Rich Klein gives some quick crisis management tips for business in connection with the Napa CA earthquake. This is part of a series of videos known as The Crisis Management Minute. (Recorded August 24, 2014)
Here’s my article, How Law Firms Can Use Social Media In A Crisis, that was just published as part of a cover story theme on crisis management in Strategies, the Journal of Legal Marketing. It’s in PDF format, so please click on the first link above and just scroll to the second page. Of course, the information here applies to any company or organization. Thanks to the Legal Marketing Association for including my contribution.
Note: The article was published right before I changed my company name from LawFirmsPR to Rich Klein Crisis Management.
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Questions? Please email email@example.com. Find me on Twitter @RichKleinCrisis.
Effective February 9, 2013, LawFirmsPR changed its name to Rich Klein Crisis Management to more accurately reflect the majority of the work we now perform for a wide variety of clients. It also syncs nicely with The Crisis Show, a project that we launched in June 2012 to educate leaders about all aspects of crisis management.
Rich Klein has specialized in law firm public relations and law firm crisis communications since the early 1990’s. In recent years, more and more non-law firms sought his counsel for crisis management and online reputation issues, which prompted this name change.
Thank you to everyone who has supported our work thus far and especially to those friends and colleagues who visit this blog.
Although we changed our name, we remain committed to providing valuable content here and on many other social media channels.
We were pleasantly surprised and honored today to receive recognition by a video monitoring/syndication service which praised the “innovation” of The Crisis Show.
Okay, law firms are not products but it doesn’t matter. When the lights went out at the Super Bowl last night, Oreo Cookie quickly Tweeted out a promo infographic with wit. The Twitter post read, “Power out? No problem” with an attached graphic (at left) that showed a cookie and the witty caption, “You Can Still Dunk in the Dark.”
Calvin Klein posted a Vine with the caption “since the lights are still out…” that featured guys with six-pack abs wearing their underwear. Both reaped attention, increased visibility of the brands and likely resulted in additional business.
The lesson here is that law firms, too, need to act more quickly to capitalize on breaking news events. That often means not following the plan or script and it also means getting very quick approval – something lawyers often have trouble with.
But if a law firm wants to stand out from the crowd — however you define your competition — then being bold AND timely is a great combination that demands prospective clients’ attention. It may even result in high profile media coverage like Oreo and Calvin Klein received last night and today.
So how can a law firm that prides itself on its collegial, buttoned-down atmosphere be bold and timely?
Sometimes it’s as simple as issuing a snappy statement reacting to a high-profile, high impact court decision. Other times, it’s using social media to show thought leadership/ legal knowledge while demonstrating to a younger generation of entrepreneurs (possible future clients) that you understand new media.
What are you doing at your law firm to take advantage of breaking news opportunities? If you just have a website and no social media properties, you will lose the game before kickoff.
It’s time to get in the game by thinking how your firm can use tools like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest and Vine. But you also need thoughtful, witty content to stay alive in the game. And yes you can do it without violating lawyer advertising rules.
Naturally, I have some ideas that have worked for other law firms. But not to worry…they don’t involve cookies or mens’s underwear.
Since starting The Crisis Show in June 2012, I’ve spent each week combing through some of the most high profile crisis situations facing companies, governments and individuals in the public eye.
Here’s some crisis management takeaways that we hope are wake-up calls in 2013:
1 – Nearly all the reputation damage from crisis situations we analyzed could have been minimized if leaders were more decisive in the earliest stages of their crises.
2 — Many executives and government officials failed to express appropriate emotions in their media statements and when facing journalists in person. And most have the resources to get top level media training!
3 — Despite having significant social media presence, global companies often failed to communicate on Twitter, Facebook, etc. to update critical audiences about their crisis or, worse, they promoted products on these sites even when people had been harmed or when their product was recalled.
4 — Some big companies turned all spokesperson duties over to litigation attorneys, who might win in court years later, but who can be tone deaf when it comes to protecting a company’s reputation in the short term.
5 — Organizations did not accept responsibility for their actions or inactions early in a crisis and failed to offer heartfelt apologies. Sometimes, attorneys warn clients not to apologize because it could cost them significantly in lawsuits. Other times, it’s just the head-in-the-sand corporate culture. But people notice — and take their business to competitors.
The start of a new year is an ideal time to assess vulnerabilities and brewing crisis situations that can harm reputation before they spin out of your control.
Wishing everyone peace, happiness and prosperity in 2013.
December is a great time for law firm partners to plan for significantly raising visibility and improving reputation in the new year.
Here’s 10 actions you can start implementing right now so you are positioned for business growth in 2013:
1 – Fix your biography so people can learn quickly what you’ve accomplished for similar clients in recent years. Did you win a high stakes litigation for a Fortune 500 company? Did you handle a mega-merger that was favorable to client? Lead with your best stuff, NOT where you went to law school!
2– Put some meat on your LinkedIn profile. The same revised biographical info on your firm website can go on LinkedIn. Be sure the copy is about how you serve and succeed for clients and not a laundry list of fancy titles and bar memberships.
3 — Learn how to use the Advanced Search capabilities on LinkedIn to create a powerful list of prospects customized by items such as geography, job title, company, etc.
4 — Consider launching a practice-specific blog. And, no, you don’t have to blog every day. You can post as little as once per week or month and the posts can be just a few sentences or a short audio or video.
5 — Create a Twitter account and start Tweeting every few days. An easy way to start is by sharing other people’s news that is related to your practice or linking to your new blog post.
6 — Record and post to YouTube a 2 to 3 minute video that analyzes a hot legal issue in your practice (s) area. This is one way to establish/expand your thought leadership and will improve your search engine results very quickly. Here’s one we did for a client earlier this year that received 8,000+ views and another that has surpassed 10,000 views.
7 — Identify and secure speaking engagements where your best prospects gather. Want to be a more powerful presenter? Study Steve Jobs and read The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs. You can also watch a wide variety of great presentations at TED. Here’s one by Seth Godin that is a great example of excellent presentation and inspiring content.
8– Learn how to deal more effectively with the media and consider hiring a professional who can help you with messaging, transitions, body language and answering the toughest questions. (At LawFirmsPR, we now do this kind of training by Skype, including a video recording and written audit, so you can quickly learn and improve.)
10– Learn more about crisis/litigation communications for your firm and your clients. A good place to start is The Crisis Show, a weekly Internet broadcast I started in June 2012 with case studies on a wide variety of crises that touch the legal world — and with nearly 20 hours of free content so far.