Bernstein Crisis Management. Crisis response, prevention, planning, and training.

Crisis Manager Internet Newsletter about Crisis Management

© 2002 Jonathan Bernstein
Circulation: 2,800+


Give an experienced Crisis Manager one hour walking around almost any business and he'll give you a list of crises waiting to happen.


Editor's Note: In the 03.01.02 issue of "Crisis Manager" I wrote of using Secret Shopping Techniques to assess an organization's vulnerabilities and preparedness for crisis. I invited reader response and two wrote in -- the first with a great prevention tip, given immediately below, and the second with what qualified as "two case histories for the price of one" that are featured in the !MANAGE THIS! section of this ezine, below. I love it when readers make my job this easy! And I am ALWAYS looking for new material, so please send in your submissions -- it's a great way to raise your own visibility and even develop new business. If you missed the original story, it's now archived at

Playing Reporter as a Secret Shopping Technique
by Samantha Lee Joos, Account Executive, LarsonO'BrienAcumen, ADV/PR

I am currently preparing one of my clients for communicating with the media in a crisis, or any, situation. Part of the preparation is to establish and implement company procedures to direct all media inquires to the company's main media contact. This is especially key because my client has several offices throughout the area and the media could easily call any one of them. Our procedures include forwarding all media inquires to that main media client because she is prepared to respond to those calls.

The secret shopping element is that once these procedures are implemented I will periodically call the different offices and pose as a reporter from one of the local papers. This will help me determine how well our procedures were communicated and how efficiently such calls are handled. I think secret shopping is great way to evaluate and can help give your client a true perspective.

Samantha sounds like she has a great future in PR. You can contact her at LarsonO'BrienAcumen, Pittsburgh, PA,


Branding Crisis Manager

You can arrange to distribute "Crisis Manager" to your own email list with a "Brought to You By" credit in the masthead. There is no charge and only some reasonable restrictions to preserve the integrity of the publication. Several organizations are already doing this and finding that it is appreciated by their contacts. Write to for more info.

Crisis Manager Presentations & Workshops

Want to REALLY get some of this information into the hearts and minds of your organization? Your ineffable ezine editor and crisis communications consultant and his talented associate, Phil Cogan, are available to make presentations and lead workshops. Their presentations can often be certified for the continuing education credits required by a number of professions. Write to or call (626) 825-3838.


Editor's Note: as regular readers of the ezine know, I periodically report on services that could be of use to we crisis managers and was recently made aware of PlanetFeedback ( It appears to have many applications for online rumor control; I haven't yet had the opportunity to employ its services for my clients, but I plan to. This is how they describe themselves.

PlanetFeedback products have been developed to help organizations across multiple industries cost-effectively obtain and leverage a 360-degree view of consumer opinion. Our mission is to facilitate faster and easier communication between consumers and companies. PlanetFeedback has developed two web-based technology products that may have immediate applications to Bernstein Crisis Management and your clients' businesses:

ExpressFeedback, our feedback ASP, will enable a company to jump-start its web-based feedback capabilities with an interactive and user-friendly process for consumers that enables them to capture direct feedback in a more usable format. They can even conduct 1:1 marketing with customized content based on each consumer's particular issue. ExpressFeedback integrates with existing consumer response systems and can incorporate data from phone, fax, mail, and other sources to provide you with one complete view of all your direct consumer feedback. Check out the recent implementations below: - University of Cincinnati - Hit "Students" - Hit "Contact Us" on upper right hand side - Hit "Write to Us" on bottom right hand of screen

BrandPulse(tm) is a desktop subscription tool that specializes in locating, capturing, analyzing and reporting implicit feedback (consumer-to-consumer buzz) from across the Internet's message boards, discussion databases and public forums at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods. In addition to a new consumer lens for an organization, this can be a reliable early warning system for rumors and/or product issues that can impact one's business. With BrandPulse you can:

  • Identify and react to changing consumer opinions in real time
  • Monitor and benchmark your performance vs. competitors.
  • Measure consumer word-of-mouth buzz and detect harmful rumors to avoid crisis situations.
  • Identify opinion leaders and consumer mavens to improve viral marketing efforts.


Secret Shopping Helps Prevent Hospital Crises
by Ann Barks, APR, Ann Bark Public Relations

I wanted to pass on two of the best examples of secret shopping we did at a hospital where I was the PR director. We were hiring a new chef because our scores for patient satisfaction on food were horrible. He'd never worked in a hospital before, so before he came on board, he entered the hospital as a patient and spent two days on one of the wards. Now, not only did he see exactly how important food became to patients, but he also witnessed how part of the problem with the food was the people who served it - attitude! We immediately did the work we needed on both ends - but changing the menus, etc., took far longer than "blitz" training the servers and educating them to become ambassadors (so to speak) for the entire hospital since they had a rare, easy opportunity to interact with our patients. This was a good group of employees - no one had ever really taken the time to help them see how important their role was to the organization. So we might have just been lucky. But, we saw an immediate spike in the surveys, even before the food was overhauled.

The second example was when we hired a new Chief Information Officer. He spent his first day, before anyone met him, going from department to department as if he were a visitor and seeing how many computers were being left unattended while still logged on to the system and making access to confidential files possible. What an eye-opener for many people - we had prided ourselves on protecting such information but his observances focused much-needed attention on something really important.

You can contact and send fan mail to Ann Barks at Ann Barks Public Relations, Slidell, LA,


Q: I know you've written about how people with relatively little technical ability can easily use the Internet for activism against target organizations. But how easy is it, really? And how good are such sites?

CM: Ask SPRINT. I imagine they're less than thrilled about:

All of which show up pretty quickly if you do a search for "Sprint complaints."


Bernstein Crisis Management has formal or informal co-promotional and mutually beneficial business associations with PIER Systems, Inc., PR Newswire's ProfNet service and CustomScoop. 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 how we're using these services for crisis and issues management. 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 their clients. If you have any questions about these relationships, please contact Jonathan Bernstein, (626) 825-3838.


Jonathan Bernstein is president & CEO of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., a national public relations agency specializing in crisis response, issues management and litigation consulting. It is also the only national PR agency able to create crisis- and issues-specific websites for its clients in as little as five minutes by employing proprietary PIER System technology. Information on the firm's services can be found by Clicking Here or by calling (626) 825-3838. Information on its PIER capabilities can be found at


(Have a newsletter and/or website and want to exchange links? Let's talk about it! Write to

These sites have proven valuable to my business and may do the same for yours.

"Media Insider" is a free service for the public relations community hosted by PR Newswire and ProfNet, its online resource linking reporters with expert sources. Updated daily with contributions from members, Insider reports on the people and new technologies behind the production of news. Go to

The PR Network provides a means for exchanging ideas and business improvement tips between PR professionals. They're at and their newsletter can be subscribed to by sending email to with the word "subscribe" in the BODY of the email.

"Powerlines" is a free bi-monthly newsletter about reputation management and communication matters written by Deon Binneman, a reputation management consultant, speaker and trainer who employs his 25 years of experience to advise clients worldwide from his base in Johannesburg, South Africa. For a free evaluation copy write to


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.

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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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Articles in "Crisis Manager" were, unless otherwise noted, written and copyrighted by Jonathan Bernstein. Permission to reprint will often be granted for no charge. Write to