Remember Janet Jackson's infamous wardrobe malfunction at the Superbowl? The NFL instituted a change to the half-time show after that incident - a change that you can use to your benefit in your media interviews...
When I ask most audiences to name a company that did a great job managing a crisis, most people (in Canada, anyway) say the name of one company: Maple Leaf Foods. I agree. They did a great job. But the real question is this...Why are there so few examples of excellent crisis management and so many instances of companies doing the wrong thing? The answer, in part, is human nature. That, and a lack of prep and planning.
Executives and entrepreneurs dedicate their lives to self improvement. They vie for the most prestigious schools. Many pursue post-graduate studies. They go on retreats, read books, listen to podcasts, attend conferences, do cleanses, meditate, do yoga, try intermittent fasting. They’re constantly on the lookout for a hack. An edge. Something that will make them smarter, more agile, better prepared, more successful.Read More
When your company has to contend with a crisis, one of your top jobs is to not make it worse. But there are so many ways to make it worse. Long delays in getting back to the media. A lack of empathy in your response. Insincere or missing apologies. Conflicting messages from multiple spokespeople. The list goes on. Part of any sound crisis management strategy is having a plan in place and training your executives so they know what to do if something goes wrong.
Bad things happen. They can happen in any sector or industry. For the most part, the public will not judge your organization on the circumstances of your crisis. They are much more likely to judge you on the way you handle it.
Apparently the new White House Communications Director doesn't understand how journalism works. Here's a quick primer:
- If you're talking to a reporter, that's an interview.
- Anything you say during an interview can be used by the reporter (unless you clarify and agree in advance that something is either 'background' or 'off the...
Just in case you're not completely sick of year-end or top 10 lists yet, here's a quick rundown of The Art of the Great Media Interview's top 10 posts of the past year based on numbers of web views and social sharing stats:Read More
Rob Ford and his brother Doug launched an ambitious media blitz last week to hit back at critics. But how effective was their strategy? I had a chance to chat with Elissa Freeman of Canada.com a few days ago to give her my two cents about Rob Ford's PR strategy (or lack thereof). Other PR folks who weighed in with their opinions were Jodi Echakowitz of Echo Communications and Diana Conconi.
You can read the article here. Thanks to Elissa and Canada.com for asking me to participate.Read More
Thanks to the six-month long Crackgate scandal and the ensuing media coverage Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is one of the most recognizable people in the world. Ford has become a running segment on The Daily Show. He's been ridiculed by David Letterman, Jay Leno, the Jimmies (Kimmel and Fallon), Howard Stern and Saturday Night Live. It seems like the whole world is talking about Toronto's mayor. But is there an objective way to see how big the Rob Ford story really is?Read More
Another day, another media circus around Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. CBC reporter Steven D'Souza just posted this Vine video of one of the Mayor's aides physically shoving reporters out of the way. As you can see from the video, this is pretty aggressive stuff. D'Souza said in a later tweet that the shoving was much worse inside the office area.Read More
Mayor Rob Ford is (once again) dominating news headlines after Toronto Police announced they have a copy of the infamous cellphone video from last May. But just how big is the Rob Ford story? To give you an idea, here's a Google Trends comparison of worldwide news search volumes over the past 30 days. To put the media attention around the Rob Ford story in context, I wanted to compare search volumes around other big names in the news this month...Read More
A little over five months. In the end, that's how much time Toronto Mayor was able to buy himself by stonewalling the media when faced with accusations of appearing in a video smoking a crack pipe.
Ford was swarmed relentlessly by the media for weeks last spring. At his home. At his office. At official events. His response was to ignore their questions. His most fulsome statement, made on May 24, 2013, one week after the allegations first surfaced, included the following quote: "Number one, there's no video, so that's all I can say. I can't comment on something that doesn't exist."Read More
It's been nearly a month since the deadly train disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, which claimed the lives of 47 people and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. Several days after the deadly derailment occurred, Edward Burkhardt, chairman of Montreal, Maine & Atlantic, the train company involved in the crash, held an impromptu press conference in the town. Burkhardt was widely criticized by communicators, the media and the public for what appeared to be a completely tone deaf and insensitive response to the unfolding crisis. So when the CBC interviewed Burkhardt on July 31, listeners might have assumed the railway executive would have undergone extensive media training and that he be able to demonstrate some level of sympathy, regret and a commitment to get to the bottom of what caused the disaster to help prevent something like this from happening in the future.Read More
As communications director to Anthony Weiner, Barbara Morgan was probably secretly awaiting some controversial gaffe by a public figure that would distract the media's attention from her serial sexting employer. Well, mission accomplished. The problem (for Morgan, at least) was that she, herself, was the source of the controversial distraction. While reacting to news that a former intern had written a disparaging article about Weiner and his mayoral campaign in the New York Daily News, Morgan launched into a hard-core, foul-mouthed tirade about the former intern while speaking to a reporter...Read More
For the second time in just over two years, Anthony Weiner, the former New York congressman and NYC mayoral hopeful, held a press conference apologizing for sending explicit photos to women over the Internet. In 2011, his indiscretions forced him to resign from Congress. This time, however, Weiner says he isn't going anywhere and will remain in the race for mayor of New York City. But will the voting public let Weiner (and his alter-ego, 'Carlos Danger') off the hook yet again? Using Twitter as a barometer to gauge the public's reaction to Weinergate-2, early indications suggest the serial sexter's luck may be running out...Read More
You've been ignoring their calls and interview requests for two days, but here they are, a throng of reporters, in person, demanding your company's side of the story.They're shouting questions at you, following you as you walk down the street. You can feel the giant TV camera lenses focused on you. The bright lights are searing your retinas. Your heart feels like it's in your throat. Your mind is racing as you search your memory banks for the right thing to do or say -- but to no avail. You feel like a caged animal. Your 'fight or flight' instinct kicks in. You need to make a split second decision:Read More
Who doesn't love a good barbecue? The sizzle and smoke-infused goodness of your favorite meat on the grill. The tantalizing texture and flavor of grilled peppers, onions and buttered asparagus. And, of course, the palpable anticipation of family and friends as they await a meal, expertly cooked under the open sky. Few summer activities can rival the awesomeness of a barbecue that goes according to plan. But you might be surprised at how often things don't go according to plan...
"We were wrong." That's the title of the apology that Kickstarter posted on its blog yesterday. It's short. It's to-the-point. And in a world where too many companies will bend over backwards to avoid saying the W-word, it's refreshing...
She was once the queen of greased up, fat-friendly, calorific Southern cooking on the Food Network. But after a bizarre few days that included an admission she once used horribly racist language and ended with her blowing off a previously scheduled, heavily promoted Today Show interview , Ms. Deen has been unceremoniously booted from her throne as food television royalty. There are a few lessons observers can take away from the way Ms. Deen and her representatives handled this mess...Read More
When it comes to media scrums, there's good news and bad news. The good news is that the vast majority of people will make it through their entire careers without finding themselves at the center of one of these stressful, impromptu press conferences. The bad news is that if you do find yourself suddenly surrounded by a circle of clamoring reporters during a crisis, you will have likely had very little time to prepare...Read More