© 2009 Jonathan Bernstein
Estimated Readership: 18,000+
JUST A THOUGHT
Draw from others the lesson that may profit yourself.
Publius Terentius Afer
CRISIS MANAGER UNIVERSITY
Tools For Internet-Centered Reputation Management
By Jonathan Bernstein
This article is being written in early June, 2009.
Why is that related to the topic?
Because if you're reading this any later than six months post-publication, chances are half the information here is badly outdated, perhaps even completely inaccurate. The Internet is the embodiment of rapid change and innovation, and even a self-admitted geek like your author has a hard time keeping up with all of the communications tools available, only some of which are clearly useful for reputation management.
The potential roles online tools end up playing aren't always obvious at first. Twitter started strictly as a social networking tool. But then people were using Twitter to communicate from the site of natural disasters. Soon, others were "Tweeting" breaking news of all sorts,while some Twitter users found it was a great way to instantly complain about...anything. Including you. Twitter had evolved, in months, into a way for those who intend you harm to start immediately blasting your reputation.
Even with well-established tools, such as Google search, most people aren't aware that it's possible not just to set up Google news alerts, but to set up a Google "comprehensive" search that will cover anything that is indexed by Google about your topic - blogs, images, video, groups, etc. Click Here for a well-written explanation of how to do that. If there's a topic, a company name, a person's name, a brand name that you want to keep tabs on, this is a great (and free!) option.
Here, in alphabetical order, are some other tools I'm currently using:
CustomScoop - Still my preferred online media monitoring. There are some others with more robust features (and higher fees), but this one works for my needs.
Pipl and Zabasearch - Shockingly useful search engines for information about individuals. Some of the info is free, some is (usually low) fee-paid. I can pretty much guarantee you that this is where private investigators start looking for missing people without having to call in a favor at the local police department. I find Pipl's initial results have more depth.
TweetBeep - The Twitter equivalent of Google Alerts.
TweetDeck - Allows me to track Tweets by individual or subject, with quick links for sending my own Tweets out.
TweetTag - Search what's been on Twitter over the past 24 hours.
Twoogle - This is a very new service that lets you search Google and Twitter at the same time.
WhosTalkin.com - A social media search engine that tracks a wide range of blogs, major news portals, social networking sites, even images and forums.
You don't have to be a geek to take advantage of these tools, but you do need to employ one who has sufficient training and experience to collect accurate information about how your most important asset - your reputation - is being managed online. Technophobes have no place as corporate leaders in the 21st Century. Otherwise, you are allowing that asset to be managed by people who either don't care about it or are actively hostile to your interests.
Finally, if readers find other tools they'd like to recommend to me for the specific purpose of online reputation management, please contact me — I'm always eager to learn (and, perhaps, write a follow-up piece).
The original version of this now-slightly-updated article was published by the Media Bullseye newsletter.
Crisis Action Planning, Unlike Chicken Soup, Does Not Get Better With Age
By Lawrence Dietz
Bad things happen to good people and unless they are prepared to deal with them bad things turn into disasters or worse. Like most aspects of running an organization, disaster planning is a mesh of people, process and technology. Most disruptions to business operations are unplanned; consequently, knowing what to do instinctively before something bad happens can mean the difference between success and failure and sometimes even life and death.
This week I had the opportunity to be an observer as a client went through a 'table top' Crisis Management Plan exercise. Key representatives came from the executive team, finance, corporate treasury, legal, corporate communications and HR. They were run through an expanding scenario that required them to state their priorities and indicate what they would need by way of information from the various teams in the room. Issues as to which organization would be the lead for various aspects of the "crisis" were also hashed out.
As the exercise unfolded it was clear that Corporate Security and HR had worked on many of these issues before, and that there was a general spirit of teamwork and cooperation. It wasn't until after the exercise was over that I learned that IT wasn't involved and that the Information Security functions were spread out over several "Managers". There was good news and bad news here. The good news was that the overall team functioned well and could work on the few areas where they needed improvement. The bad news was that the focus had shifted so far from technology that a second level exercise, one with real players and data, would very likely not be so smooth.
Disaster preparedness for organizations takes many forms. A good place to start is identifying the critical people and processes that need to continue to function regardless of interruptions. Then determine the tools they will need under a variety of circumstances to execute those functions and develop the plans and logistics needed to achieve these ends.
A couple of key things that may often get missed are:
- 7x24 hour crisis management and engagement of law enforcement. In the case of 7 x 24 operations it is important to realize that a special team needs to be identified and that team removed from their day to day duties to focus on crisis management and actions.
