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

The 12 Crisis Articles of Christmas

Volume XVI, Number 22

December 21, 2015

Just a Thought
"All crises, professional and personal, benefit from the ample use of compassion."

- Jonathan Bernstein

From the Editor
As another year draws to a close, we would like to thank our readers. Thank you for allowing us to share our opinions and experiences and for sharing your own in return. And thank you for anything you do to be part of the solution to this world's dramatic lack of preparedness for crises.

For this last issue of the year your editorial team here at Bernstein Crisis Management wanted to gift our readers with a look at some of the blog and newsletter articles we've featured in December for the past 12 years. Then you can look at crises in the news today and say, "Yup, there are still a lot of people who haven't learned these lessons!"

- 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 12 Crisis Articles of Christmas


One year ago we saw perhaps the most widely covered private company hacks ever to occur. The combination of data theft, entertainment leaks, and juicy (and controversial!) internal communications sparked the interest of just about everyone and thrust cyber security into the limelight. That another hack will dethrone Sony's in terms of sheer interest levels seems quite inevitable, but it will have to be against a target more interesting to the general public than those we've seen over the past months.


Coming a bit over a year after the Cartagena scandal involving U.S. Secret Service officers busted for bringing as many as 20 prostitutes back to a hotel housing members of the military ahead of an international summit, the man responsible for investigating the whole mess found himself the focus of a new investigation.

It all started when Agent Ignacio Zamora Jr. left a piece of his duty gear behind in a hotel and flexed his status in order to retrieve it. This triggered an investigation that uncovered yet more evidence of a sexist, "old boys club" culture in the Service.


Is my food grown in...sewage? That was the question on many minds in December of 2012 after a report slamming high-end grocer Whole Foods for making it difficult for customers to determine whether their food was grown using a biosolid sludge that could include things like industrial solvents and leftover prescription medication went viral. What's especially interesting is that the same issues we pointed out in Whole Foods' crisis management then were present in their communications for the company's widely panned pricing issue earlier this year. Some horses are led to water but remain thirsty.


Our cracked sense of humor tends to creep into posting whether we like it or not, and sometimes we put it front and center! Cue the Jeff Foxworthy-esque collection found in, "You Might Be a Crisis Manager if..." Although the list is tongue-in-cheek, it's not far from reality, so give it a look and ask yourself the questions!


You may recall that the start of the 2010 holiday season was quite turbulent for Qantas Airlines. First ugly accusations of poor quality control coming from employees. Then the emergency landing of one of the airline's new A380 jets. Itt didn't look good for the airline during this busy traveling time, but Qantas came through. Smart communication and a solid strategy, plus the leadership of a confident CEO, led us to applaud the public relations ability of the airline from down under.


The original Tylenol recall which led to the introduction of several bottled medication safety features we take for granted today is held up by some as the origin of modern crisis management, which of course means all eyes are on any time the words "recall" and "Tylenol" appear together.

In late 2009, some 27 years after the original history making incident, Tylenol learned a strange moldy smell was causing some customers to become nauseous or sick. Once again the brand took a proactive approach and we covered the story in the pages of our blog. And before any of our readers point it out to us (again), yes we know that the original Tylenol recall may not have been QUITE as well done as people believe...but that's another story.


We've both praised and berated airlines over the course of the years. The unfortunate fact is that they often come off as uncaring and emotionless, something that's been changed only in quite recent times (and still only with a select few carriers) as a result of massive viral cases like the infamous "United Breaks Guitars" song.

The seriously lacking response from Continental Airlines after a scare that saw a 737 slide right off the runway at Denver International just days before Christmas would fall firmly in the "berated" category, as the airline employed not a caring voice but something more akin to what a robot might produce. Jonathan Bernstein is headed to Denver on United Airlines on Christmas Day 2015 and hopes for better luck.


We're big fans of wordplay, so in 2007 we held a contest seeking the best reader-submitted analogy for "failing to plan for crises". With entries strange, hilarious, and frighteningly accurate from readers around the globe we certainly enjoyed this one! Comparisons to space missions, naked dreams (yes really!), and a collection of interesting compound words all made the cut, but you'll have to read on to see who took home first prize!


While mentions of Adelphia and Cingular certainly timestamp BCM president Jonathan Bernstein's Crisis Manager University piece on staying connected even under duress, the advice within has stood the test of time. No matter what your role may be when it comes to crises in your organization, with expectations of 24/7 internet connectivity even higher today than it was in 2006 you really can't afford to be caught with no way to plug in.


Nearly nine months prior to CNN's 2006 launch of its iReport citizen journalism initiative, Jonathan Bernstein coined the phrase "i-Reporter". Born of the recognition that the internet was rapidly blurring the lines between amateur and professional reporters while changing what the world viewed as "legitimate" media, we quickly made this term a part of daily conversation. Officially recognizing that your average individual could deliver news you'd find nowhere else was a game changer, and this is even more true a decade down the road.


We frequently feature fellow crisis pros in the pages of our blogs and newsletter, and in December of 2004 we asked a group of our colleagues to share some thoughts on crisis management. From improving credibility to an interesting comparison to dead fish they certainly delivered, and of course we passed them on to you!


At first glance being an employee of the U.S. Census Bureau seems pretty benign. As with most organizations, however, once you start to dig you discover there are an awful lot of potential crises involved in day to day operations. In a Crisis Manager exclusive we shared the actual contingency messaging created by the communications team for the Bureau in the event of a crisis.

Thank you for reading! Happy holidays to you and yours, and may the New Year bring you much prosperity!

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

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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.

In This Issue
Just A Thought
The 12 Crisis Articles of Christmas
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