Restoring Trust After A Crisis

The major challenge for a business after a major crisis is regaining public trust.  It has taken years for a business to build the trust and now that the crisis has hit, the business must begin rebuilding the trust again.  It helps if the business had a reservoir of goodwill prior to the crisis and managed the crisis with a strong response.  It cannot be emphasized enough that in having a  strong crisis management plan in place during the crisis helps in the rebuilding.

So now moving forward what is to be done?

The first step is to explain now that the crisis has passed what steps the business is doing to ensure that it will never happen again.  This message must be conveyed to the public, vendors, and internally to employees.  This should be done in a strong way, outlining the specific steps that are being taken.

A greater emphasis on customer satisfaction and service is critical during this time period.  Look at the steps United Airlines took after its disaster when a passenger was dragged off one of its flights.

The organization might want to look at developing a new mission statement as it emerges from the crisis.  This should emphasize more than just profits.  It should put a premium on customer service and making the world, the country, state, or city a better place.

Ethics and sensitivity training programs based upon the crisis should be instituted. This helps ensure that every employee knows the proper procedures and what is expected of them.

Also a greater emphasis should be placed on community outreach and charitable programs.  This will help rebuild goodwill and also show that the company cares.

Rebuilding a reputation after a crisis doesn’t happen overnight but it can be done.  Just as with the crisis, you need a strong plan for after the crisis to regain public trust.

Tips For print Interviews

Here are some useful tips for print interviews.

  • Print interviews comprise of newspapers, magazines, and online news resources such as blogs.
  • Are typically done over the telephone or via email.
  • Unlike live radio interviews, if the interviewer stumbles or remembers something they want to add to the interview, they can go back to the answer.
  • Always make sure you have a clear phone line.
  • If you can’t hear a question ask them to repeat it.
  • In print and online interviews, the more that you provide the better as your answers will be edited. So the more information that you provide, the greater the chance you make it into the story.
  • Some print and online stories will be available the next day, some are for future stories that may not appear for several weeks or months.
  • Never ask the reporter or blogger to read back your answers to you.
  • Never demand to see the story beforehand.
  • Always record the interview.

How To Maximize A Red Carpet Event

Red carpet events are a major component of any celebrity’s publicity campaign.  Almost daily the news is filled with images of celebrities at red carpet events.  From film premieres to record releases to award shows to charity events to art shows, these events are a major component of entertainment publicity.  Whether you are attending the event to promote your work or as a guest it is essential to maximize the event.

How can you do this?  By following some simple tips.

  1. Know the event.  Yes, we all know what the red carpet event is but as in everything, the devil is in the details.  You need to know the dress code, the carpet times (when it opens and closes), the purpose, and the host.
  2. Be prepared. Red carpet events can be unpredictable and sometimes chaotic.  Know that.  Reporters typically ask the same questions at these events – what brought you here; what are you working on now; and where can we find you (social media and website) – knowing this you can have you answers ready.
  3. Be on time. Red carpet events are only open for a certain period of time and the press doesn’t stay after the event has closed.  Some events will tell you when to be there others don’t give an exact time.  The best thing is to be at the event precisely when it starts or even a few minutes early.
  4. Take your time. Most red carpet events have a cushion time between participants.  Don’t rush through the event.  Your publicist will be there or the event will have a person assigned to you to announce you to photographers and reporters.  Just pace yourself and don’t rush.
  5. Be consistent with the brand you have established. You have worked hard to establish your personal brand. At the event be consistent with the image that you have developed.  That means in your answers, body posture, and attire be the person that you have branded.
  6. Utilize the media. The purpose of the event regardless of why you are attending is to promote your brand.  Reporters are the way to do this. Engage them when they interview you.  Answer all of the questions.  When doing this look at the reporter and not the cameras and fans about you.  That makes for a better interview.
  7. Utilize social media. The one thing many celebrities forget is the power of social media.  Tweet at the event.  Tag the event in all posts related to it.  Utilize pictures from the event on all social media channels.  In many ways, the social media aspect of the event will reach even more people than the traditional media aspect.

Red carpet events are a part of life for any celebrity and a key to successful publicity.  Avoiding mistakes and maximizing the events are critical for long term branding and success.

Who Are You Gonna Call During A Crisis

It cannot be stressed enough that any good public relations strategy should include a crisis communications plan.  Too often brands and companies overlook this and when a disaster strikes, they are caught unprepared.  One aspect of a crisis communications plan is determining who should be called in and consulted when the crisis hits and a response is needed.

So to paraphrase the movie, Ghostbusters, ‘who are you gonna call’ when a crisis strikes?

