Is there a crisis in crisis PR as the Los Angeles Times (Oil Platform Fire a Disaster Mainly for PR) and The New York Times (In Case of Emergency: What Not to Do) would have us believe? Definitely not, although there were no shortage of crises to manage this past spring and summer, that’s for certain.
This week’s Friday PR Picks have a crisis management theme. One thread running through many incidents was how operational accidents grew into crises because of inadequate crisis management or poor handling of communications.
Even the words chosen by BP’s leaders came under close scrutiny in crisis with the “small people” remark by Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg and CEO Tony Hayward’s wishing aloud “I would like my life back.” Both could have used some of Susan Young’s helpful tips in 10 Essential Words and Phrases for Media Pros in a PR Crisis.
One of the biggest problems in any crisis is the tug of war between lawyers advising companies to say nothing (The Lawyer vs PR) and inside and outside PR pros advocating for transparency (PR pros advise PG&E to be transparent) as in PG&E’s gas pipeline explosion.
BP and its operators have been doing more shucking and jiving than Kanye West apologizing to Taylor Swift as they point the finger of blame at each other (Companies Involved in Gulf Oil Spill Play ‘Name That Disaster’ With Eye on Posterity). Never, ever acceptable crisis PR strategy.
The clear message is that the handling of this summer’s crop of crises by Toyota, BP, HP, Mariner Energy and PG&E leaves a great deal to be desired.
The fundamentals of crisis management should be applied in every incident:
- be prepared and trained in advance
- own the message completely or your critics will
- respond quickly with the facts you can
- communicate frequently; update as necessary
- operate transparently.
We’ve gathered a sizable collection of recent crisis PR tips, insights and resources below for your review. Study them, plan for your next crisis properly and hopefully your response will have better outcomes than those in the news recently.
Crisis PR Picks
10 Essential Words and Phrases for Media Pros in a PR Crisis [Get in Front Blogging]
A Crisis of Crisis Punditry (with Video): Why Public PR Advice Should Be Taken with a Dose of Skepticism [Bulldog Reporter]
BP Boss ‘sorry’ About ‘small people’ Remark [MSNBC]
Chief Blunder Officer: Learning from Tony Hayward’s Miscues [The Public Relations Strategist]
Companies Get a Crisis-Management Break as Media Focuses on BP Spill [Statesman.com]
Companies Involved in Gulf Oil Spill Play ‘Name That Disaster’ With Eye on Posterity [The New York Times]
Crisis Communication – San Bruno Fire [PR Meets Marketing]
Crisis Communications Isn’t a Panacea [Rex Blog]
Did Mel Gibson Pull a Tiger Woods and Make a Bad Situation Worse? [Fox News]
Don’t say too much. Or too little [Monday Morning Media Minute]
Five Steps to Better Crisis Communications [BusinessWeek]
HP Sues Former CEO for Joining Oracle [Fast Company]
Hewlett Packard and McChrystal Rules [Forbes.com]
How corporations should handle PR in crises [SFGate]
How HP Lost Control of Resignation Story [SF Gate]
How to easily Measure Crisis Communications Performance [Crisis Manager]
In Case of Emergency: What Not to Do [The New York Times]
Inviting A PR Disaster: Hewlett-Packard [Copywrite, Inc]
Is Latest Oil Rig Crisis Another PR Disaster? [The PR Coach]
Is PR a Cure-all in Every Major Crisis? [The PR Coach]
Is PR’s Crisis-Management Role In Need of Revision [Bulldog Reporter]
Live Crisis Scenarios in Digital [Conversation Agent]
Mark Hurd’s HP Dismissal: 5 Unsolved Mysteries [CIO]
Never Waste a Crisis [IPR]
New York Times Weighs in on Crisis PR–Will the Hypocrisy Never End? [Crisisblogger]
Oil Platform Fire a Disaster Mainly for PR [Los Angeles Times]
PG&E Crisis Response [Tellem Worldwide]
PR, Larry Ellison Style: “Hey Jerk” [Fortune]
PR pros advise PG&E to be transparent [Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal]
Product Recalls Are Pro-Active PR [Green Banana]
Running Into Fire: Hewlett-Packard [Copywrite, Inc]
Shrimp Boat Captain Worn Out from Long Day of Putting Human Face on Crisis [The Onion]
The Biggest Corporate Image Catastrophes [Financial Edge]
The CCO Advantage When the Boss Writes the Crisis Playbook [Arthur W Paige Society]
The Gulf of Perception [Media Bullseye]
The Lawyer vs PR [Alexander G]
What Can BP CEO Hayward’s Mistakes Teach Us? [CNN.com]
What Not to Say When Your Company Is Ruining the World [Newsweek]
Crisis & Social Media
4 Reasons JetBlue Nailed Their Social Media Response to Crazy Flight Attendant [Social Times]
Applying Risk Communication Principles to Social Media [Conversation Agent]
Crisis Communications: Engagement in a Social World [Radian6]
Crisis Management 1001: Reputation Rehab [Forbes.com]
In Case of Emergency, Update Your Facebook Status [Beth Kanter]
Social Media DO’s and DON’Ts: 6 Remedies for Any Emergency [ComMetrics]
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