Crisis management questions: What to ask for crisis response

Issues Management WorksheetAny successful crisis response requires a calm demeanor. You simply can’t be effective with crisis management if you rush your thinking or overlook important steps. Additionally, it’s important to have the full support of your team when an unplanned issue that will impact your corporate reputation surfaces.

To help my clients manage both of these tough assignments under pressure, I use an issues management worksheet that I created with the help of my colleagues. My long-term clients have a copy of this worksheet that they provide to key employees.

Whether you’re responding to TV reporters trying to report a criminal investigation or a natural disaster, it’s important to gather facts quickly and accurately. Once the facts are sorted out, a proper assessment can be made and a strategy can be approved and implemented. [Read more…]

Crisis management and your crisis response plan

Too late for planning (via tvol on flickr)Crisis management planning is critical for any business and Atlanta-based companies are not immune from this rule. During my career as a reporter and especially over the past five years of reputation management at Jackson Spalding, I have witnessed the results of those who conduct business without a crisis communications plan. It’s like walking a tight rope without a net.

Most of my clients never expected they would need help with issues management. Crisis communications popped into their minds only after the crisis popped into their life. In fact, I frequently acknowledge that many of my clients never wanted to work with a PR firm at all. They call — sometimes at the request of their attorney — after an unplanned event becomes an issue that might impact their bottom line.

The situations that lead to this call are wide-ranging. I’ve helped corporate boards communicate the transition of C-suite executives and once worked with a client who needed to explain to employees, vendors and partners why a C-level executive was pleading guilty after a Justice Department investigation. I’ve responded to protests, including one led by Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH coalition and one organized to oppose a Glenn Beck book signing. [Read more…]

U.S. nuclear industry must face PR challenges

Three Mile IslandAs I watch the news in Japan unfold, I’m certain that executives with the U.S. nuclear industry are huddling around a desk to review a crisis communications plan recently pulled from the back of a dusty file cabinet. There is no doubt that a communications crisis is in full bloom.

The crisis, if not managed proactively, will have dire results for the future of U.S. energy policy. The nuclear industry itself will bear the brunt of the impact.

Historically, America has not been supportive of nuclear power. No new nuclear power plants have been permitted in the U.S. since 1979, the year of America’s worst nuclear accident at Three Mile Island. No nuclear reactors have been constructed since 1996. Until the events in Japan over the past week, Georgia seemed poised to change that fact with a nuclear plant scheduled for construction in Waynesboro.

[Read more…]