Communication Matters

Analysis, critique, and advice on today's hot news topics from the perspective of a Strategic PR Consultant.

Posts Tagged ‘crisis’

The Power of The Apology in Forgiveness. It works!

Posted by mrsmart on February 25, 2014

ukraineUKRAINE: RIOT POLICE KNEEL DOWN AND BEG FOR FORGIVENESS.

Contrary to popular misconceptions, apologizing in a conflict as what we just witnessed in Ukraine is neither a sign of admission of guilt nor a sign of weakness. It is in the spirit of community preservation. The unexpected outcome may be greater national unity as a result.

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The Power of Search Engine Optimization.

Posted by mrsmart on February 20, 2014

seo-imageEver heard the phrase, Search Engine Optimization or SEO? It is simply an online publicity plan for your website. Done right, it saves cost with online marketing, improving your odds for online success. A good SEO starts with finding a great domain for your business. One with your products or services as keywords in it! Example. If you offer chemistry tutorial. Try smithchemistrytutorial dot com. Know what folks Google search when looking for chemistry tutorial? You guessed it.

Want to build your SEO skills?
Join us at Houston PR Training 2014, Houston, TX
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JUST AS I PREDICTED, HERMAN CAIN IS DONE.

Posted by mrsmart on December 4, 2011

As I predicted when the first accuser spoke on television about Hermann Cain’s harassment, Mr. Cain is done. He says he will endorse another candidate. See below for my referenced Facebook post.

CRISIS ALERT! Herman Cain Will Hold A News Conference at 5pmET Tuesday.–NBC News. Written on November 7, 2011

A little late. However, if true, it’ll be the first good crisis management move Mr. Cain has made since his sexual harassment troubles began. The fact is, these allegations and accusers will not go away. Reporters, like sharks, smell blood in the water. They too, are going no where.

Unfortunately, Mr. Cain lost control of the issue the moment he chose denial, pontification, and evasiveness as his preferred crisis management tactics.

To have any chance of changing subjects and focusing on his 9-9-9- tax plan or anything else, he must be prepared to answer all reporters’ questions at the presser until there are no more left. Either way, he may have taken a serious body blow this afternoon from which he may not fully recover.

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Rupert Murdoch, Damaged BRAND?

Posted by mrsmart on July 21, 2011

This piece is written in response to Mr. Steve Forbes’ op/ed on the News Corp phone hacking crisis, titled “Why Rupert Murdoch Will Survive And Thrive Again.” http://blogs.forbes.com/steveforbes/2011/07/18/why-rupert-murdoch-will-survive-and-thrive-again/#respond

In his piece, Mr. Forbes compares today’s News Corp’s phone hacking crisis with Mr. Rupert Murdoch’s company’s excessive debt and almost certain bankruptcy about twenty years ago. In that crisis, Mr. Murdoch was said to have successfully applied tools of crisis management, survived, and even thrived.

Where I beg to differ with Mr. Forbes, however, is that this is different. More than finances or money, this “Mother of all CRISES” damages his most important asset, his BRAND.

Comparing the pre-internet, pre-blogs and pre-twitter excessive debt and bankruptcy “crisis,” twenty years ago, to today’s potentially felony phone hacking crisis, is comparing apples and oranges. True, the bankruptcy case may have been tough, managing its fallout, however, was straightforward. It had the key elements necessary for a successful crisis management.

It had exigency, a clearly defined crisis brought about by Mr. Murdoch’s company’s excessive debt and subsequent potential for bankruptcy. It had a leader of the conglomerate, Mr. Murdoch himself, willing to get into the “trenches” and make things right. In addition, there were heads of banks and other financial institutions with whom to communicate, ask forgiveness, and negotiate modified payment terms, and so on. This set of people had just one common interest: to ensure they got paid what was owed to them so they don’t lose their investments. Indeed, according to Mr. Forbes, Mr Murdoch met with them, acknowledged the seriousness of the issue and committed to fix what was wrong, and voila!

Unfortunately, unlike the bankruptcy crisis, this crisis has too many moving parts; too many competing interests, with too many possible outcomes. The scandal’s reaches are too long, too wide and too deep for a quick crisis resolution. Worse, it is ongoing with almost no end in sight. To say nothing of feeding frenzy from competitors who would like nothing than seeing Murdoch’s Media Empire fall.

Can Mr. Murdock survive and thrive financially? Yes. This write-up, however, is about something much more than money. It is about the risk to his BRAND. With these endless investigations, in the end, Rupert Murdoch’s BRAND may be irreparably damaged whether or not he is cleared of any wrongdoing.

Emmanuel A. Smart is President of Smart Expressions, a Strategic Public Relations and Corporate Communication firm based in Houston, TX; He teaches strategies, tactics and tools of communication, offering onsite and monthly public seminar, consulting and design services. More information, visit http://www.smartexpressions.com

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Rupert Murdoch, Damaged BRAND?

