Crisis Management


U.S. Postal Service’s Response to Trump’s Executive Order Holds Key PR Takeaway

April 13th, 2018 by

The USPS responded to President Trump’s executive order by aligning with his frustrations and acknowledging that it has several opportunities to improve. As a case study, this statement provides communicators with a practical, tactical example of how to handle criticism and calls for reform when those calls come from the very top.


Tony Robbins’ PR Gains & Losses From #MeToo Comments in Front of Thousands

April 9th, 2018 by

In a video filmed at Robbins’ “Unleash the Power Within” event, the self-help guru told his audience of thousands that women were relying on #MeToo to “try to get significance and certainty by attacking and destroying someone else.” Audience member Nanine McCool is shown attempting to explain to Robbins that he misunderstood the importance of #MeToo before being interrupted by him with more provocative statements and actions. But is this purely bad PR for Robbins in this era?


Lessons From Morgan Stanley’s Silence in the Face of a Physical Abuse Issue

April 6th, 2018 by

Is it better for a company to own a bad situation and communicate about the underlying issue or remain silent and hope it all goes away? That was the predicament for Morgan Stanley recently when a front-page story in the NY Times exposed the company knew a star employee was battling repeated accusations from multiple parties of physical abuse and stalking. Claudia Keith, chief communications officer of the City of Palo Alto, CA, argues Morgan Stanley’s response will hurt its reputation and bottom line.


YouTube Shooting Shows Brands Can Be Unwillingly Dragged Into a Crisis

April 4th, 2018 by

Several early media reports about yesterday’s awful shooting at YouTube headquarters in San Bruno, CA, linked the alleged shooter’s actions to YouTube policies on monetization of videos and prohibiting gun-related content. In reality the shooter likely was mentally disturbed as there can be no justification for shooting at innocent people. What can brand communicators learn from this incident?

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When Sorry Isn’t Enough: Three Tips for Companies to Protect Reputation in Ingraham’s Wake

April 2nd, 2018 by

The U.S. public is feeling empowered to use social media to document or talk about a company’s wrong doing. The latest target seems to be Fox News Channel’s Laura Ingraham, whose taunting of a Parkland student on Twitter sent one dozen brands fleeing from her show. A question for brand communicators: How do you protect your company’s reputation in this fast-moving name and shame environment? APCO’s Katie Sprehe has several suggestions.


Under Armour Arms MyFitnessPal Users With Facts About Data Breach, After Curious Delay

March 30th, 2018 by

Following a data breach by an unknown party in February, Under Armour—MyFitnessPal’s parent company—released an email on March 29 notifying users of the incident. In the email, Under Armour explained that the hack was initially discovered on March 25, and “the affected information included usernames, email addresses, and hashed passwords—the majority with the hashing function called bcrypt used to secure passwords.”


Weber Shandwick’s Work for MSU Raises Questions About Client Vetting

March 29th, 2018 by

Weber Shandwick’s crisis management work for Michigan State University (MSU) has come to light, dealing a blow to the industry’s reputation—and raising questions about the agency’s client-vetting process. While the price tag is raising some eyebrows—Weber Shandwick billed MSU for more than $500,000 for one month’s work—the real question for PR pros is, what should agencies do when they consider taking on a controversial client, particularly in the age of #MeToo?


Will Facebook’s New Privacy Controls Affect Communicators?

March 28th, 2018 by

Following a lengthy lashing in the press and the loss of $95 billion in market value over the last week, Facebook has taken steps to make it easier for users to control the privacy of their personal data. The platform rolled out redesigned security settings that allow users to control what personal information the social network and its third-party apps can store. Yet some data—such as records of the ads that users clicked on—will still be visible.


Crisis Experts Share What Brands Can Learn From Heineken’s Ad Fiasco

March 27th, 2018 by

Heineken is facing a backlash on social media for a Heineken Light advertisement that many are calling racist. The offending ad portrayed a bottle of Heineken Light sliding across a bar past black patrons and into a white customer’s hands, along with the tagline, “Sometimes, lighter is better.” Two crisis management experts weigh in on this latest messaging fumble.


3 Tiers of a Social Media Crisis—and How to Manage Each One of Them

March 26th, 2018 by

Savvy communicators know that having a crisis plan in place before a situation emerges is crucial for any brand. But not every negative comment requires a full-scale mobilization of the proverbial troops. Some social media crises can be mitigated before they gain widespread attention. Taking a tiered approach to crisis management strategy is important for avoiding blunders. By examining your company’s audience and vulnerabilities ahead of time, you can create protocols for each tier.