Friday, March 25, 2011

Did I Do That?: PPRA Panel Shares Crisis PR Expertise

From the BP oil spill to Gilbert Gottfried’s recent social media snafu, we’ve all seen the damaging headlines splashed across the media.  At the PPRA Crisis PR and Reputation Management panel on Monday, March 21 at Le Méridien Philadelphia, our panelists shared first-hand stories of how crises were handled and what they would have done differently.  A great deal of information was packed into just one short hour, so here are the topline points that you missed:

  • Anne Klein of Anne Klein Communications Group
    • PR people can never be brought into a crisis situation fast enough
    • We may not be able to prevent the media getting a hold of a story, but we can prevent being caught unprepared
    • Lack of communication is one of the main reasons that a situation escalates to crisis level
    • Failing to respond to the media in a timely fashion can lead to a tarnished reputation for many years to come
  • Karen Friedman, communications coach and author of “Shut Up and Say Something”
    • Reporters will always ask “When did you know, and what did you do about it?”
    • NEVER say “no comment.”  It’s okay to admit when you don’t know or to explain why you can’t talk about an issue
    • When crafting messages, don’t think about the reporter you are talking to, think about the audience you want to reach
    • Don’t let any client go on air without media training
  • Jeff Jubelirer of Jubelirer Strategies
    • Internal stakeholders (employees, board members, etc) are a company’s most powerful advocates and best messengers
    • When sending out letters to external stakeholders, personalize each one to show your investment in them
    • The internet is everywhere – crises move faster, so always be prepared to monitor social media sources
    • Consider preparing a dark site with all of the information you need for potential crises
  • Joshua Peck of Duane Morris LLP
    • The relationship between lawyers and the PR world is changing
    • Lawyers are beginning to recognize that their clients need more than just legal counsel in some situations
    • Consumers of media do not want to hear from the lawyer or the PR person – they want to hear from the client
    • When crafting an apology, focus not only on relating empathy, but also relaying what your next steps will be
  • Moderator: Richard Maloney of SEPTA (and former KYW Newsradio Reporter)
    • The success of a message comes down to credibility
    • You don’t have control over who your CEO is, but you have control over if he speaks to the media or not
    • The old joke is, the wife is the last to know.  The PR person is really the last to know

While every crisis situation is certainly unique, the public relations goal is always the same:  maintain your client’s reputation.  We hope you don’t have to deal with any crises soon, but now you can rest assured that you have some great principles to live by if you do.  

Thank you again to our panel!  

This blog post was written by Christine Guerrini. Christine Guerrini is a member of the public relations team at Tierney agency in Center City Philadelphia. A Villanova grad, Christine specializes in media relations, social media and research. She has worked with clients in non-profit, law, technology, hospitality, and B2B fields. Outside of work, Christine is an avid fan of the Arts, whether exploring museums or sitting down with a novel. Connect with Christine on Twitter (@CMGuerrini) or at

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks so much for commenting! We love hearing from our readers!