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Corporate Crisis Communication Spring 201 4. Georgetown University Faculty Judith Muhlberg & Bruce Harrison Class #11 March 27, 2014. GM in the News … Again. http://www.clickondetroit.com/money/automotive/gm-ceo-mary-barra-releases-series-of-videos-answering-customers-questions/25172048.

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Corporate Crisis Communication Spring 201 4

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Corporate Crisis Communication Spring 2014

Georgetown University Faculty

Judith Muhlberg & Bruce Harrison

Class #11

March 27, 2014

Georgetown University Corporate Crisis Communication


GM in the News … Again

  • http://www.clickondetroit.com/money/automotive/gm-ceo-mary-barra-releases-series-of-videos-answering-customers-questions/25172048

Georgetown University Corporate Crisis Communication


GM: CEO as Spokesperson

  • Content

    • 1. Information

    • 2. Apology

    • 3. Resolve

  • Style/Tone

    • 1. Employee communication, first

    • 2. EQ

    • 3. Confidence

  • Contexts

    • 1. Woman, mom

    • 2. There when it happened

    • 3. Toyota case

Georgetown University Corporate Crisis Communication


‘Two Crises’ AssignmentPaper Due April 10

  • Choose: Two crises from ‘Damage Control’ text, or class discussions or guest lecturers.

  • Analyze: Cause, risk, stakeholders; BAO targets, communication strategies, climax or turning point, reputation outcome, recovery. Reference to our ANATOMY OF CRISIS.

  • Write, Chart: Prepare a brief 3-pagepaper and a chart (table or other graphic) that makes your comparison and analysis easy to grasp.

Georgetown University Corporate Crisis Communication


Teams for Final Presentation – May 8

# 1 Boeing

Brooke Cockrell

Tatiana Daniel

Bhumika Shah

Erin Wiegert

ElleniAlmandrez

#2 Microsoft

Sara Schuttloffel

Yogita Malik

Kaitlin Luna

Andrea Garner

Hayley Kropog

Georgetown University - Muhlberg/Harrison Spring 2012


Teams for Final Presentation – May 8

#3 Honeywell

Katie Spencer

Emily Morin

Melissa Wertz

Emma Waldeman

Catie Weckenman

#4 JP Morgan

Ritiksha Lobo

Ana Maria Garzon

Slgi Choi

Olivia Peterson

Sarah Heffern

Georgetown University - Muhlberg/Harrison Spring 2012


Teams for Final Presentation – May 8

#5 Walmart

OmogboyindeOnijala

Jill Westeyn

Annie Lorenzana

Krystyna Barnard

Austin Hansen

Georgetown University - Muhlberg/Harrison Spring 2012


The Final Presentation

Teams will:

  • Prepare and deliver to the class and faculty a 10-minute slide (Power Point) presentation

  • Describing cause, risk, stakeholders, SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) and other implications, and

  • Recommending to the “audience” (fellow class members and instructors, assumed to be representatives of the company or industry) a clear, focused and robust crisis communications action plan—with specifics on engaging the essential elements of crisis communications covered in this course.

  • This plan/presentation is worth 25 points.

Georgetown University Corporate Crisis Communication


Our Class Definition of Crisis

A Corporate Crisis is an event or condition that disrupts or threatens the daily operations, reputation, sustainability, and alters stakeholder perception and trust.

Georgetown University Corporate Crisis Communication


Crisis Basics: “Topic A Bad News and the CCO

“When one negative situation is topic ‘A’ bad news at

The top of the organization.”

