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Posts tagged “crisis preparedness”

3 lessons learned from Starbucks’ racial bias mishap

Recently, Starbucks announced that it will close 8,000 U.S. stores on the afternoon of May 29 to conduct racial bias training for its nearly 175,000 U.S. store employees. This comes after an incident at one of the company’s Philadelphia stores involving the arrest of two African-American men. The men attempted to use the store’s bathroom without making a purchase, and the situation escalated from there, including across social media.

Some say Starbucks’ response is a bold move, maybe even an over-reaction for a company that is already known for its social conscience. Still others say it’s not enough. Regardless, it’s certainly a costly decision – about $12 million in lost revenue, according to MarketWatch.

From a PR perspective, I believe a culture-driven company…

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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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And the Oscar goes to … the wrong film

PwC, the global accounting powerhouse that has been counting the Academy Award ballots since the 1930s, made a pretty big mistake when a company executive handed Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway the wrong envelope at the end of the telecast Sunday night. But they atoned pretty darn well from that point forward, and quickly turned the page by simply taking responsibility and apologizing – something rare in this day and age.

When the story blew up on social, PwC acted quickly to apologize in the same venue. With 164,000 Twitter followers and a full night of live tweets from the Red Carpet already posted, PwC couldn’t hide. Instead, they promptly posted an apology and took responsibility. Many companies would have waited until all the facts were known, an understandable…

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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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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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