Nike found itself in the midst of a major PR crisis when The New York Times published an opinion piece on Mother’s Day revealed Nike did not provide pregnant athletes with paid maternity leave. Nike has now released a statement saying that all future contracts will be written to protect pregnant athletes from discrimination. In this action, Nike is clearly following the crisis management playbook and changed the narrative in its favor in its quick remediation. What can we, as PR professionals, learn from this?
The communications team at University of Maryland College Park must know that its past year has been bereft with poor decision-making. Last fall, the school made headlines for its poor handling of a crisis after student and athlete Jordan McNair was found dead following a rigorous football practice. Now the beleaguered school finds another crisis on its hands, once again exacerbated by poor communications and a defensive strategy that horribly backfired.
Getting a negative review, let alone one that goes viral, is a moment every PR pro dreads. But if a business provides a product or service, it’s unlikely they’ll completely avoid ever getting a bad review from an unsatisfied customer. In today’s click-happy environment and the ease with which people can post opinions online, ire is often taken out in words and on reputation. But there are some things you can do to control the situation and mitigate the damage.
There’s no rule in media relations that says communicators need to answer a reporter’s question immediately, particularly during a crisis. Never lie to a reporter, but sometimes doing the best thing for a brand means deferring on a question until you’re ready with an answer that’s carefully crafted. Veteran communicator Arthur Solomon offers tips about how to do this well.
We can speculate about why Wells Fargo created bogus credit cards or the motivation other brands had for doing things they knew were wrong or even illegal. Tobacco giant Philip Morris International is trying to remake itself into a purveyor of smoke-less product. It says it wants to discourage teen smoking. Then why was it flouting its own rules and using young, attractive influencers to tout its cigarette alternative?
Communicators know it can be difficult to manage a crisis. What about if you’re asked to handle a crisis when the power is down, or you can’t access the Internet or your phone? Better have a digital go-bag ready. Though Adam Probolsky has made preparations for a zombie apocalypse, he also has suggestions for what communicators should pack in their digital go-bags to handle more mundane crises.
Measurement guru Katie Paine provides her take on Boeing’s (737 Max 8) and Samsung’s (Fold phone) crisis-management strategies. Her verdict is that neither company did a good job, though the negative implications seem to be lighter for Samsung.
Our regular Stealable Slide feature looks at a slide Kevin Elliott of Hill + Knowlton Strategies presented during PRNEWS’ Crisis Management Summit in Miami Beach last March. Interestingly, Elliott says the key lesson the slide illustrates is not seen on the slide itself.
When you don’t check the pulse of your surrounding community, you risk losing media opportunities and relationship-building moments that could drive more customers to your brand. And when a crisis arises, community engagement can make or break you.
The opioid epidemic has touched one in three Americans, a new survey from NPR and Ipsos shows. In addition, pharma’s narrative about its role in the epidemic has failed to resonate with a significant majority of the American public. What steps should industry communicators take to rehabilitate pharma’s reputation with the public? Crisis communications provides a possible option.