Posts tagged “Crisis Communications”

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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Decisive action prevents Zoo from being mauled in court of public opinion

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo acted quickly and decisively when a toddler fell into the cheetah exhibit over the weekend, allegedly dropped by his mother who was inexplicably dangling the child beyond the secure parameters of the exhibit’s enclosure. Once the child was recovered safely, Zoo officials quickly determined through eyewitness interviews that the mother ignored warning signs and put her child in danger, allegedly leading to the accident.

What makes this situation different than many is that Zoo officials chose to communicate their findings and intent to pursue criminal charges immediately so the media could include that important information, even in the first round of coverage. Without that decisive action, the media would have been left to speculate as to…

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Twitter-Google combination could spell trouble in 140 characters

While details of the plan to connect the Twitter firehose with Google are still emerging, it appears on the surface that it could have a significant impact on organizations in the middle of an online crisis.

Essentially, it appears tweets are now going to show up in Google whether someone is on Twitter or not. That means that anyone doing a routine Google search will now see damaging tweets, as opposed to only those folks who are actively following news on Twitter. Negative information would have shown up before, but it will be a lot more real-time under this arrangement and could potentially cause even greater reputational damage than in the past.

Here’s one illustration. Data breaches such as #AnthemHack, which trended strongly last week, would of course still…

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