Steve Harris, former CCO of General Motors

Georgetown University Corporate Crisis Communication


You are the CCO, when something happens…

  • It stops you in your tracks

  • It changes what you were doing

  • It makes other things less relevant

  • It’s something you can’t fully and immediately understand

  • It’s something you must immediately handle

  • It disrupts your routine and plans, and everyone’s in the C-suite

  • It puts at risk the trust of your stakeholders

  • It is something you need help with

Georgetown University Corporate Crisis Communication


Crisis as a ‘strategic inflection point’

Factors contributing to crisis fall within 2 categories:

Those beyond the reasonable control of the enterprise or anyone in it:

  • Market conditions

  • Content and tone of a negative (perhaps totally inaccurate or rigged) YouTube video gone viral

    Controllable factors:

  • Consumer discontent that was not picked up or engaged.

Georgetown University Corporate Crisis Communication


Andrew Grove’s Definition of Inflection Point

“An inflection point, occurs when the old strategic picture dissolves and gives way to the new, allowing the business to ascend to new heights. However, if you don’t navigate your way through an inflection point, you go through a peak and after the peak the business declines…It is a point where the curve has subtly but profoundly changed, never to change back again.”

Georgetown University Corporate Crisis Communication


Augustine’s Stages of a Crisis

Augustine

Key ideas

Avoiding the crisis

Preparing to manage

Recognizing the crisis

Containing the crisis

Resolving the crisis

Profiting from the crisis

Norman R. Augustine, Former CEO, Martin Marietta, Harvard Business Review on Crisis Management, 2000

What can’t be avoided must be hedged

Trailer parks cause tornadoes

Noah built the ark early

Perception causes crisis

The one aspect of business in which a CEO’s influence is critical is crisis management.

Georgetown University - Muhlberg/Harrison Spring 2012


Georgetown University Corporate Crisis Communication


CCO Purpose: Enable Effective Corporate Crisis Management

  • Three strengths of corporate communication:

    • Mastery of information flow

    • Intimacy and influence within the company’s culture

    • Active interaction with stakeholders and media

Georgetown University Corporate Crisis Communication


Corporate Risk Readiness

  • Crisis management planning

    • Oriented to risk factors (see 10k), mission, governance…

    • C-suite, operations, facilities, sales…

  • Crisis communication planning

    • Integrated with crisis management

Georgetown University Crisis Communications


Crisis Management Planv. Crisis Communication Plan

Corporate Crisis Communication Georgetown University

CRISIS MANAGEMENT Plan is prepared pre-crisis to guide senior and middle management in crisis/disaster response

  • Each operational unit will have its own crisis response/disaster plan

  • Steps the company will take in response to a crisis/disaster situation

  • Management and staff responsibilities

  • Reporting systems

CRISIS COMMUNICATION Plan is prepared by CCO to coordinate with corporate management in engaging with media and stakeholders

  • When the crisis occurs, the CCO and team go into a management mode, guided by a standby crisis communication checklist.


Georgetown University Crisis Communications


CCO Role: Pre-Crisis Planning

Focus on your 3 vital accountabilities

Think through your most likely crisis situations

Conduct pre-crisis intelligence

Prepare crisis communication guidelines

Contribute communication expertise to the company’s crisis MANAGEMENT plan

Organize standby crisis-communication team, designate standby central work station

Georgetown University - Muhlberg/Harrison Spring 2012


Exercise: Crisis Questions: A CCO Checklist

Advanced Planning

Georgetown University Corporate Crisis Communication


Break out into your Teams

  • Brainstorm the list of questions you need to ask in the first critical moments of a crisis. What? So what? Now what?

  • List your questions on the white boards

  • Appoint a spokesperson to share your team’s list with the class

  • We will re-group in 30 minutes for the report-outs

Georgetown University Corporate Crisis Communication


In event of crisis: The CCO’s Entry

  • Ask questions What’s it all about? Who? When? Where? How? Why? Think like a reporter:

  • CRITICAL QUESTION: Is there death, danger? Think context, content, tone of communication

  • Understand level…a crisis or something less…a nuisance? Think your role in managing either.

