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News Flash: Dealing with Intense Media Scrutiny During a Business Crisis. Gordon Adams, Senior Vice President, Risk Management and Human Resources, Tri Marine International Ron Gray, Director of Risk Management, AccentCare Joan Gladstone, President and CEO, Gladstone International.

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News flash dealing with intense media scrutiny during a business crisis

News Flash: Dealing with Intense Media Scrutiny During a Business Crisis

Gordon Adams, Senior Vice President, Risk Management and Human Resources, Tri Marine International

Ron Gray, Director of Risk Management, AccentCare

Joan Gladstone, President and CEO, Gladstone International


Case analysis

Case Analysis

Ron Gray

Director of Risk Management

AccentCare


Crisis communications plan one year before the incident
Crisis communications plan –One year before the incident

  • Formed a crisis communications team

  • Set internal media policy

  • Conducted media training for spokespersons

  • Identified key audiences

    • Who to contact in the first critical hours

  • Evaluated communications vulnerabilities

    • Recommendations to enhance existing procedures


On Easter Sunday, a customer told one of our restaurant managers that he found a “foreign object” in his French onion soup


Immediate response
Immediate Response managers that he found a “foreign object” in his French onion soup

  • Apologize for customer’s experience

  • Request object for testing

  • Retain independent investigator to interview employees

  • Discard all but small batch of soup


April 12 may 31
April 12 – May 31 managers that he found a “foreign object” in his French onion soup

Customer

  • Does not respond to numerous requests to test object

  • Hires an attorney, threatens media

  • Holds object for six weeks, then sends it to lab

  • Asks that all female employees be tested for DNA


June 1 july 20
June 1 – July 20 managers that he found a “foreign object” in his French onion soup

  • Object finally sent to second lab

  • All female employees agree to DNA test

    • No match to DNA on object

  • The customer and family agree to DNA test

  • The customer fails to appear for test

  • The following day…


Plaintiff s attorney emails complaint to all southern california media
Plaintiff’s attorney emails complaint to all Southern California media

“(Customer) has had many sleepless nights…he may have contracted any number of life threatening diseases or illnesses…”

“His wife claims damages for

LOSS OF CONSORTIUM…”


July 21
July 21 California media

  • Implement crisis communications plan

    • Media statement to Orange County Register

      • Post on corporate website

    • Media log

    • Media policy reminder

      • Provide statement to restaurant managers

        • Reminder to refer all media inquiries to corporate


Stand-by Media Statement - Partial Text California mediaWe have found no evidence to support any of the allegations in a 'foreign object in the food' allegation filed by (customer) against (company) on (date)….describe company actions to date…After a thorough investigation, there was no evidence of any employee involvement or wrongdoing. We believe the lawsuit has no merit and that we will be vindicated in court.


July 21 22
July 21 - 22 California media

  • Story published in the Orange County Register

    • Sets off social media frenzy

    • Conan O’Brien

  • Two L.A. TV stations seek interviews with company spokesperson

    • Provide written statement instead of interviews

      • Avoid lending credibility to the customer’s claim


Ktla tv
KTLA-TV California media

  • Posts company statement, Register story, complaint on website

    • Airs customer interview, restaurant statement

      “Dirty Dish – truth or a way to make money?”


Kabc tv
KABC-TV California media

  • Cancels segment after reading corporate statement

    “The statement validated why we

    should not run the story”

    - KABC producer


July 24
July 24 California media

  • OC Register does second, longer feature story on family

    • Adds research that the customers owe $300K in back taxes to the IRS

    • Requested that we provide an updated statement based upon the newer story


Outcome
Outcome California media

  • Blog and reader attention diminishes to zero mentions one week later

  • Little impact on restaurant sales


One year later
One Year Later California media

  • The customers seek their day in court

  • National media coverage, again

    • Reader support for the restaurant higher than before

  • Case settles


Takeaways

Takeaways California media

Having a pre-prepared statement alleviated undue stress and arguments

Having a media policy stopped employees from discussing the incident.

Media events are stressful, being prepared for one is job security


Managing media scrutiny in a crisis

Managing Media Scrutiny California mediain a Crisis

Joan Gladstone

Gladstone International, Inc.

www.gladstonepr.com


The Good News California mediaBusiness crises usually provide warning signs, giving you time to planWith good planning, you may avert or mitigate media coverage of the crisis


Three elements of crisis communications planning

Three elements of crisis communications planning* California media

The MediaThe MessageThe Messenger

*you’ll practice in this session



The media
The Media California media

  • Since you can influence, but not control

    • Traditional journalists: print and broadcast

    • Citizen journalists: bloggers, social media posts

  • Add YOUR media to the mix


Your media
YOUR Media California media

  • Website

  • Social media

  • Email

  • Phone calls

  • Internal media


Product recall case
Product Recall Case California media

  • Website

    • “Dark” crisis page

  • Consumer/dealer letter

  • CPSC news release review

  • Social media

    • YouTube “how to” video

      Tell it once, tell it fast


  • The message

    The Message California media


    Messages persuasive quotes

    Messages California media= Persuasive “Quotes”

    Emphasize

    Factual information

    Authoritative opinions

    Concise explanations

    Empathy statements (as needed)


    Anticipate media questions in a crisis
    Anticipate Media Questions in a Crisis California media

    • WHAThappened?

    • WHEN did you find out?

    • WHO was responsible?

    • WHERE did it happen?

    • WHY did you choose this course of action?

    • HOW will you resolve the situation?


    The messenger

    The Messenger California media


    Choose the right spokesperson s

    Choose the Right Spokesperson(s) California media

    Former BP CEO Tony Hayward

    “I’d like my life back”


    In a crisis good spokespeople

    In a crisis, good spokespeople California media

    Provide reassurance

    Offer critical facts/clear instructions

    Exhibit confidence

    Tip: Offer media training before a crisis hits


    Crisis PR professionals can help California media

    you balance many priorities

    and meet difficult communications

    challenges


    Next press conference role play

    Next: California mediaPress Conference Role-Play


    Objectives
    Objectives California media

    • Learn how to prepare for challenging media encounters

    • Experience the power of teamwork in managing a realistic press conference

    • Learn how to quickly develop media questions, messages, statements and brief spokespeople

    • Assess crisis communications strategies to apply to your organization


    Process
    Process California media

    • Team assignments

    • Team deliberation

    • Hold press conference

    • Debrief


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