PR executives, collaborating with risk management, HR and other key functions, can play a critical role in identifying and recommending action to address external and internal threats (including toxic people). Unfortunately, organizations routinely underfund communication and related positions that can deliver intel that helps executives make better-informed decisions before they create a reputation crisis.
In gest, but only partly, the last weeks of 2021 and first days of 2022 offer enough botched PR and PR crises to assemble a March Madness-style ranking.
Internal communication has become a critical part of how companies think about crisis. As we know, some of the best ways to limit damage from a crisis are planning and preparing. Thinking through potential crisis situations, creating a response plan and practicing regularly can help an organization reduce fallout from a crisis or reputation disaster, if not avoid it from happening in the first place.
We expected good things from 2021. Instead, it delivered large doses of frustrating virus protocols, political turmoil, mistrust, disinformation and reputation gaffes. Classic PR blunders generated headlines when leaders failed to learn from history. Here are a few cautionary tales as we look to 2022.
Some learnings emerged from our survey of nearly 300 communicators conducted in October and November 2021. The most newsworthy was what issues are concerning crisis pros. Besides COVID, they include: DEI, misinformation/disinformation, activism, cyber, natural disasters and employee/executive misconduct.
This month’s dialogue takes a slight variation from our usual route. We won’t explore an operational topic, such as ‘What to do during a crisis when your CEO goes off-script.’ Instead, as it’s nearly 2022, we’ve asked two crisis communicators to consider 2021 trends and discuss what they believe 2022 will bring. Our dialoguers are Sonia Diaz, SVP, Balsera Communications and president, Hispanic Public Relations Association USA (HPRA) and Jenelle Eli, senior director, media relations + international communications, American Red Cross.
Viewing the threat of ransomware through numbers illustrates its gravity. It takes an average of 280 days to identify and contain a breach and costs $1.85 million to remediate, double the 2020 figure. More than half (52 percent) of all breaches are deemed malicious.
More than half of organizations compromised in the past three years deployed some form of automated security system. This suggests that technology alone is not enough. The IT team must purposefully build, review and test a cybersecurity plan. So, how can communicators contribute? They can partner with experts to clearly explain this complex topic to the C-suite and employees.
Jes Staley wasn’t the first financial-sector heavyweight to step down after reports surfaced that he had ties with the late, notorious Jeffrey Epstein. Preceding the CEO of Barclays to the exits was billionaire Leon Black, CEO and chairman of Apollo Global Management, a private equity firm. Similarities between the Staley and Black stories are useful for crisis communicators.