The Internet Newsletter about Crisis Management
 Editor: Erik Bernstein
 Publisher: Jonathan Bernstein

"For Those Who Are Crisis Managers,
Whether They Want to be or Not"

2011 Jonathan Bernstein


Volume XII, Number 7

August 18, 2011  



It's always wise to clean your own house before someone else does it for you.


                           Jonathan Bernstein     




Social media has come under fire in the past weeks. Mass rioting in the UK, which began as a political statement and broke down into blatant looting, was facilitated by Twitter, Facebook, and the BlackBerry messenger service, leading to UK officials discussing the possibility of blocking said services.  


On the heels of that, San Francisco officials jammed Internet service at several BART stations in an attempt to prevent potential protests over an officer-involved shooting earlier this summer.  


With Congress also considering the "Internet Kill Switch" bill, the debate over Web rights is coming to a head.


In this issue we start with an article I wrote with the aim of helping readers get prepared to handle crisis management. Following that, we have a breakdown by Jeff Chatterton of the bold moves Domino's Pizza has taken with their latest campaign, and why they worked. 


Then, if you'd like to get crisis management analysis of breaking news and issues on a more frequent basis, be sure to check out the links to our blogs in the right-hand column of this ezine.


As always, if you like what you see, please share it with others by using the "Forward Email" link at the bottom of the ezine and tell them to subscribe!  IMPORTANT NOTE: If you just "Forward" using your own email program's "Forward" function and your recipient thinks they're being spammed, they can click on the Opt Out link and opt YOU off the list. So use the "Forward Email" link, please.  



My best to all,





By Erik Bernstein  
The planning process is the safety harness, the wire cage, the helmet and the flak jacket of public relations; critical for success, not to be neglected and the difference between business life and death when the blood hits the floor.

I love this quote! Taken from a Jaggers Communication blog post by Marijean Jaggers, it provides a series of metaphors that perfectly describe the role of planning in crisis management. Business is risky, and you need to be properly prepared in case things get rough out there.
Erik Bernstein

Erik Bernstein

This means putting in some work, namely:
  1. Finding your weak spots. This means conducting harshly honest vulnerability audits. Neglect this step, and the next crisis, or your competition, will gladly find them for you.
  2. Shoring up your defenses and creating a plan. Your vulnerability audit shows that loss of Internet service completely cuts off internal communication? You'd better invest in a mobile-based system. Nobody in management has been in front of a camera...ever? Media training time. Some things just can't be prevented though, and that's where crisis planning really comes in. The public today demands instant answers and near-instant action when a crisis breaks, and Twitter will quickly tell you when you're doing it wrong (Hint: #fail + your name = bad)
  3. Practicing the plan. This is one of the most overlooked aspect of crisis management. Imagine heading out to perform a waltz after only reading the steps in a book. Oh, and there are thousands of people hanging on your every move. Not good, right? Even with practice, the task of maintaining communication and information flow while actually doing something about the crisis at hand can be a daunting task. There's simply no way to nail it without putting in significant effort beforehand.  

The cost of preparing for crises is a small fraction of the losses typically resulting from facing crises unprepared. Protect your business, employees, customers, and shareholders - suit up for crisis management.  


Erik Bernstein is a freelance writer, SEO associate, and editor of Crisis Manager. 

By Jeff Chatterton
Domino's pizza has blown open the doors of food service accountability.

Domino's has created a "Pizza Tracker." It's a tool on their website which allows you to track, in real time, the status of your particular pizza. It also allows you to rate your final product, and include a comment for the employee who made your particular pizza.
Jeff Chatterton Checkmate Public Affairs

Jeff Chatterton

Sure, that's pretty cool (and unique enough that CNN profiled it at length). But what's more impressive is the way Domino's chose to unveil the Pizza Tracker - by publicly posting pizza reviews, good AND bad.

The reviews, both positive and negative, are not just posted on a corner of their corporate website. No - in a move which takes the standards of public accountability, injects it with steroids and kicks it out the door - Domino's is posting reviews in New York's Times Square, for all the world to see.

Even their TV ads show some of the negative reviews they've received.

For some, it's a nifty website gadget. For others, it will be totally unnoticed. But for some, it's a dramatic turnaround for a troubled pizza giant.

So why are they doing this? What's the upside? Remember - this is Domino's. This is the same company that lost millions in sales after employees did disgusting things while working at the store and posting them to YouTube.

