Ono the Ostrich CRISIS MANAGER
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"

2015 Jonathan Bernstein

Starbucks' Red Cup Controversy

Volume XVI, Number 19

November 11, 2015

Just a Thought
"In the real world, you either hold yourself accountable or someone else will."

- Nigel Dessau

From the Editor

The holiday season is always guaranteed to bring reputation issues for a few organizations, and this year it's kicking off early with a bit of controversy for the ever-polarizing Starbucks. Early this month, former pastor Joshua Feurstein accused the coffee chain of removing "Christmas from their cups because they hate Jesus" in a Facebook post that quickly went viral, amassing nearly 10 million views in just four days.

For those who aren't regular visitors to Starbucks, its new holiday cups are shades of red with none of their usual decoration, a design the Seattle sensation was quick to defend with a beautiful bit of communication. In a response shared with members of the media and to Starbucks' online newsroom, the Seattle sensation firmly dismissed the accusations of being anti-Christmas, explaining that the new design was created in the spirit of the cup doodling the company endorses, "encouraging customers to create their own stories with a red cup that mimics a blank canvas", and that "Creating a culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity is one of the core values of Starbucks."

A clear, thorough explanation that clearly explained the thinking behind the design, along with expressions of compassion and acceptance for all made for an excellent piece of PR writing. The media coverage of the situation reflected as much, as Starbucks' statement was quoted repeatedly and extensively in every story I came across.

It's easy these days for people to read controversy into nearly anything one does, and for outrage to spring up from the slightest of issues. By responding quickly, in the right tone, and with just the exact right degree of reaction to boot, Starbucks came out of this one unscathed.
- EB

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.


The Bernstein Crisis Management blog, along with our blog at the Free Management Library are frequently updated and filled with case studies, advice, and the latest news on techniques, threats, and more.

Here, we share a look at some of the most popular posts from recent weeks:

As part of our ongoing effort to give back to the community, we're proud to announce More Giveaways from Bernstein Crisis Management! Click through for info on how to get your free download of four valuable crisis resources.

One of the best ways to learn about and prepare yourself to cope with difficult situations is to study case studies like those featured in 5 Crisis PR Right-Way Examples.

The Changing Pace of Crisis Management makes it ever-important to stay on top of the latest developments in the field.

Not sure whether it's worth your while to pay for help with your online reputation? In this post we help you answer the question, Is it Time to Invest in Online Reputation Management?

Sometimes difficult decisions must be made, but what do you do When Operational Decisions Seriously Affect Your People?

For all the buzz around social media, most still don't have a clear idea of how to best mitigate the damage from ugly situations. If you're among that crowd, let Social Media Crisis Management Advice and Examples show you the way.

Having crisis documents in place is excellent, but whether they'll really work for your organization when disaster strikes is another question altogether. In this post we discuss the importance of not only having the documents, but conducting Crisis Document Audits to Determine Flaws in Crisis Planning.

Do you have a topic you'd like to see featured in our blogs? Send an email to erik@bernsteincrisismanagement.com and there's a good chance you'll be seeing it right here in the next issue!

Business Announcements
(aka blatant self-promotion)
Are There Any Holes in Your Crisis Planning?

Your organization may well have crisis prevention and response-related plans in place - but are you sure they're going to cover all the bases? Bernstein Crisis Management's Crisis Document Audit is a low-cost, flat-rate service which will quickly provide you with a comprehensive analysis of your existing plans and recommendations for improvement.

Contact jonathan@bernsteincrisismanagement.com for more information.

We're Giving Away Keeping the Wolves at Bay

Keeping the Wolves at Bay, the widely used media-training manual published by Jonathan Bernstein, is now being given away in its PDF format. Formerly $10, there will be no charge for the publication as long as demand exists.

To visit the download page, click here.

Exciting New Services from Bernstein Crisis Management

We are are proud to introduce two new services that will allow us to better meet the needs of our clients!

First, from entering new markets to defending billion-dollar established industries, BCM's public affairs practice, led by twenty year veteran Greg Brooks, will help you win the battle for the hearts and minds of audiences from City Council to the halls of Congress.

Our second addition is based on the belief that an important piece in managing a crisis includes attending to the emotional reactions that influence the outcome. Presented and facilitated by Steven Degelsmith, Ph.D., our focused human factors in crisis management service will equip you with the tools you need to handle even the most volatile of situations.
Social Media Crisis Training

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

About Us


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:

Erik Bernstein is vice president of Bernstein Crisis Management. Erik started with BCM in 2009 as a writer and subsequently became social media manager for the consultancy itself as well as for a number of BCM clients before moving to the VP position.

Write to Erik at:

Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc. is located at 700 S. Myrtle Ave., #404, Monrovia, CA 91016. Telephone: (626) 825-3838.

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.

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