- The issue of engaging law enforcement is a bit more complex. Organizations recognize that they may need to involve law enforcement quickly in certain cases such as work place violence; however, in the case of theft of intellectual property, improper employee behavior such as 'legal' pornography, industry generally is in no rush to engage law enforcement. In any event, organizations need to determine their philosophy ahead of time. They need to identify: incidents that will immediately involve law enforcement; which law enforcement agency should be notified and the circumstances to do so; individuals who are the principal points of contact, etc. These decisions need to be made prior to the stress of incidents.
It should also be borne in mind that organizations do not exist in a vacuum. Natural disasters and selected man-made ones will likely involve the geographic area surrounding the organization and affect employee welfare and freedom of movement. It is prudent to work with local government and key non government organizations (NGO) such as the Red Cross to understand the total setting. Communal planning for disasters is a continuous process for many organizations — it
should be for yours as well.
Lawrence Dietz is Research Director for The Sageza Group.
Bernstein Blogging Update
What? You're not sharing your opinions over at the Bernstein Crisis Management blog? Let others know what you think about the topics raised in this ezine (even if you disagree dissenters welcomed) or comment on the various current crisis issues that are also blogged there.
Some recent topics:
- Rover Revenge
- The Golden Rules
- The Travel Bug
- Guard Your Reputation
CRISIS MANAGER BUSINESS ANNOUNCEMENTS
Want To Blog And Tweet About Your Organization But Don't Have Time?
Want to blog and Tweet about your organization but don't have time? Missing out on all the promotional and SEO advantages of doing so? Hire someone to be your voice...like Erik Bernstein, aka "Son of Crisis Manager."
More info: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keeping the Wolves at Bay 3.0 Reviewed
"Keeping the Wolves at Bay" is much more than another media training guide - it is perhaps one of the most concise, insightful, useful and savvy guides to strategic thinking about reputation issues available.
Founder & CEO of PIER System and host of Crisisblogger.com
"It's like a Swiss Army knife -- lots of cool tools in a compact package. In case of emergency, grab this."
Steven R. Van Hook, PhD
Publisher, About Public Relations
In addition to individual and business usage, the manual is now being required as a textbook at Seton Hall University, Grand Canyon University, and Singapore Management University, amongst others. It is available in both PDF and hard copy formats at www.thecrisismanager.com, with reseller arrangements available for collegiate bookstores.
Jonathan Bernstein also offers on-site media training worldwide, using this manual as the basis for training. Write to email@example.com.
Disaster Prep 101
Bernstein Crisis Management is pleased to present one of the most comprehensive and user-friendly family preparedness texts available today. "Disaster Prep 101." by Paul Purcell, goes above and beyond the simplistic "72-hour kit" concept and provides simple, yet detailed educational material that will drastically improve the ability of any family to respond to all manner of disasters or emergencies. This preparedness package contains over 400 pages of well-organized, original preparedness material written in an easy-to-understand, non-panic format; 80 pages of family data forms and worksheets (many of which are also useful to the employer); and a 2-CD set containing two interactive and searchable links collections for additional educational sources; all the family data forms and worksheets in softcopy format; and a complete emergency reference library of over 450 additional books and training manuals! US$59.95. Available here.
PLAIN ENGLISH DISCLOSURE
Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc. has formal or informal co-promotional and mutually beneficial business associations with a number of the services we mention periodically in this newsletter. 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 these services as we use them for crisis and issues management or other purposes. 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 its clients. If you have any questions about these relationships, please contact Jonathan Bernstein, (626) 825-3838.
ABOUT THE EDITOR & PUBLISHER
Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., www.bernsteincrisismanagement.com, a national crisis management public relations agency providing 24/7 access to crisis response professionals. The agency engages in the full spectrum of crisis management services: crisis prevention, response, planning & training. He has been in the public relations field since 1982, following five-year stints in both military intelligence and investigative reporting. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
GUEST AUTHORS are very welcome to submit material for "Crisis Manager." There is no fee paid, but most guest authors have reported receiving business inquiries as a result of appearing in this publication. Case histories, experience-based lessons, commentary on current news events and editorial opinion are all eligible for consideration. Submission is not a guarantee of acceptance.
When I find a site that I think will be useful to my readers or site visitors, I put it on our Links page. If you have a site that would be of specific use to crisis managers and want to discuss a link exchange or other cooperative effort, please write to me, email@example.com.
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