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"

2014 Jonathan Bernstein

Polar Vortex and a Powerful Lesson

Volume XV, Number 21

November 14, 2014    

Just a Thought  

"Tomorrow's victory is today's practice."

- Chris Bradford
From the Editor
Gather 'round, it's time for a story from your rather sheepish editor.

I made the move from California to Colorado about 9 months ago at the tail end of Winter. The thought of driving on snow and ice was a bit unnerving for this life-long beach city resident, but we didn't see any heavy storms and I got my confidence up quickly. I had read up on what to do and how to handle things like getting stuck or spinning out, but didn't encounter them, and didn't see the people around me having trouble either. In fact I actually had an offer from a friend to take me to a safe practice area where I could see what losing control or stalling out felt like, and get a feel for getting myself out of the situation, but was "too busy" (yes, my own words).

Fast forward to a few days ago and the introduction of the polar vortex to my life. Suddenly temperatures were sitting in the single digits, and the streets looked more like ice rinks than anything I had ever seen, but life wasn't sitting still. With places to go and things to do, I headed out. Now, those of you with experience in REAL winter weather are likely already laughing, and I'm sure can guess what happened next, but I'll go on telling the story with my head hung in shame.

When you leave my street you are surrounding by hills, with nowhere to go but up if you want to get out of the neighborhood. I got into low gear, put some momentum behind the vehicle, and about 50 yards up the nearest incline I lost all semblance of traction. Not only that, but after spinning the wheels for a second I started slowly sliding backwards, with a nice bit of rotation added for extra terror.

After several seconds of sitting in an utter panic, foot jammed on the brake with all the force I would muster, I did manage to wrestle my way to the curb, where I left well enough alone and put it in park for the night.

While I took the walk of shame back to the house, I realized this was not only a story I'd be getting ribbed about from my loving friends and family for the rest of my life, but also a crisis management lesson I'll always carry with me - you can plan for days, you can have all the knowledge, but unless you've actually practiced you are. not. prepared.

- Erik


Interested in reprinting BCM articles or blog posts?
We're happy to give permission for material to be reprinted in hard copy or online!

If you find something you would like to reprint, simply submit a request to jonathan@bernsteincrisismanagement.com.



Our blogs on the Bernstein Crisis Management page and at the Free Management Library cover topics ranging from reputation management, to social media, to crisis management case studies and more. 
In this section we take look at some of the most popular posts from recent weeks:

While you're not too likely to face a horde of undead, Preparing for a Vampire Attack (and other crises to boot) holds lessons for those tasked with protecting their organizations against crises of any kind.

A quote from American political journalist and world peace advocate Norman Cousins was the inspiration for Crisis Management Quotables...on Breaking Habits.

Data breaches are bad enough for established companies, but what about one barely getting out of the gate? CurrentC Needs Crisis Management after Data Breach looks at just such a situation, and the potential fallout that comes with it.

Speaking of data breaches...Home Depot's Continued Crisis Management covers the much-improved communication coming from the "Do More" store as it continues to deal with its own data breach.

Building Your Digital Reputation has been made easier than ever thanks to technology, but it can still be hard to convince the people holding the purse strings to leave room in the budget.

Finger-pointing accompanies many crises, and it never helps the situation. Guest Post: Ebola Crisis and the Blame Game comes to us from Issue Outcomes' Tony Jaques, and carries a powerful message from which anyone involved with crisis management can learn from.

Yelp can be a great asset, but it's just as well known for leaving all kinds of organizations frustrated and floundering. In How to Make Smart Choices When Yelp Turns Sour, an infographic lays out a plan of action to get your reviews straightened out.

PGA Prez Gets the Boot After Immature Facebook Post takes a look at yet another case of a leader losing their position after blowing it on social media. 
Apropos of Nothing

Talking "30 Lessons from 30 Years of Crisis Management" with Melissa Agnes

We love discussing crisis management with fellow pros, and all of you! We've found the more we talk about it, the more we learn and grow, and that continues to be true after three decades of experience. Recently I joined fellow crisis manager Melissa Agnes on her Crisis Intelligence Podcast, where we discussed the lessons I've learned over the past 30 years of crisis management.