Posted by mrsmart on July 21, 2011

This piece is written in response to Mr. Steve Forbes’ op/ed on the News Corp phone hacking crisis, titled “Why Rupert Murdoch Will Survive And Thrive Again.” http://blogs.forbes.com/steveforbes/2011/07/18/why-rupert-murdoch-will-survive-and-thrive-again/#respond

In his piece, Mr. Forbes compares today’s News Corp’s phone hacking crisis, with Mr. Rupert Murdoch’s company’s excessive debt and almost certain bankruptcy about twenty years ago. In that crisis, Mr. Murdock was said to have successfully applied tools of crisis management, survived, and even thrived.

Where I beg to differ with Mr. Forbes, however, is that this is different. More than finances or money, this “Mother of all CRISES” damages his most important asset, his BRAND.

Comparing the pre-internet, pre blogs and pre-twitter excessive debt and bankruptcy crisis, twenty years ago, to today’s felony phone hacking crisis, is pure apples and oranges. In the bankruptcy case, while it may have been tough, the crisis still had key ingredients for successful crisis management.

It had exigency, a clearly defined crisis brought about by Mr. Murdock’s company’s excessive debt and subsequent potential for bankruptcy. It had a leader of the conglomerate, Mr. Murdock himself, willing to get into the “trenches” and make things right. In addition, there were heads of banks and other financial institutions with whom to communicate, ask forgiveness, and negotiate modified payment terms, and so on. These set of people had just one common interest: to ensure they got paid what was owed to them and not lose their investments. Indeed, according to Mr. Forbes, Mr Murdock met with them, acknowledged the seriousness of the issue and committed to fix what was wrong, and voila!

Unlike in the “bankruptcy” crisis, this one has too many moving parts, too many competing interests, with too many possible outcomes, very few, if any, favorable. The scandal’s reaches are long, wide and deep, and ongoing. To say nothing of feeding frenzy from competitors who would want nothing more than seeing Murdock’s Media Empire fall.

So, while Mr. Murdock may survive and thrive financially; with these endless investigations, however, his most valuable asset, his BRAND, may be irreparably damaged. That’s why Billionaire Warren Buffett is often credited with saying: “If you steal my money, I will forgive you. If you damage my reputation, I’ll never forgive you.”

Emmanuel A. Smart is President of SMART EXPRESSIONS, a Strategic Public Relations and Corporate Communication firm based in Houston, TX; He teaches strategies, tactics and tools of communication, offering onsite and monthly public seminar, consulting and design services. More information, visit http://www.smartexpressions.com

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MICHAEL VICK MAKES A COMEBACK WITH NIKE TOO.

Posted by mrsmart on July 2, 2011

“We have re-signed Michael Vick as a Nike athlete,” Megan Saalfeld, a Nike spokeswoman, confirmed to CNN in an e-mail.
With those nine words, Michael Vick has come full circle in his image restoration just as I predicted when he first went to prison. Here’s the original blog post.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/early-lead/post/eagles-quarterback-michael-vick-makes-a-comeback-with-nike-too/2011/07/01/AGKvFotH_blog.html?tid=sm_twitter_washingtonpost

Learn crisis management strategies and tactics; Join us for PR Seminar 2011, Houston, TX. Better Biz Communication Solutions. Lecture & Fun! http://tinyurl.com/3rv8ozn

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ANTHONY WEINER’S CHANCE OF SURVIVAL, SLIM TO NONE!

Posted by mrsmart on June 7, 2011

Rep Weiner D-NY body language yesterday, below, spoke volumes, indicating uneasiness with himself.

Picture from http://www.RollCall.com — Rep. Anthony Weiner attends a House Energy and Commerce Committee markup in the Rayburn House Office Building on June 2.

Today, he admitted sending lewd photos of himself! What did him in was not the lewd act; his tipping point was his botched crisis response of denying, delaying and pontificating!

Join us for PR Seminar 2011. Houston, TX.
http://www.smartexpressions.com/sign-up.html
Learn effective crisis communication. Know what to say to the media when facing a crisis to mitigate the damage to your reputation.

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ANTHONY WEINER’S CHANCE OF SURVIVAL, SLIM TO NONE!

Posted by mrsmart on June 7, 2011

Rep Weiner D-NY body language yesterday, below, spoke volumes, indicating uneasiness with himself.

Picture from http://www.RollCall.com — Rep. Anthony Weiner attends a House Energy and Commerce Committee markup in the Rayburn House Office Building on June 2.

Today, he admitted sending lewd photos of himself! What did him in was not the lewd act; his tipping point was his botched crisis response of denying, delaying and pontificating!

Join us for PR Seminar 2011. Houston, TX.
http://www.smartexpressions.com/sign-up.html
Learn effective crisis communication. Know what to say to the media when facing a crisis to mitigate the damage to your reputation.

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CHOOSING THE RIGHT SPOKESPERSON–BP’s positive first step to repairing its damaged reputation.

