Tuesday, March 22, 2011

PPRA’s "Crisis PR & Reputation Management" March Luncheon Program

Posted by Leah Ludwig

This week I attended a great event on crisis PR and reputation management hosted by the Philadelphia Public Relations Association. The following panelists participated in the discussion: Karen Friedman of Karen Friedman Enterprises, Inc.; Jeff Jubelirer of Jubelirer Strategies; Anne Klein of Anne Klein Communications Group; and Joshua Peck of Duane Morris LLP. The event was moderated by Richard Maloney of SEPTA (and former KYW Newsradio reporter).

We often blog on this topic here at The PR Lawyer and the key points always seem to be the same – plan, plan, plan. Well, this event spoke about different ways to look at “crisis” situations and continual reputation management. Below follow some of the twitter conversation and my bulleted take-aways from the program.

Crucial to have a crisis process in place as opposed to a crisis plan – since each situation is so different. (Richard Maloney)

One thing we can prevent in a #crisis is being caught unprepared. It’s a surprise when it happens, but it’s not unexpected - @annekleincg

The old joke is the wife is the last to know. The PR person is really the last to know. - Richard Maloney of @Septa

Do the right thing and be a decent human being. (Karen Friedman)

Be transparent in a #crisis. Communicate and control, bc in the absence of a message, rumor and innuendo fill the gap - @karenfriedmane

This doesn’t seem to be a difficult concept to understand, but in a crisis sometimes CEOs and upper management lose their cool and their integrity.

Questions that will be asked by reporters – what does this mean? So what? Who cares and how does this affect them? (Karen Friedman)

As a former reporter, I would always ask two questions: When did you know about it? and what did you do about it? - @karenfriedmane

Joshua Peck gave a great example of how the Archdiocese should have publicly handled the sex-abuse charges and claims. He scripted an apology for the Archdiocese to share with the media involving sincere apology and regret, acknowledgement of wrong-doing, and ways that the organization will be working to right the wrongs that have been done.

With law firm, communications professionals write a proposed script, discuss, & hope to influence the speech the speaker gives - @joshuapeck

When doing an interview in a #crisis, give consideration to your audience and frame the message for what THEY care about - @karenfriedmane

If a #crisis topic is highly technical, choose someone who deals with the product/subject daily, not the CEO - @annekleincg

Analyzing the court of law versus the court of public opinion. (Anne Klein/Karen Friedman)

The court of law and the court of public opinion are two different things. If your stakeholders need to hear it, say it. - @annekleincg

PR people should be advocates for their clients who are in the midst of a crisis and can speak to their clients’ attorneys about what will and will not affect a trial, but will support their cause within the court of public opinion.

Apologies aren’t always sincere in this day in age. Acknowledge an unfortunate situation and handle it through risk management techniques. (Karen Friedman)

The art of the apology is overused. It is often phony and it doesn't cut it anymore. Can you spell #TigerWoods? - @karenfriedmane

@HRNer0 @karenfriedmane suggests acknowledging it is an unfortunate situation, but focusing on what you will do to fix the problem

Getting your clients on board with proactive crisis and reputation discussions before a real crisis strikes – compare your client to their peers that may be going through the issues. Is your client prepared? Analyze the pros and cons of being prepared and using PR to your advantage. (Jeff Jubelirer/Joshua Peck)

Your clients don't want to be like their competitors, so #crisis examples from them can be helpful to avoid same mistakes - @jub_strategies

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