Simon Says: We Don’t Care About People & Abercrombie No Better At Roosevelt Field

Compassion. Humanity. How hard is that? Well, for Simon Malls, owners of Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City, Long Island, as well as Abercrombie & Fitch, guess they just can’t find the time to offer a statement of concern for the nine workers overcome by carbon monoxide poisoning this morning. Check out the tweets Simon/Roosevelt sent out a good three hours after the incident:

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And this tweet from Abercrombie at 12:30 pm EDT today (June 20):

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In today’s instant news cycle, it’s mandatory to post SOMETHING on social media — particularly your Twitter profile and Facebook page — in a crisis where people are hurt on or near your properties.

Instead of turning people off with “we’re open, come shop” the message should have been at least: “Our hearts and prayers go out to the workers injured today at our Roosevelt Field location. We’re working closely with authorities to investigate the cause.” (Simon Mall example).

Abercrombie could have said something similar.

Shame on Simon Malls and Abercrombie. Companies and organizations must put people first especially when lives are in danger.

Sometimes the problem lies at the top of the organization and other times it’s because companies employ junior social media people who have no clue about crisis situations or reputation management.

Either way, it’s an issue all companies must think about if they care at all about their long term reputation.

One (PRISM) News Story, Many Companies in Crisis Mode

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James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence (U.S.)

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Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg

News this week about the existence of a secret U.S. government data collection program known as PRISM is a great example of how one investigative news story in just one influential publication can rock a major industry all at once. The revelations forced most of the major Internet players (Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo! Apple) ┬áto rush out with media statements and blog posts┬áthat suddenly put them on the defensive with millions of their customers about privacy, already a sticky issue for years before we knew about PRISM. They all said basically the same thing: that they didn’t know about PRISM and that customer privacy is very important. Blah, blah, blah. This of course was after the initial story in The Guardian that focused on Verizon’s confidential cooperation with the National Security Agency.

This should be a wakeup call to companies everywhere. What is the major media story in the works about YOUR company and/or industry? If you have no idea, maybe it’s time to think about what could be written/reported about your business that might not be so glowing — that could seriously harm your reputation. Then, get to work on a draft media statement that you can refine slightly if your nightmare becomes reality. In that statement, make sure you use people language, not legalese, if you want it to be taken seriously by the media and the court of public opinion.

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Want to learn more about drafting protective media/social media statements for a possible business crisis? Need comprehensive media training (done in person and via Skype) so you are confident in facing the media? Need a crisis management/crisis communications plan that can be smoothly executed when a serious crisis hits your organization?

Email rich@richkleincrisis.com, call Rich Klein at (347) 926-3530 and also check out past episodes of The Crisis Show.

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