Bernstein Crisis Management. Crisis response, prevention, planning, and training.
crisis Management | BCM Home
Biography
Recommendations
About BCM
Services
Articles
Newsletter
Bookstore
Media Coverage
Contact
Privacy Policy
Sitemap


Enter Keywords

   

crisis management, reputation management
Bernstein Crisis Management Blog
crisis management, reputation management
Bernstein Crisis Management Blog
crisis management, reputation management
Subscribe to the Bernstein Crisis Management RSS Feed
crisis management, reputation management


 

Definition of a Crisis
Any situation that is threatening or could threaten to harm people or property,
seriously interrupt operations, damage reputation and/or negatively impact the bottom line.
Crisis Manager Internet Newsletter about Crisis Management

02.01.02
ISSN:1528-3836
© 2002 Jonathan Bernstein
Circulation: 2,700+


JUST A THOUGHT

There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation.

--Herbert Spencer

AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION

Editor's Note: since editors proof copy often, typos tend to jump off the page at them (except our own, of course). Likewise, those of us in crisis management are often able to spot vulnerabilities more quickly than others, the heart of crisis prevention. Two such vulnerabilities are mentioned below -- the first already starting to get some media attention, the latter, to my knowledge, heretofore unknown. It's the kind of thing we look for when conducting a vulnerability audit and, if you are in the industries mentioned, or serve them, you now have the opportunity to be proactive, before you're in "breaking crisis" mode.

The Enron Hangover
Prevention Alert to Professional Service Firms

In a recent Reuters story, the head of corporate credit research at T. Rowe Price said, "We're really suffering from the Enron Hangover."

He was referring, of course, to the downstream impact of the Enron affair, the crisis of confidence in professional service organizations -- NOT JUST ACCOUNTING FIRMS.

Companies in the professional service/consulting category should be employing attorneys and crisis-savvy PR pros to conduct a combined legal/PR analysis and discussions to determine (a) if their system of operation makes them more vulnerable to an "Enron-like" situation, or even if it could be PERCEIVED that way; (b) the best possible way of positioning any issue with which they're currently faced that COULD be interpreted as resembling the Enron situation, whether or not it is yet public knowledge; and (c) how to answer questions that are going to be faced by all professional service organizations in the weeks and months ahead.

Hotel Bellmen Create Gap in Airport Security
Alert to the Travel & Hospitality Industry

First, I regret the need to bring this up. The second-to-last thing any traveler wants right now is yet another security related delay. But the last thing a traveler wants is to be blown out of the sky.

The travel industry appears to be doing a vastly improved job of blocking terrorists from their front and back doors, but unfortunately a side door is still wide open.

Anyone who has access to or controls our luggage between when we pack it and when we check it in creates risk. The most obvious two possibilities are bellmen and taxi drivers, to the extent either has access to our bags for a period of time that we're not around or not paying attention. Most luggage locks, if we have any, are essentially useless, so we can't count on them.

It's up to travelers with this kind of exposure to do a final pre-check-in inspection of their luggage and for airlines to ask us if others have handled our bags on the way to the airport.

In every crisis there's an opportunity: in this case, for hotels and airport transportation services that are particularly good about employee security to brag about that; for luggage manufacturers to sell more products with locks that are actually secure; and, if this isn't too shocking a concept, for airlines to get out AHEAD of this threat before they're forced to.

CRISIS MANAGER BUSINESS ANNOUNCEMENTS

Branding Crisis Manager

You can arrange to distribute "Crisis Manager" to your own email list with a "Brought to You By" credit in the masthead. There is no charge and only some reasonable restrictions to preserve the integrity of the publication. Several organizations are already doing this and finding that it is appreciated by their contacts. Write to jonathan@bernsteincrisismanagement.com for more info.

Crisis Manager Presentations & Workshops

Want to REALLY get some of this information into the hearts and minds of your organization? Your ineffable ezine editor and crisis communications consultant and his talented associate, Phil Cogan, are available to make presentations and lead workshops. Their presentations can often be certified for the continuing education credits required by a number of professions. Write to jonathan@bernsteincrisismanagement.com or call (626) 825-3838.

PRODUCT/SERVICE REVIEW

Editor's Note -- from time to time I learn of products and services that could have particular application for crisis management and bring information on them to this ezine. News Talkers is a service from MDS that looks particularly promising. I'm hoping to get a case history on how News Talkers has been employed for a future issue.

