Social media has made listening easy, right? Not so fast. There’s listening and then there’s critical listening. It’s not hard to figure out which kind is more advantageous for communicators. Tips and thoughts about listening will help your career blossom.
Anything can be politicized, however, it takes a very serious turn when the safety of people is at stake. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, home of the National Weather Service, continues to be at odds following a tumultuous week with the White House on the communication of disinformation regarding Hurricane Dorian and the state of Alabama.
The M.I.T. Media Lab’s long, underreported history of recieving donations from the late convicted sex offender and philanthropist Jeffrey Epstein contains several lessons for those working in industries that have recurring moral and ethical crises, most noticeably around acknowledging roles, calling out patterns of bad behavior and scrutinizing philanthropic relationships.
PR pros can learn much from the messaging of businesses, organizations and government agencies during hurricane season, from communicating in a calm, measured tone to what language should be avoided. While some may lose reception in the thick of a storm, a sound social strategy during prep and recovery can help many withstand, and, if necessary, rebuild.
The United Auto Workers (UAW) and General Electric Corp. (GE) took different paths in their crisis response. GE spoke out quickly, questioning accusations of an Enron-like fraud. More than that, its CEO invested $2 million of his own money into the company. The UAW, however, has barely addressed the fraud charges some of its leaders have faced. Its membership is getting restless.
During any crisis, company leaders should be bringing a diverse group of voices to the table to discuss the response—especially top PR pros and legal. But the traditional stereotype has PR professionals and lawyers battling in a crisis. Lawyers want to say nothing. PR pros want a quick and complete response. Meanwhile, the crisis may be unspooling and doing irrevocable damage to your brand. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
NYPD commissioner James O’Neill crafted a well-written statement announcing the firing of Officer Daniel Pantaleo earlier this week. In a highly volatile situation, sometimes the best a communicator can do is stake out a position that she or he believes is correct, issue a statement and brace for incoming attacks.
Whether it be flight delays, shark sightings, wildfires or mudslides, tourism public relations pros should hope for the best, but always prepare for the worst, especially in the summer during peak vacation time. Denali National Park showed preparedness, and a quick resolution of a scary situation, which many organizations would be right to mirror. These takeaways can help guide your brand through the worst crisis.
This past Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stock market index hit its lowest point in 2019. Many critics pointed to President Trump’s decision to tie his performance to the markets and start a trade war with China, while economists worried about something called the inverted yield curve, which can point to an imminent recession. For communicators in either the financial sector, or those speaking to an organization’s finances, this panic yields many opportunities to practice educational, non-siloed PR. Here are a few things to focus on.
The Newark water crisis, like its sister tragedy in Flint, Michigan, has proven to be an insurmountable PR challenge for local government. More than 100 of the 240 water samples derived from the city of Newark this year contained federally unacceptable levels of lead, leaving impacted occupants of the city panicked for clean water. As families grow thirstier for an explanation behind the chaos, they have started to believe legal action may be the only way to motivate local government.