How Law Firms (and others) Can Use Social Media In A Crisis

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.

Please leave feedback/comments below.

Questions? Please email Find me on Twitter @RichKleinCrisis.


Doritos Locos Tacos Campaign in US vs Traces of Horse Meat In UK


Today, Taco Bell (a subsidiary of Yum! Brands) reached the pinnacle of its biggest marketing campaign in history to launch its Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos. But late last week, news came out of the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency that beef used in Taco Bells there tested positive for horse meat. In response, here’s what Taco Bell posted on its “domestic” website in the News Releases section:

Mar 01, 2013

Irvine, CA – March 1, 2013

Our domestic restaurants have not been, and will not be, impacted because we do not use any meat from Europe. We stand for quality and we use 100% premium beef.  Like all beef in the United States, ours is USDA inspected and then passes our own 20 quality checkpoints. To learn more about our ingredients and food facts, please visit us at

And here’s what was posted on March 2 to the company’s Taco Bell UK Facebook page:

Thank you all for your comments and support over the last 24 hours. We want to apologise to all of our customers that this has happened. Food quality remains our highest priority, and we have tested and certified that all beef for sale in our restaurants meets the strict standards we demand. We’d also like to let you know that we’ll be receiving new deliveries of beef by tomorrow for all of our Taco Bell UK restaurants. 

Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos

What’s interesting is that there are two different messages. The first, aimed at Americans, is an attempt to reassure customers that they use 100 percent premium beef. The second, aimed at UK customers, contains an apology and explains that they are receiving new deliveries.

Two different messages aimed at two different audiences worked fine in the 20th century and even the early 21st century. But today, it’s easy for consumers, the media and other influencers to find both statements and come to their own conclusions.
I get that when you are dealing with different cultures that messages might differ slightly. But if you are a global company like Yum! Brands and your reputation is challenged in one country, it’s not a good idea to try to isolate potentially negative information or to use different messaging about the same subject. The world is too small and information moves too fast to expect no one will notice.

What do other marketing/PR/advertising folks think? What do you think as a consumer? And, do you think the horse meat news will impact sales of the new tacos product globally? Please leave a comment below or Tweet #RichKleinCrisis.

Update, 2:30 pm EDT, March 6:
Apparently, there’s a shortage of the new taco product after the company announced it would start selling them a day early.

Carnival, Poland Spring, Burger King Highlight The Crisis Show #28

Here’s a video replay of The Crisis Show, which aired February 20, 2013. Host Rich Klein was joined by guest Shel Holtz. We analyzed Carnival Cruise Line’s crisis, Poland Spring’s missed public relations/social media opportunity, the hacking of Burger King’s Twitter account and the creative use of Google+ by TD Bank. For show notes and related links, please visit

Law Firms Can Learn From Oreo and Calvin Klein

oreoOkay, 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.”

Check out my video post about this blog

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.

5 Crisis Management Lessons from The Crisis Show in 2012

Screen Shot 2012-12-31 at 10.49.55 AM

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.

–Rich Klein

Crisis Show Highlights: India Blackout, Chick-fil-A, Twitter/NBC, Hyundai and Tips

Here’s a replay of Episode #7 of The Crisis Show, which aired on August 1, 2012.

We covered many crises/controversies, including the blackout in India, Chick-fil-A, NBC/Twitter and London2012, Hyundai, Mitt Romney and more.

The Crisis Show, with co-hosts Rich Klein, Melissa Agnes and Jonathan Bernstein, airs every Wednesday at 7 p.m. EDT via Google Hangouts on Air and YouTube.

For more information about the show, please visit The Crisis Show website.

We welcome your comments, suggestions for future shows and questions about various crisis situations. Please email  or

The Crisis Show, Episode #3 – June 27, 2012

Here’s the video from Episode #3 of The Crisis Show via Google Hangouts and TheCrisisShow channel on YouTube.

For more information about the show, which airs every Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET, please visit