Crisis communications just got a big helping hand with the launch of "News Talkers," the high-speed, low-cost alternative to conventional PR audio and video. You and your colleagues can now add audio and/or video to emergency communications for a fraction of what VNRs and satellite media tours cost and in no time flat.

Developed by Media Distribution Services (MDS), the country's largest PR distribution service for more than 25 years, "News Talkers" are interviews with spokespersons, 2 to 10 minutes long, produced by phone or in person by MDS and posted within one hour for access via the Internet. During crises, they can be directed to employees, investors, customers, the media and other key audiences. They can serve as stand-alone commentary or supporting material. They are promoted by fax or e-mail. Audio "News Talkers" are $495. Video "News Talkers" are $795.

For $300 more, "News Talkers" can be announced to up to 300 editors and reporters by name and "beat" from MDS's daily updated database of 250,000 editorial contacts at the more than 50,000 print and broadcast media in North America, plus all daily newspapers worldwide and the U.S. Congress and its staffs. The list research and delivery report are free. MDS can also provide recipient names and phone numbers for follow-up pitches.

For a description and demonstration of "News Talkers," visit www.mdsconnect.com, or call Don Bates or TJ Walker at 800-MDS-DATA (in New York City, 212-279-4800). E-mail: services@mdsconnect.com.

!MANAGE THIS!

What Makes a Good Spokesperson?
by Karen Friedman

While a spokesperson that has experience inside a news organization or political campaign is probably better equipped to deal with pressure and deadlines, it is not a prerequisite for the job. All spokespeople however, regardless of past experience should be able to put the following tips into play:

  • Believe in what you're saying.
  • Eliminate industry jargon if you're not talking to an industry audience.
  • Attitude creates a lasting impression.
  • Give sincere and honest answers. If you don't know, say so.
  • Opinions don't count. Be able to back up statements with facts.
  • Off the record is not advised.
  • Deliver clear concise messages in terms audiences can relate to and understand.
  • Show care and concern during difficult situations.
  • Put your audience first and provide information from their viewpoint.
  • Only provide information that is confirmed.
  • Know what you want to say in advance and deliver that message regardless of what questions are asked.
  • Examples, anecdotes, visual images, stories and metaphors make your message memorable.
  • Show energy and enthusiasm.
  • Proactive is better than reactive. Don't wait for someone to come to you.
  • Easily accessible and available.
  • Remember not to lie or speculate.
  • Smile when appropriate so people think you want to be there.
  • Own what you say and give it meaning.
  • Never say "No Comment" even if you have nothing to say.

Karen Friedman brings 20 years of on-air television experience to media and communications training and consulting. Her Philadelphia area company, Karen Friedman Enterprises prepares people to take advantage of media interviews, presentations and public appearances. Friedman is a frequent speaker and can be reached at: 610-292-9780 or through her website at www.karenfriedman.com.

CRISIS MANAGER ON THE SPOT

Q: Jonathan, I've not had a lot of luck selling my management on the idea of creating a crisis communications plan. They seem to look at it strictly as an expense. What can I tell them to change their minds?

A: I can't guarantee this will change their minds, but try these rhetorical questions:

  • What's the cost of one lawsuit that could be prevented by learning the type of information collected during the vulnerability audit portion of crisis planning, or of having a lawsuit make a REALLY big stink in the press as opposed to a minor smell?
  • What's the cost of facing criticism from some or all of your important audiences for "bungling" crisis response?
  • When do you make better decisions about what to say and do during a crisis -- on the fly, under fire, or when you have the chance to carefully think through potential scenarios in advance?
  • What's the value of the organization's goodwill, brand names, general reputation? Take 1/10 of one percent of that. It will far exceed the cost of developing and maintaining a crisis communications plan.
  • How many employees have won the lottery, won a casino jackpot or a new car? Are you willing to bet the company that the same amount of luck will get you through the next crisis?

I can give you a lot more like this but, frankly, if the above doesn't move 'em at all, then the only thing likely to is a crisis of sufficient magnitude -- assuming the organization survives it.

PLAIN ENGLISH DISCLOSURE

Bernstein Crisis Management has formal or informal co-promotional and mutually beneficial business associations with PIER Systems, Inc., PR Newswire's ProfNet service and CustomScoop. No, we can't go into details because that's confidential, proprietary, etc. But our relationship is NOT "arm's distance" and you should know that, since we regularly write about how we're using these services for crisis and issues management. That said, you should also know that Bernstein Crisis Management sought the relationships because its staff is convinced that these services are the best of their kind for Bernstein Crisis Management's needs and those of their clients. If you have any questions about these relationships, please contact Jonathan Bernstein, (626) 825-3838.