  1. The CEO/President – As Harry Truman famously said, “the buck stops here”, and that is particularly true during a crisis. The CEO/President is the public face of the company during a crisis.  They set the public tone for the organization.
  2. General Counsel/Organization Attorney – A crisis often involves a legal issue. Any response during the crisis could have legal implications.  A lawyer is essential to review and answer these questions.
  3. Company Communications Officer – This is the internal communications specialist who knows the company’s brand story and values. This person will work to ensure the company response corresponds with them and includes both internal and external audiences.
  4. Human Resources Officer – A crisis affects an organization’s employees. This person helps make sure that proper information is relayed to employees during the crisis and helps address any misinformation and concerns among employees.
  5. Social Media Officer – A major mistake many companies make during a crisis is forgetting to have a response on social media and to monitor social media. This person ensures that the social media response is consistent with the traditional media response.
  6. Outside Public Relations – This is an outside public relations professional who brings an outside and objective perspective to the crisis.

Identifying all the key players that are needed within the organization is essential for a cohesive crisis communications response when disaster strikes.  Far too often, organizations waste precious time during a crisis in identifying what personnel are needed for the crisis.

Tips For Acing A Media Interview

Media interviews are a part of the media relations component of a public relations and branding campaign.  It involves working with the media for the purpose of informing the public of an organization’s mission, policies, and practices in a positive, consistent, and credible manner. Positive media coverage reinforces and builds greater brand identity, creates a positive feeling among consumers, and helps build a reservoir of goodwill in case of negative news stories.

When doing a media interview, it essential to remember a few key points:

  • Even in a positive story never consider the reporter as a friend.
  • Nothing is ever off the record.
    • Reporters will often record an interview. Sometimes they will tell the subject.  Other times they will not.  Some reporters use their smartphones without ever telling the subject.
    • A smart rule is to make your own recording. If something is misquoted or taken out of context you have the response ready to rebut.
  • You know far more about the subject than the reporter does. Most reporters do minimal research.  They often get story ideas from social media, tips, or pitches from PR people.  They are interviewing you as the expert.
  • Never lie to a reporter.
  • If you don’t have an answer readily available tell the reporter that and then get the answer as soon as possible.
  • Make sure if a reporter is doing a story that they have all of your contact information.

Successful media interviews go a long way in establishing a positive brand reputation.  Just like anything it takes practice and discipline to be successful.

Planning Is Indispensable In Crisis Management

Dwight Eisenhower famously said, “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” The same could apply in planning for a crisis.  A crisis can happen at anytime.  It can affect any brand.  A crisis doesn’t care about the size of the organization.  With social media and the 24/7 news cycle, a crisis that might never have gotten any attention several years ago or only localized coverage can be splashed across the networks and make national headlines, destroying years of positive brand building.  What is worse is that much of the damage could have been avoided if the brand had done some crisis management planning.

When the first media call happens or first negative social media post goes live, most brands are still scrambling on how to respond to the crisis.  They are determining who will speak for the brand, what stakeholders need to be addressed, what the response should be, and the legal implications.  By the time they have determined all of this, the crisis is engulfing their organization, they have lost several news cycles, and social media is exploding.

That is why as Eisenhower said, planning is indispensable.  Effective planning will address the importance of moving quickly under pressure; not losing critical news cycles and allowing social media to run amok. It also allows for potential regulatory and political impact to be evaluated immediately.

Planning allows the brand to know what stakeholders need to be addressed.  Often in a crisis, the concern is with addressing the public and investors, with vendors and employees forgotten causing great damage.  It allows for a company procedure for when the media calls and for employees to know who to refer the call to without getting caught in a gotcha moment with a reporter.  Planning allows for a coherent social media strategy to coincide with the traditional media response.  Far too often, brands forget the social media component as they are scrambling to deal with the traditional media.  This mistake can be avoided with some planning.  Finally planning can help develop the empathy that will be essential in a crisis.  Just think of United CEO Oscar Munoz’s initial response to the passenger being dragged off the plane, had he shown some empathy with his response much of the ongoing damage could have been avoided.

Planning won’t make a crisis go away but it will lessen the impact of the crisis.  That is why it is critical to have a crisis management planning session and to incorporate it into your overall public relations plan.

 

What Is A Press Release

A press release is an announcement of certain news – a product launch, book release, special event, or promotion.  It is written to receive media mention.  The headline needs to be written in a way that commands attention but isn’t seen as a sales gimmick.  The first paragraph of the press release is the most critical.  That paragraph should be the guts of the press release with the who, what, when, where, and why in it.  With cutbacks in the media it is usually the first paragraph that gets picked up if any of the press release is picked up.  After that first paragraph there should be a quote and some follow-up information included, as well as a link to the website from the business, non-profit, or author the press release is coming from.  More and more press releases are being used for a viral affect with social media and free online press websites available to post a press release.