Communication Matters - our blog on trends and events


Posts by Matt Barkett

Introducing C3 – A Fully Digital Crisis Communications Preparedness Tool

In a world that is increasingly driven by social media and real time communication, the speed with which we conduct business needs to catch up to this ever-increasing pace. Effective and efficient communications is a critical component of success, particularly when a crisis hits. In response to this challenge, Dix & Eaton has developed an online crisis portal, replacing traditional printed crisis manuals and instilling a widely enhanced ability to effectively communicate in real time.

The Crisis Communications Center (C3), powered by Dix & Eaton, moves your crisis communications processes into a more accessible environment, enabling real-time action in the face of crisis situations. Traditional printed crisis manuals can become a liability in a world where crises…

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3 reasons to hire a PR firm during a crisis

Why is it that hiring a PR firm during a crisis is often portrayed by media as a controversial decision? If your company is being sued, it is customary and totally appropriate to hire a lawyer to defend your rights. If you get sick, you go see a doctor. If you want to build an addition to your home, you hire a licensed contractor. But if you have a crisis that is going to have public exposure and gain media attention, god forbid you get some advice on how to tell your side of the story.

When I have asked media about this over the years, I typically get an answer like “you aren’t going to tell me the truth. I want the real story.” Most of that opinion I chalk up to the fact that most reporters don’t understand what the job of a communications professional is, and…

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Take the long way home

By now, we are all accustomed to hearing ridiculous stories about bad customer service from airlines, ranging from problems transporting animals to even more jaw-dropping incidents such as the passenger who was forcibly removed from United flight 3411, which are subsequently shared on social media around the world. It seems like each day there’s a new and more egregious story, and the latest example of airline brilliance comes to us from Sun Country Airlines.

The airline faced a difficult decision created by late-season snow in Minneapolis, which forced the airline to cancel the last of its seasonal flights to Mexico as it switches its schedule to accommodate passengers for other destinations. The only problem was that there were still passengers waiting for…

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NBC gets the scoop – on itself

One of the key questions any organization has to ask itself when facing a high profile crisis that is about to go public is, “Do we proactively disclose it and get our side of the story out there first, or do we sit back and monitor the story arc to determine how we will respond?”

NBC answered this key question in the Matt Lauer scandal by going proactive, using its own “Today” platform to publicize its decisive action to fire Lauer without additional investigation after what an NBC spokesperson is claiming to be the first and only allegation of this kind against Lauer in more than 20 years of employment. Some are saying this action was a critical move to protect NBC’s reputation – but is that really what was at play here?

Just one day later, multiple news outlets…

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Want to communicate with the media better? Practice, practice, practice

Organizations that want to have effective communicators that can ably deal with the media in the course of normal business as well as in crisis situations should conduct communications training for selected executives annually. These training sessions should help create confidence in organizational spokespeople and induct the ability to deliver messages in all kinds of situations and to a wide variety of audiences. Additionally, it’ll help your spokespeople communicate better with employees as well.

Here are five components we suggest including in a media training session:

1. An overview on how the media operates.

Participants need to understand the types of people who work in the media, what they care about, how they view the world, and what their days are like,…

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