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Ohio Report on Earthquakes Hits Shale Gas Industry

For some time, the burgeoning Ohio oil and gas industry has enjoyed a largely positive public perception. On Friday, regulators in Columbus issued an announcement that created a mounting communications crisis and could alter public support.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) said it had found a “probable connection” between the drilling activity or “fracking” of Hilcorp Energy Co. and a series of earthquakes that occurred in Mahoning County’s Poland Township in March.

ODNR halted drilling within a three-mile radius of the epicenter of the quakes. Regulators said firms active in the Utica Shale formation, which runs under Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, must install seismic monitors if they drill within three miles of a known fault. They also…

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Six strategies for more effective earnings disclosures

As the first-quarter earnings season gets underway, now is a great time to assess whether your company is communicating as effectively as it can with its earnings disclosures. Here are a few ideas to consider:

1) Provide supplemental financial information

Are you spending hours on follow-up calls with analysts who are all asking for the same data points needed for their models? If so, you may want to provide additional financial data within your earnings release or as a supplemental disclosure on your website. For example, LinkedIn posts a document called Selected Company Metrics and Financials along with its earnings release. This could help you not only improve the quality of your callback discussions, but also mitigate the disclosure risk during these…

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The five W’s of building a personal social media brand for business

I have a lot of conversations with clients, prospects and colleagues about how they can more effectively use their personal social media accounts for business purposes. Oftentimes, those same people are charged with owning the social media accounts for their organizations. They spend a lot of time thinking about strategy and execution around their company’s brand, but spend virtually no time thinking about how to maximize the impact of their personal social media brand, particularly in the context of how it can help them professionally.

Think about the FIVE W’s as you formulate your personal social media brand for business:

  • Who – Who are you trying to reach? Or trying to influence? It’s important to know who your desired audience is in order to share content…
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The worst kind of crisis – Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

As a crisis PR guy, I’m often asked to define the worst kind of crisis or to recall the worst one I’ve ever seen. My response typically is that crises come in all sizes and have wide disparity in their impact. Big explosions, massive chemical spills, transportation accidents leaving many dead, well, those are pretty obvious. But at the same time, a stolen laptop can be a big deal too, depending on what’s on it and who has it now.

Inevitably, though, my answer is that crises that come with a vigil are the worst. A crisis where people are missing and possibly dead and no answers are immediately apparent  – those are the hardest for everyone involved, including the company officials most directly responsible for the operation where the crisis occurred.

We have worked…

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Proxy letter to shareholders – form or substance?

Many companies include a letter to shareholders with their proxy materials. But if yours amounts to little more than a form letter or an afterthought, you may be missing an opportunity for your shareholders to hear directly from your management team and/or the board.

A recent webinar hosted by Georgeson and Latham & Watkins, “2014 Proxy Season: What you should know as you draft your proxy statement and prepare for your annual meeting,” highlighted a few letters that show how some companies are leveraging this communications opportunity very effectively. Specifically, thinking of the letter to shareholders in the context of overall good governance practices opens up additional content and messaging avenues to help ensure shareholders understand your corporate story.…

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