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

Japan Disaster, Mideast Events=New Crisis Management Mindset for Global Business

The catastrophic earthquake/tsunami in Japan occurred while Libya was exploding into civil war. And that event followed closely the citizen uprisings in Egypt, Bahrain and Tunisia. Now the Saudis have entered Bahrain to protect the Sunni monarchy, adding to an already tense situation in the Middle East.

These somewhat simultaneous world events should remind companies, particularly those with people and offices across continents, to be more prepared than ever to Monitor-Act-Speak (MAS) when multiple humanitarian disasters strike.

Here’s a brief breakdown of the three actions I recommend for organizations that want to fine-tune their approach to crisis management if faced with simultaneous crises:

1) Monitor — Must have intelligence gathering capabilities and the right tools/technology to closely monitor fast-breaking developments in real time.

2) Act – Must have a fluid crisis management plan that can quickly be placed into action. It should identify members of the crisis management team and delineate the responsibilities of each member for a wide variety of crisis scenarios.  Example: Someone will have authority to make all decisions relating to rescue and/or protection of employees and business assets in danger zones.

3) Speak – Using traditional media but especially social media like Twitter, Facebook & YouTube, a company must respond  24/7 to media/blogger inquiries as well as the concerns of a company’s critical audiences (employees/loved ones, customers/clients, government officials, investors, etc.). “Speak” also means “write” — so any backgrounders, fact sheets, press releases and social media posts that can be prepared in advance will make it easier to navigate a serious crisis. Spokespeople previously designated should have access to live video tools like Skype, iChat, Facetime, UStream, Justin.TV and Google Chat.  This will allow critical audiences to actually see and hear from the “face” of the company, which helps an organization to build/rebuild trust much faster. But that’s assuming the written and spoken messages put out by the company are entirely credible. In addition, most of these “apps” are available on a growing list of mobile devices.

For more information about crisis management/crisis communications and social media, please visit:




My colleague, Jonathan Bernstein, also has some great information at http://www.bernsteincrisismanagement.com/.