Posts tagged “crisis communications”

Safety at the airport: It’s not just after you get through security anymore

Last week, as I was putting the finishing touches on a presentation I am doing on handling communications around an active shooter situation for the Airports Council International (ACI) trade association’s annual gathering of risk managers, I suddenly had a bunch of new material to discuss after Friday’s tragic events in Fort Lauderdale.

Unfortunately, airports are becoming increasingly common targets for violence, and their exposure points are being uncovered by those who seek to do harm to innocent people who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. From Brussels to Los Angeles and Oklahoma City to Fort Lauderdale, travelers are finding themselves in harm’s way outside of established secure zones.

While TSA officials, airports and airlines have done a…

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Last call for Sarkisian – but will USC pick up the tab?

Steve Sarkisian, the recently fired University of Southern California head football coach, has a drinking problem. Apparently he’s had one for years. After he allegedly showed up bombed for a morning practice on October 11 and was sent home by his assistant coaches, USC athletic director Pat Haden decided it was time for an “indefinite leave of absence” so Sarkisian could deal with his “health issues.”

A day later, Haden changed his mind and fired Sarkisian after reports emerged he was also drinking before a USC-Arizona State football game and numerous media reported prior incidents of out-of-control drinking while he was coaching at the University of Washington. Haden said following the firing that USC was aware of at least one recent incident bad enough to earn…

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Lessons from the United Airlines leadership crisis

In some ways, the situation United is facing – it’s newly appointed CEO had a heart attack shortly into the job after the previous CEO left abruptly following a scandal – is unique. However, this should be a wakeup call for all companies that the unexpected can happen. And, your company’s leadership – and by extension, its succession planning – are key topics that matter to your investors, employees, customers and other stakeholders.

In my opinion, the company fumbled nearly all aspects of its response from both a communications and corporate governance perspective – in that they did not control their message, but rather allowed it to be controlled by others. While these situations can be highly emotional, United’s slow response left an unfortunate vacuum of…

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#worstauntever hung out to dry

When I saw the headline about the aunt who sued her nephew because he broke her arm in a freak accident, I wondered how that lawsuit made any sense from a publicity perspective. Surely she talked about it with her lawyers in advance and realized the possibility that if picked up by media, a story like that would portray her in a very bad light.

In our current media environment, which operates on instant access, shotgun-fast reactions and opinions, thinking through in advance how something can become viral and have real consequences in the aftermath is incredibly important. And sure enough, we now have #worstauntever as evidence this lawsuit – and the quick defeat at a jury trial – may not have been the best idea.

Initially, #worstauntever Jennifer Connell did not…

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Jared may be getting off the Subway

The news that Subway restaurant pitchman and famous weight-loss success story Jared Fogle might be linked to a child pornography case underscores the need for companies that leverage celebrity spokespeople to remain vigilant of their activities long after background checks are conducted upfront. Fogle has been a mainstay of Subway advertisements for 15 years, and founded the Jared Foundation in 2004 to encourage children to develop healthy habits of eating and exercise.

Let’s be clear. Fogle hasn’t been accused of anything, but he may never regain his credibility as a spokesperson. Even the hint of crimes against children can taint a person forever in the court of public opinion.

In May, the Jared Foundation’s former director was indicted on federal child…

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