  • Activate your communications team Think ‘FACE’

  • Activate the communication center. Think 24/7

Georgetown University - Muhlberg/Harrison Spring 2012


Crisis Communication: FACE Formula

FastThink: immediate mobilization of communicators, in crisis communication center; try for initial response within the first hour; if there’s a scene, send someone there NOW.

AccurateThink: speed is good, accuracy is better; hold what we’re not sure of; we can always follow up; triple check every fact.

Consistent – and CaringThink: If human harm, public safety is involved, that’s the #1 priority. Show we care. Tone of our communication; concern/sympathy for any harm, victims.

Engagement Think: we will use every effective channel to listen, understand and deliver what stakeholders need

Fast, Accurate, Consistent and Caring Engagement

WITH STAKEHOLDERS

Georgetown University - Muhlberg/Harrison Spring 2012


Crisis MANAGEMENT Team

Georgetown University - Muhlberg/Harrison Spring 2012

Think through communication aspects

  • Who’s on team? Why is each chosen? Why is CCO at the table?

  • Does/should it include the CEO?

    • DISCUSS: Pros & Cons of CEO involved; if not the CEO, how do we get the CEO’s support, engagement, communication?


Crisis Management Plan

Georgetown University - Muhlberg/Harrison Spring 2012

What is it? What’s in it? Who writes it?

What facts or fears justify the effort?

Who gets a copy? What makes it special to everybody who gets a copy?

Do you think the Plan is likely to be used in an actual “crisis” event, or not? Why?

How would you increase the use/benefit?


Plan Content…Questions

Georgetown University - Muhlberg/Harrison Spring 2012

Steps the company will take in response to a crisis

Specific staff responsibilities

Reporting systems

Stakeholder data

Communication channels

Can a plan prepare for every situation?

What staff issues can be anticipated?

Media issues, key channels?

How would you plan for stakeholder engagement?


Spokesperson

Georgetown University - Muhlberg/Harrison Spring 2012

  • Who are the candidates?

  • Can there be more than one spokesperson? Explain.

  • How do you assure ‘one voice’?

  • When is it essential for the CEO to do it?

  • If there is a crisis site, who goes there?

    Talk about legal, other risks of a crisis spokesperson…how to deal with it


What the media (and your stakeholders) want to know

  • What happened?

  • Were there any deaths or injuries?

  • What is the extent of the damage?

  • Is there danger of future injuries or damage?

  • Why did it happen?

  • Who or what is responsible?

  • What is being done about it

  • When will it be over?

  • Has it happened before?

  • Were there any warning signs of the problem?

    Source: Crisis Communications, Kathleen Fearn -Banks

Georgetown University - Muhlberg/Harrison Spring 2012


Special focus on internal stakeholders

Whenever possible, tell employees first

Use all channels to ensure employees understand the corporate position – they are your strongest ambassadors

If there is action the employees should take to mitigate the crisis, tell them

Advise employees to direct media questions to the designated spokesmen – and help them understand why a consistent, well-informed message is important

Listen to learn what they KNOW, how they FEEL

Employee perceptions can

make or break communication/trust

“WE” attitude is the strongest crisis message platform

Georgetown University - Muhlberg/Harrison Spring 2012


One CCO’s take-aways*

Media is key, and must be a priority consideration

Government regulators and unions should be early targets of information

Customers, suppliers and community leaders can serve as advocates/supporters of the company if they are equipped with the right messages

3rd party experts can be the most effective “knights in shining armor”; they validate our spokespeople

Always tell the truth – and if you don’t know the answer, admit it, but go ahead and share the process you will use to find the answer

*(A CCO Who Has Been in the Hot Seat: Nicholas Ashooh, AIG, Alcoa)

Georgetown University - Muhlberg/Harrison Spring 2012


Best achievable outcomes

Damage is controlled, risk is reduced

Trust (in the company and brand) is protected

Leadership is visible, on ‘scene’ if there is one

Focus is on stakeholders, their perceptions

The ‘deal’ with stakeholders is preserved

Every stage of the crisis is managed, constantly, consistently; FACE is forefront

Debriefings are constant, lessons are learned for future

Crisis communication was part of the answer

Georgetown University - Muhlberg/Harrison Spring 2012


CCO ‘New Model’ Leadership: Pre-Crisis Initiative

  • Adopt crisis prevention as ongoing vigilance to assure enterprise reach of financial, social, safety, health, and civic responsibility goals.