- Jonathan Bernstein

I enjoyed my recent participation in the University of Oregon's "Guest Executive" program so much that I would love to do more of the same at other schools that aren't TOO far a trip from my Los Angeles-area base. Over a two-day period, UO had me guest lecture/teach at four PR-related classes and make an "open to the public" speech. They covered all travel costs and a modest honorarium.  
If you can do the same, please contact me, jonathan@bernsteincrisismanagement.com


Bernsteins Available to Deliver Free Guest Lectures, Q&A Sessions


Jonathan alone, or the team of Jonathan and Erik Bernstein, are available at no charge to deliver guest lectures and host Q&A sessions with college classes via Skype or Google Hangout. Our latest presentation was to Karen Freberg's social media class at the University of Louisville (shout out to any readers from the #Freberg14 crew!).


The lectures are fun for us and students, and we're more than happy to allow recording for your future use. All you need at your end is a single computer with webcam and a strong broadband connection for us to appear in your classroom in real-time.   


Contact us for more info!


Attention Corporate Boards of Directors (and those who serve them). 


If you're connected with a corporate board of directors in some way and think that board would benefit from having a veteran crisis management pro amongst its membership, please contact me. -- Jonathan



Business Announcements 

(aka blatant self-promotion) 


Preparing Candidates for C-Suite Interviews

In 2014, a client familiar with Jonathan Bernstein's media training techniques suggested that the same methods would help her husband, a candidate for a C-Suite position at several companies, be better focused and prepared for his interviews. She was right and, as he moved through the interview process, the candidate received a number of one-hour trianing sessions by Jonathan, via webcam. That candidate is now the CFO of a $23 billion company and is available as a confidential reference. 

Jonathan Bernstein is available to provide the same training to others, write jonathan@bernsteincrisismanagement.com

Are Your Social Media Managers Crisis Trained?

A solid social media manager has quickly become a must-have for organizations of any size, and can make an immense difference by driving in customers and building your positive reputation online.

The problem is, the vast majority are simply not equipped to even identify building crises, much less take the steps necessary to cope with and mitigate the damage that can result.

That's where we come in.

Bernstein Crisis Management is now offering crisis management training for social media managers, both independent and in-house, as well as social media firms.

For an overview of our services, estimates, or more information, contact erik@bernsteincrisismanagement.com


Traditional Social Media Training

Want to get your feet wet with social media but don't know where to start? Maybe you have accounts, but aren't sure what to post, or how to reply?

Being active on social media is a must these days, but you have to do it right. Erik Bernstein, Bernstein Crisis Management's Social Media Manager, now offers social media training sessions in person or via Skype for groups and individuals.

For questions or pricing info, please email erik@bernsteincrisismanagement.com


Expanded Crisis Manager Bookstore 


We've recently expanded the Crisis Manager Bookstore to include offerings from esteemed colleagues like Melissa Agnes, Gerald Baron, Chris Syme and Jim Lukaszewski that cover topics from crisis communication and traditional PR to social media and cutting-edge crisis management.  We'll be adding other authors we admire in the weeks ahead. 

Visit the new Crisis Manager Bookstore to see all of the  material available now!


Keeping the Wolves at Bay: Media Training 

Book Cover JPG

Learn how to deal with traditional or social media during a crisis in this educational and entertaining guide from

Crisis Manager publisher Jonathan Bernstein. 


$25 for hard copy, $10 for PDF.


Head to the Crisis Manager Bookstore for more information and/or to purchase.



Whether you're a seasoned manager, aspiring up-and-comer, or student of crisis management, Jonathan Bernstein's textbook,Manager's Guide to Crisis Management will put you in control of any situation. 



Guest Authors

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.


About Us


   Erik Bernstein

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 Social Media Manager/Lead Social Media Trainer for Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc.

Write to Erik at: erik@bernsteincrisismanagement.com.


Legal Disclaimer (aka the small print)

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
Apropos of Nothing
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