Category Archives: Crisis Communications

Tylenol recovered. But will United Airlines?

Shock. Horror. Outrage. That has been the reaction of people around the world to the brutal images of airport police dragging a passenger off a United Airlines flight yesterday in the U.S.

I am wondering how a paying customer can be brutalised by a business he has contracted with? In what world is that okay? And in what world, can such brutality be justified by claiming, in essence, the passenger had a ‘bad attitude’? Apparently, standing up for yourself is not simply defiant: it’s against the rules.

We’ve been conditioned to believe that “the authorities” can do pretty much as they please when it comes to issues or situations which are even remotely associated with “security”.

Unfortunately, it appears we’ve inadvertently given carte blanche to corporations working in these industries to abrogate basic human rights, not to mention the rules of civil society.

Did it start with the US’s National Security Agency violating people’s physical bodies during airport body searches? In a few short years, we now feel it’s normal to subject ourselves to invasive and at times degrading levels of interaction at airports under the guise of complying with “security regulations”.

And in January, the UK passed the Snooper’s Charter, which enables the government  — apparently ‘legally’ — to spy on every citizen, without cause. All in the name of “security”.

I’m fed up. I can only hope that United Airlines’ reputation is so badly damaged by this that drastic measures must be taken to rehabilitate it. Tylenol recovered from the tampering scandal, largely because they were not at fault. United’s agents, in this case, airport police, have done irreparable damage. Indeed, a breaking story from The Guardian indicates United’s share price has plummeted, wiping $1bn from its value in hours.

But there may been good to come of this yet.

What I have observed today gives me hope. The shock and  horror of the passengers’ faces as their compatriot was bounced and banged off the plane gives me hope. Ordinary people have not lost their innate sense of what is right. Their horrified reaction says it all.

It’s time we reminded corporations and governments who they are meant to serve.

For more information or to support a challenge of the UK government’s illegal Snooper’s Charter, click here for details from Liberty.

 

 

PR in good times and in bad: 5 things you must do in a crisis and why crisis communications is vital for your business

Crisis-CommunicationRecent events we’ve been involved in have been a fresh reminder that PR is not just for announcing good news — it’s crucial when things go wrong. There’s a lot more than just your reputation on the line when things go wrong. The survival of your business may hang in the balance.

Here are five things to keep in mind if you are dealing with a crisis.

1. Communicate with your key audiences

If your company is caught up in a crisis, it’s vital that you stay in touch with your stakeholders. Depending on your business, this may be your funders, your biggest customers, or the people who work for you. It may be all  of the above. But keeping them up to date on developments when a crisis hits shows them that they are important to you, and that you will make the effort to share news with them first — even if the only news you have is that there is no news, yet.

2. Communicate with the media

The media can be a very demanding group when there is a crisis. Often, a company’s desire to respond to a media query can lead managers to comment too broadly on events. If you are not in a position to say anything definitive,  it’s often better to say so, and leave it at that. Keep track of who was in touch, and save that list for later.

3. Meet with your key people, face-to-face

Take time to meet with your management team and get the complete picture of what has happened, and what you can do about it. Face to face meetings are best at this time.

4. Call in specialist PR help

In addition to your management team, you will want to speak to your trusted communications advisors. If you don’t have anyone to help you with communications in a crisis, you may miss out on some simple strategies that will make things much easier. Ask around and get a recommendation if you can. You will  probably want to call in a specialist with experience in crisis communications.

5. When you have something to say, get the word out

It’s also crucial, when you do have something to say, to get the word out. Follow up with the media who were in touch, and let them know your position on events. It’s important to keep the  lines of communication open, but be sure to do it only when you have carefully assessed the situation.

A crisis can make or break a business. Make sure you do everything that is required. When the crisis is over, your company may paradoxically have been strengthened by the storm you have weathered — but only if you have managed it well.

If you need help in a crisis, Bruce Public Relations in Inverness can help — -quickly and effectively. We’ve helped clients in a range of industries to manage crises, and we can help you. Get in touch.

5 ways Bruce Public Relations can help your business. Right now.

Laura Bruce from Bruce Public Relations speaking to a Highland audience about public relations in the age of social media

Laura Bruce from Bruce Public Relations speaking to a Highland audience about public relations in the age of social media

5 reasons to contact Bruce Public Relations:

1. You have just valuable new contract, and want to spread the word.

We would be delighted to get the word out. From announcing a new ship joining the fleet, to the awarding the contract for a multi-million pound hospital, to the opening of a new nursery, Bruce PR has helped clients of all sizes and shapes to share their good news. And we would be delighted to help you share yours.

2. You may soon be on the receiving end of some negative media coverage and you have no idea what to do.

Asking how you came to be in that unfortunate position isn’t going to help much at this point. What you need now is crisis management. And we have expertise in that. With clients in health care, transportation and chemical industries (to name a few), we appreciate that there is a lot that can go wrong. Machines malfunction, people make mistakes. What matters now is what you do about that. If you think this is the kind of help you need, get in touch with us — or another trusted and experienced firm — quickly. The sooner the better. You can thank us later.

3. Your business has grown to a certain point, but you would like to reach the next level.

We can help. In fact, this may be our favourite kind of work. Whilst our stock-in-trade is PR, what we are particularly good at is helping you to see your business with fresh eyes. With nearly twenty years experience helping businesses across dozens of sectors to achieve their objectives, we can often help you to find a new and better way of growing your business.

4. You have heard that this [Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / Insert name of next new channel] thing may be important for your business, but have no idea where to start.

Yes, we can help you with this as well. If social media is something you know you should start doing, we can help you to position your social networking within an overall communications strategy. However, if all you need are a few pointers to set you in the right direction, we can help you with that as well.

5. Your [daughter / nephew / computer technician ] did your company’s website five years ago, but it’s just not what you need today.

From copywriting to press releases to corporate brochures to instruction manuals, writing is something we simply love to do. And if it you would like some help updating your website, creating some fresh material for your blog, or helping create a user-friendly manual for your  product, please get in touch. We would be delighted to help. And if your website needs a makeover, we know some talented designers who can help steer you in the right direction. Together, we can ensure that your website is hitting the right note.

So there you have it. Five ways Bruce Public Relations can help your business. Right now.