  • Tie your effort to the realities defined by the company’s SEC 10-K risk list.

  • Be proactive with others in the C-suite to stay aware of any risk elevation.

  • Build communication influence: create your own stakeholder perception intelligence systems to plug into the stakeholder systems for early alert: red flags that could grow into crisis situations.

  • Initiate regular, calm conversations with C-suite colleagues to assure top-level effort to prevent rumblings from reaching unplanned disruption and crisis levels.

  • Be prepared: lead the readiness, appoint people in the communication staff, and prepare online and operational facilities for immediate response to a real crisis.

Georgetown University Corporate Crisis Communication


Case Studies: Damage Control Applied

April 3: Your Opportunity to Brief on Classic Case Studies with Eric Dezenhall – ‘Damage Control’ Author

Bonus-Points Assignment

Georgetown University Corporate Crisis Communication


Georgetown University Corporate Crisis Communication


Bonus-Points Exercise

  • Team 1Chapter 11: Wendy’s Chili

  • Team 2Chapter 13: Exxon Valdez

  • Team 3Chapter 13: Pepsi Syringes

  • Team 4Chapter 15: TYCO

  • Team 5Chapter 16: Browning-Ferris Industries

  • Each team presents 30-minute review.

  • Author Eric Dezenhall will give you his feedback.

  • Every team member receives 2 bonus points toward her final grade in this course.

Georgetown University Corporate Crisis Communication


Briefing Format

A common process

Georgetown University Corporate Crisis Communication


You will analyze communication factors in case studies with these guides: (adapted from Dezenhall)

  • Who is the ‘victim’ and who is the ‘villain’?

  • Is the company taking the initiative? Is it on offense?

  • Is the company trying to change the focus? Change the debate? Rally its base?

  • What is the company’s main message? Or defense?

  • Is the company wrapping its argument in a principle? Security, Safety, Privacy, Choice, Justice, Economy…?

  • Has the company apologized? If so, did that help?

  • What will be the outcome? Will there be life after the crisis? Will the torpedoed ship survive?

  • Communication recommendations? What do you suggest for the company in the post-climax period?

Georgetown University Corporate Crisis Communication


Your Case

  • Victims:

  • Villain(s):

  • Event or Condition:

Georgetown University Corporate Crisis Communication


  • Disruption from the Event:

  • Threats to sustainability, reputation and stakeholder support:

Georgetown University Corporate Crisis Communication


  • Impact on the Company – Short and Long-term:

Georgetown University Corporate Crisis Communication


Additional Questions to Answer

  • Was the company taking the initiative? Was it on offense?

  • Was the company trying to change the focus? Change the debate? Rally its base?

  • What was the company’s main message? Or defense?

  • Did the company wrap its argument in a principle? Security, Safety, Privacy, Choice, Justice, Economy…?

  • Did the company apologize? If so, did it help?

  • What was the outcome? Was there life after the crisis? Did the torpedoed ship survive?

  • If you were CCO of JNJ in 1982, what would you have done differently?

  • If the Tylenol crisis happened in 2013, what would have impacted your CCO response today?

  • Could this positive outcome exist today? Would government regulators and the media allow J&J to go “unpunished?”

  • What are the lessons learned?

Georgetown University Corporate Crisis Communication


Additional Questions to Answer

  • If you were CCO this company when the crisis occurred, what would you have done differently?

  • If this crisis happened today, what factors would have impacted your CCO response in 2014?

  • What are the lessons learned?

Georgetown University Corporate Crisis Communication


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