PR pros often focus on the “fun” side of social: the stories, images and conversations that bring a brand to life. Unfortunately, darker forces also exist. Brands face a number of adversaries; from account hacks to bot attacks. Sometimes, brands are their own worst enemy, violating federal regulations that a communicator may not have even been aware of.
PR pros are always ready with a statement for the press. Well…maybe not always. What happens when a situation occurs that blindsides you, like when someone uses gasoline to dry a wet ball field? We asked a group of communicators. Their top response: Never say ‘No Comment.’ Use the opportunity to offer your version of the story or promise to get back to the reporter when you have substantive information.
Knowing how and when to respond to a crisis and having the resources to manage a crisis and not allow the daily business of communications to fall through the cracks were some of the pain points communicators mentioned during a recent roundtable.
In each edition of PRNEWS we highlight takeaways from select articles as well as important notes for subscribers and additions to the PR News Subscriber Resources Center. This month we have takeaways from several articles and a reminder to PRNEWS subscribers to take advantage of the 33 percent discount on all PRNEWS events and webinars.
Sure, air disasters take a long time to investigate, and much of what’s being said now on behalf of Boeing is speculation to mitigate the crisis until they have real answers. Some big companies are wary of admitting their faults, making the need for true oversight all the more pressing. But when it happens, oh how positive the results can be.
Large companies often fail at crisis management because they view the situation only from their perspective. A more successful crisis-management effort considers the views of external stakeholders. In addition, several exercises can help communications teams boost speed and confidence during a crisis.
Sometimes the most difficult parts of PR crisis management are the basics, when and if to react to something and what to say. The billionaire owner of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots provides fresh evidence as he and his entourage mangle the sex scandal he’s battling. Was issuing an inauthentic apology the way to go?
Conventional wisdom urges brands to own their mistakes and be as transparent as possible with your explanation of them. Another maxim is that when you don’t tell your story, someone else will gladly do it for you, though that version may differ greatly from your narrative. Facebook said it exposed millions of users’ passwords to thousands of its staff. It discovered the issue in January. Why did it wait until the end of March to mention it?
The standard line today is that it’s best for brands to practice transparency as much as possible. Maybe, though, the largest brands can get away with not being transparent. Amazon made two significant policy changes in the first weeks of March and refused to say anything about them. Nike endured a few months of crisis prior to Colin Kaepernick with nary a public word. Was avoiding comment the right call?
The fatal crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, 2019, re-opened PR issues surrounding a previous air disaster, the demise of a Lion Air flight in October 2018. Boeing’s 737 Max 8 was the aircraft in both crashes. Boeing denies a new flight control system in the Max 8 is to blame for the Lion Air crash. It also claims it communicated to airlines how to use the system. Some victims’ families deny Boeing’s claims.