Sound Bite That Bit The President

Last week, President Obama was answering questions at a news conference. And one short sentence got him in big trouble in the court of public opinion. 

I wrote about this in a post on LinkedIn just now.


Quick Overview of The Crisis Management Advisor on Google Helpouts

This video will briefly explain how The Crisis Management Advisor works.

Here’s the link to The Crisis Management Advisor profile on Google Helpouts.

Get Your Crisis Management Tips in 15 Minutes

A few weeks ago we launched The Crisis Management Advisor on Google Helpouts. That means you can schedule, pay and immediately receive crisis management counsel in a confidential video call.

More recently, we added an introductory version of The Crisis Management Advisor for those who just want some basic crisis management / reputation tips. We call it Crisis Management 101: Quick Tips in 15 minutes. Right now, that costs just $10 – which is cheaper than two grande lattes anywhere in the world.

And, even if you don’t work with us, we highly recommend checking out the many great service providers with many talents who are now on Helpouts.

You can watch this video for more information about the format.

To learn more about Rich Klein Crisis Management, please visit or visit us on Facebook and Twitter.

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.

U.S. President Quotes & Crisis Management Lessons

In honor of Presidents’ Day, thought I’d share some great quotes that relate to crisis george-washington-portraitmanagement and how they might be applied to business crises today.

It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one. — George Washington

Crisis Management Lesson:  Crisis situations are magnified when leaders fail to accept responsibility for their company’s actions. They are also magnified when poor excuses are made for obvious failures –and then the media gets to the truth and calls you out. 

I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts. –Abraham Lincoln

Crisis Management Lesson: The public is much more likely to forgive mistakes made by an organization IF you are honest about the facts from the very beginning of the crisis – regardless of what some lawyers might tell you.

When written in Chinese, the word “crisis” is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.
John F. Kennedy

Crisis Management Lesson: Don’t get obsessed and stressed about the crisis. Instead, focus energies on the solution. McNeil Consumer Products, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, had a major crisis of confidence on its hands with Tylenol in 1982 – but by creating the first tamper-proof bottles, converted a horrible situation into a golden opportunity that changed an industry and that restored the public’s trust in its products.

You can always amend a big plan, but you can never expand a little one. I don’t believe in little plans. I believe in plans big enough to meet a situation which we can’t possibly foresee now. — Harry S. Truman

Crisis Management Lesson: Don’t just think of a few minor case scenarios when doing your crisis management planning. (You’re not doing crisis management planning?? Let’s talk.) Think of the BIG Crises that could impact your business. For example, plan for a SuperStorm Sandy that floods your offices and destroys customer data – rather than just a brief power outage. Plan for a workplace shooting rather than a testy verbal exchange between employees.

In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing. — Theodore Roosevelt

Crisis Management Lesson: Companies that do nothing in a crisis are at most risk for loss of reputation and more. Unfortunately, we see all too much of this today. Those organizations that try to do the right thing but get it wrong are often forgiven by the public if they keep working on a solution. Always try to do the right thing FIRST and that will save reputation, often prevent costly litigation and quickly restore any lost public trust. Companies that do the right thing early in a crisis will often see increased revenues and market share once the crisis begins to subside. 

My failures have been errors in judgment, not of intent. –Ulysses S. Grant

Crisis Management Lesson: If true, borrow this great quote from Grant when you are publicly responding in a crisis!

For more information about Rich Klein Crisis Management:

And be sure to watch The Crisis Show at 7 pm on most Wednesdays.

5 Crisis Management Lessons from The Crisis Show in 2012

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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