ABOUT THE EDITOR

Jonathan Bernstein is president & CEO of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., a national public relations agency specializing in crisis response, issues management and litigation consulting. It is also the only national PR agency able to create crisis- and issues-specific websites for its clients in as little as five minutes by employing proprietary PIER System technology. Information on the firm's services can be found by Clicking Here or by calling (626) 825-3838. Information on its PIER capabilities can be found at www.crisiswebsite.com.

LINKS

(Have a newsletter and/or website and want to exchange links? Let's talk about it! Write to jonathan@bernsteincrisismanagement.com.)

These sites have proven valuable to my business and may do the same for yours.

"Media Insider" is a free service for the public relations community hosted by PR Newswire and ProfNet, its online resource linking reporters with expert sources. Updated daily with contributions from members, Insider reports on the people and new technologies behind the production of news. Go to http://www.mediainsider.com.

The PR Network provides a means for exchanging ideas and business improvement tips between PR professionals. They're at http://www.theprnetwork.com and their newsletter can be subscribed to by sending email to join-newsletter_@lists.theprnetwork.com with the word "subscribe" in the BODY of the email.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER

All information contained herein is obtained by Jonathan Bernstein from sources believed by Jonathan Bernstein to be accurate and reliable.

Because of the possibility of human and mechanical error as well as other factors, neither Jonathan Bernstein nor Bernstein Crisis Management is responsible for any errors or omissions. All information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Bernstein Crisis Management and Jonathan Bernstein make no representations and disclaim all express, implied, and statutory warranties of any kind to the user and/or any third party including, without limitation, warranties as to accuracy, timeliness, completeness, merchantability, or fitness for any particular purpose.

Unless due to willful tortuous misconduct or gross negligence, Jonathan Bernstein and Bernstein Crisis Management shall have no liability in tort, contract, or otherwise (and as permitted by law, product liability), to the user and/or any third party.

Under no circumstance shall Bernstein Crisis Management or Jonathan Bernstein be liable to the user and/or any third party for any lost profits or lost opportunity, indirect, special, consequential, incidental, or punitive damages whatsoever, even if Bernstein Crisis Management or Jonathan Bernstein has been advised of the possibility of such damages.

A service of this newsletter is to provide news summaries and/or snippets to readers. In such instances articles and/or snippets will be reprinted as they are received from the originating party or as they are displayed on the originating website or in the original article. As we do not write the news, we merely point readers to it, under no circumstance shall Bernstein Crisis Management or Jonathan Bernstein be liable to the user and/or any third party for any lost profits or lost opportunity, indirect, special, consequential, incidental, or punitive damages whatsoever due to the distribution of said news articles or snippets that lead readers to a full article on a news service's website, even if Bernstein Crisis Management or Jonathan Bernstein has been advised of the possibility of such damages. Authors of the original news story and their publications shall be exclusively held liable. Any corrections to news stories are not mandatory and shall be printed at the discretion of the list moderator after evaluation on a case-by-case basis.

OTHER IMPORTANT STUFF

If you have questions for "Crisis Manager on the Spot" or comments about other topics, you can contact Jonathan Bernstein at: jonathan@bernsteincrisismanagement.com.

Do you know people who are Crisis Managers, whether they want to be or not? Please pass this newsletter on to them!

Subscribe to the free, twice-monthly email newsletter below. After entering your email address, you will receive a message asking you to confirm your subscription in order to prevent someone else from adding you to the list without permission. YOU MUST CONFIRM YOUR SUBSCRIPTION OR YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE THE NEWSLETTER.

Subscribe to the BCM Crisis Manager newsletter

Articles in "Crisis Manager" were, unless otherwise noted, written and copyrighted by Jonathan Bernstein. Permission to reprint will often be granted for no charge. Write to jonathan@bernsteincrisismanagement.com.


Copyright © 1996-Present by Jonathan Bernstein. All Rights Reserved.

  |  Home  |   Biography  |   Recommendations  |   About BCM  |   Services  |   Articles  |  
  |  Bookstore  |   Newsletter  |   Media Coverage  |   Contact  |   Privacy Policy  |   Sitemap  |