Eric Mower + Associates started in the crisis management arena almost 30 years ago, working with Fortune 500 companies that needed help with overwhelming bad news.
That expertise, built up by a staff of experts, is more easily shared these days, including through an eBook that went out last month.
To supplement this eBook and bring it to life, EMA Managing Partner Greg Loh is hosting a webinar Wednesday [August 19, 2015] starting at 2 p.m.
The gist is this:
Sometimes, Bad Things happen to perfectly good companies and organizations…randomly or by accident. Sometimes, not-so-good people do Bad Things to, for or while working at perfectly good companies and organizations. Other times, companies and organizations cause nasty self-inflicted wounds through bad decisions, thoughtless actions, hubris or just plain cluelessness.
The eBook is a useful guide to a situational reality that multiplied exponentially in the social media era. When EMA started in this realm, three network television shows for 22 minutes each night and newspapers, for a similar duration, were the main examiners of corporate, non-profit and individual crises. Now, there are potentially thousands of eyes on all of us all the time.
Just recently: Tom Brady making Deflategate worse by destroying his phone; Hillary Clinton continuing to deny she did anything wrong with her State Department emails; The list goes on; and is refreshed weekly, if not daily. Planned Parenthood’s video exposure; Subway’s Jared mess. And so on.
A crisis consuming your company at some point is almost certain.
How to respond? Whether to respond? How to communicate internally? Who should be out front? How to limit the extent of a crisis? These are all aspects of crisis management EMA explains in the eBook.
We also set out five key rules that you might find instructive:
1. If bad news is going to come out anyway, you should release it first, proactively and preemptively.
2. Always reveal and share the bad news with your own people first.
3. Take all your hits in one round. Get all the bad news out at once.
4. The best way to answer tough questions is to answer them before they’re asked.
5. Facts and actions are the only things that trump rumors and speculation.
There are more aspects to successfully managing a crisis, of course, but these are good starters. And as far as coping with inevitability of a crisis, the best time to plan for one, train for one, calmly figure out how best to respond to one, is now. Not when you are in the midst of one.
The content of this blog is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It originates with Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and in four top editor positions at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs and Crisis and Reputation Management at Eric Mower + Associates, one of the nation’s largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agencies, with eight offices in the East. Learn more about EMA at mowerpr.com/crisisready. Steve’s blog is based on his own opinions and does not represent the views or positions of Eric Mower + Associates.