harm companies and organizations, why do we continue to see so many crises mishandled? Crisis veterans Ayme Zemke and Gene Grabowski dive into this complex topic.
PR agencies are working on tools and processes to curb the spread of disinformation. PR trade groups and agencies recognize disinformation as an issue that clouds their clients’ messaging. Recently Ruder Finn and Edelman joined the ranks of those offering tools to combat disinformation and identify sources of some of the noise.
The idea for this month’s Crisis Dialogue springs from something we hear often from crisis pros: ‘That person/company is difficult.’ So, we talked with Chanel Cathey, founder/CEO, CJC Insights, LLC, and Daniel Roberts, a corporate crisis specialist, about handling uncooperative executives during a crisis.
While we lack data on it, we’ll guess that with so many employees working from home since the start of the pandemic, the already-sparse scheduling of desktop crisis drills has contracted even more. One of the characteristics of crisis is an uncanny ability to arrive according to its schedule, not yours. As a result, a PR crisis strikes when the CEO is in a remote part of China negotiating a deal or the COO is on a ski vacation in Aspen and has gone off the grid. As such, the most realistic crisis-readiness exercises, pre-pandemic and now, were and are conducted with staff situated in various locations.
“Sticky” crises require near-immediate response and might compel crisis managers to explore and understand emerging crises’ breadth and scope. These additional complexities and communication demands influence the way crisis managers prepare for crises. Leadership requirements during sticky crises and diversity were some of the areas examined in a survey from Crisis Insider parent PRNEWS and UGA’s Crisis Communication Coalition. More than 400 PR pros were surveyed in early spring 2021. We provide several highlights.
One of the most difficult moments for crisis communicators is knowing when, or even if, to react. Once you decide to act, finding a proper response is critical. The backlash against Burger King UK’s tweet was immediate. The company, though, seemed to forget a motto it used for 40 years: ‘Have It Your Way.’ Instead, after choosing to respond, it doubled down with explanations.
Information warfare is no longer a problem just for governments. Increasingly, companies find themselves targeted. Few have adequate defenses. As the threat expands, developing the capability to counter disinformation needs to be at the top of your to-do list.
Gone are the days when companies could comfortably stay out of the U.S. socio-political morass. The old strategy of remaining silent or neutral quickly riles customers and other stakeholders in today’s charged, social media-savvy culture. For most brands, it is hard to imagine how taking a stand on a political hot potato won’t alienate customers. Yet, when done correctly, taking a political stand can build brand and employee loyalty.