Obviously Domino's hopes that by being publicly accountable, you're going to trust them with your order. Domino's isn't being shy about it either - they've named it the "Raising the Bar" campaign.

But before you run off to implement such a bold move within your own organization, remember why it works. Two reasons:
  1. They're displaying both the good with the bad, thus proving that they have nothing to hide.
  2. The bad isn't life threatening or overly damaging - it's a pizza. Worst case scenario, your pizza is free and Domino's is out $6.
This isn't going to work if you're not prepared to publicly open up and reveal your worst-case scenarios. If you're a hospital that wants to discuss premature mortality statistics, this method may not be the most appropriate for you.

But for Domino's, it's a fascinating move towards openness, accountability and honesty. And it works.

Jeff Chatterton is an expert in building or restoring trust and credibility for corporate reputations. Chatterton is the owner of Checkmate Public Affairs, a consulting practice that specializes in reputation management during high-risk situations.

By Jonathan & Erik Bernstein


We're always being asked stuff like "What's your favorite computer/online tool for doing ____?  Where can I learn more about crisis management, public relations or creating a blog? "What do you play online?" 


In other words, questions that may be apropos of nothing we write about regularly, but about which there seems to be genuine interest.  So...we're going to start featuring some of our "favorite things" in this section, even at the risk of letting you know more about us than you might want to know (we say, with grins on faces). We'll add our initials after each entry so that you know who originated each of them.


  • In the "blow your mind" department...I was recently interviewed by what sounded like a youngish AP reporter regarding an aspect of the Murdoch mess in the UK....I was attempting to make a point about how badly a company can be hurt in the court of public opinion, regardless of what does or doesn't happen in courts of law, and cited Arthur Andersen as an example....after a long pause, the reporter said, "Who?" -- JB 
  • Speaking of interviews...I've been making myself nuts trying to create the right lighting and backdrop for myself so that I can start integrating video news commentary into this ezine.  Not there yet....but closer. -- JB 
  • I've been playing with Joomla recently, very much liking the tools it provides to integrate blogs into websites instead of using Wordpress and Blogger. -- EB  
  • This story gave me a laugh, stay classy New Zealand: Rugby, Sheep and Sex Don't Mix  http://goo.gl/i82lT -- EB   

(aka blatant self-promotion) 


Keeping the Wolves at Bay: Media Training


What has 80+ pages of hard-hitting, entertaining and easy-to-read guidance on how to deal with both traditional and online media during times of crisis?  The answer is
Keeping the Wolves at Bay - Media Training.Book Cover JPG

The, four-color, perfect-bound, 8x10 manual is currently available both in hardcopy ($25) and PDF form ($10). Volume discounts are available; write to Jonathan Bernstein for that information.  

Here's a couple of teaser reviews for you:


Jonathan Bernstein's Keeping the Wolves at Bay is an eminently practical guidance for anyone - business leader, celebrity, politician - who must willingly or unwillingly face the glare of media attention. It appears
at a moment in time when the social media and other digital communications have upped the ante exponentially.
Bernstein's practicum on media relations takes on renewed urgency as news, gossip, and opinion now drive
public perception virally and at the speed of light.

Richard Levick, Esq.
President & CEO
Levick Strategic Communications, LLC

Even if you think you'll never, ever be interviewed by the media, buy this book and read it cover to cover. It isn't a substitute for media training. But it will give you the tools and confidence to go head to head -- and possibly even defang -- rabid reporters, blood-thirsty bloggers and social networking buffoons who are out to besmirch your good name.

Joan Stewart, The Publicity Hound 


The book and other products can be found at the

Crisis Manager Bookstore  

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, editor of Crisis Manager.


More info:erik@bernsteincrisismanagement.com.



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.


JB and EB dual bio pic

Jonathan Bernstein is both publisher of Crisis Manager and president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., 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 Jonathan at: jonathan@bernsteincrisismanagement.com.

Erik Bernstein is editor of Crisis Manager and is also a writer, publicist and SEO associate for Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc.

Write to Erik at: erik@bernsteincrisismanagement.com.



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.

In This Issue
Just A Thought
Suit Up for Crisis Management
Cheese, Green Peppers...and Accountability
Apropos of Nothing
Quick Links


BCM Blog
Crisis Management Blog