Posted by mrsmart on July 30, 2010

It has been nearly two weeks since BP successfully capped the damaged oil well, stopping the oil leak into the Gulf of Mexico. It is time the company turned its attention to repairing its damaged reputation. For BP, that starts with choosing the right spokesperson, an essential part of a successful crisis response strategy. In addition to ethos and pathos, my advice to clients when choosing a spokesperson is to choose someone preferably a native, when possible, with whom the audience can identify.

In choosing Bob Dudley, a native Mississippian as the new CEO and the new face of BP in America, BP may have struck gold, no pun intended. Dudley brings instant credibility. Having grown up in Mississippi, he has a vested interest in cleaning his own backyard. It also helps that millions of gallons are no longer actively gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. When Dudley speaks, hopefully with a little Southern drawl, the audience may be more inclined to believe him and give the company a second look.

It is true Tony Hayward, the man Dudley is replacing, was the CEO, as such the highest ranked individual needed to speak on behalf of the company. But, the image of Hayward with British accent as the face on television of a British company responsible for the worst environmental disaster in the US was simply wrong tactically. Fairly or unfairly, it may have actually served as catalyst for the damage to BP’s company reputation in the oil spill disaster.

With results Mr. Dudley has promised, in terms of tourists returning to the beaches, fewer and fewer tar balls found on the beaches and compensations satisfactorily paid to all adversely affected, BP will recover from its battered image in time. The company may actually come out from this crisis with a better, more valuable brand.

Emmanuel A. Smart is Strategic PR Consultant specializing in image, reputation and crisis management.

Got an ongoing crisis and need immediate help managing it? Or need crisis management planning seminar or workshop? Contact Mr. Smart. Call 713-834-4138 or visit http://www.smartexpressions.com

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Tiger Woods’ Unconventional Crisis Management Deserves An A Grade.

Posted by mrsmart on December 6, 2009

In managing a crisis, conventional wisdom commands to talk to the media as quickly as possible, tell what you know, tell it all and promise more as soon as more information is known. As Tiger Woods copes with what he calls his “personal failings,” his one car accident on November 27, 2009 at his estate, some have suggested he employs the conventional wisdom of crisis management. See Magic Johnson on Larry King, December 4, 2009.

Tiger Woods has so far resisted, choosing instead to employ an unconventional approach for which, in my opinion, he deserves an A grade in crisis management.

All crises are not the same. This one especially is particularly unusual. Managing it successfully therefore will require thinking outside the proverbial box. Whatever techniques employed must take into account the exigency, the principal(s) involved, the audience, the relations, method, and the kairos. Knowingly or unknowingly his approach has these six basic elements, helping him earn an A grade:

1. The exigency: A so-called crisis, which compels some response from someone. Is there really an exigency or a crisis?
There’s only a crisis if the principal stands to lose legitimacy and benefit he enjoyed from his most important audience or public. It is this same public from whom he will seek and receive forgiveness and reputational restoration.
Woods, in his statement on his website, has correctly identified the exigency: personal failings, issue with his wife; accident involving public property, namely fire hydrant, and tree in a neighbor’s yard.

2. The Principal: Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods has enormous reservoir of goodwill from the public the world over. He is intensely private. Other than speaking to the media after one of his numerous golf tournament wins, Tiger Woods does not do media interviews. No one knows his political views or his religious thinking. To whom does he then ask forgiveness? Who therefore would grant him such forgiveness? If so, what does the general public granting Tiger Woods forgiveness mean?

3. The audience. There is an audience of ONE! Mrs. Tiger Woods. So far, there is only a personal failing. His approach has been to isolate, and lock himself up with his most important public and try to work out his personal failing and issues in their marriage.
Any public acknowledgement or statement will be a mistake. A public statement will expand the audience to include the broader public whose only interest is in the juiciness of the story of possible infidelity of Mr. Tiger Woods, and possible problem in his marriage. There’s absolutely no reason to meet the press and talk to any other audience? Most people like Tiger Woods, not because of his morality, but because of his prowess on the Golf course. With time and more wins, the audience will forget about his personal failings.

4. The relations. The relationship to his most important audience is marriage. It is this audience that has been wronged. It is this audience he must seek forgiveness. It is this audience that has the power to grant forgiveness, restore his benefits and make Tiger Woods whole again.

5. The method: His method of communicating he has chosen has been his website. Granted, it is the proverbial drip, drip; the very worst way to deliver a message in a conventional crisis management, he has written about his “personal failing,” suggesting he is not perfect. With this method, he has managed to control what he says to his fans which include this writer.

6. The kairos. The timing and measure of response.
Friends and so-called experts are calling for Mr. Woods to talk to the media, own up to his failings and “be done with it.”

He has chosen instead to hold off and only write generically about the issue on his website. He has cancelled appearing in the next tournament. With possible scar on his face, possibly from his wife’s blow, meeting the media will only serve to further sensationalize the issue and worsen the issue. Besides, no one knows the extent of Tiger Woods’ involvement with other women. Probably, not even Tiger Woods. Who knows what other woman may soon come out? How will he answer that inevitable question, are you involved with any other woman?

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