Archive for the ‘Crisis PR’ Category

Career Guidance Counsellors should try #WINHAPPY

February 25, 2019

Left or right

It was reported last week on Valentine’s Day by the Higher Education Authority that a number of Irish third-level courses have up to 80% drop-out rates.

The fact that there is a worrying percentage of students failing to complete their course naturally raises questions of student decision-making, and the level of advice and guidance they may be accessing in making informed decisions on their futures. The issue of the quality of career guidance in schools is suggested as a potential significant factor in this process.

This brought me back to when I was choosing my subjects for my Leaving Cert.

I met with my guidance counsellor in school and told her proudly I was going to be a journalist. I was expecting a response of “what a creative and exciting career, young Miss Jordan- go for it. Do what makes you happy.

Instead I was met a condescending answer of needing to follow a more “structured” and “safe” career path. “Study science and business studies for your leaving Cert, Miss Jordan,” she told me, “make sure you can get a job after college, work isn’t’ supposed to be exciting Miss Jordan. It is a job.”

My 15 year old self left that office deflated and picked subjects that were “safe, reliable and structured” for my Leaving Certificate. I then followed the same path by choosing to study Economics and Politics for my degree.

I am very much a case study of someone who is right-brained. If my creative muscles are not stretched or challenged it actually affects my mental health.

You can imagine how much I loved studying Economics!!

I thought college was supposed to be the time when young minds are challenged to question how the world works, and figure out how to make it better. Economics does that for many, it did not do it for me. While I did not drop out of college, it was certainly a struggle at times.

When I finished my degree I decided to pursue my 15-year-old self’s dream.

I would be a reporter. And I was. I worked for local newspapers in the west before moving to the “Big Smoke” to work for national titles.

I then discovered just how creative PR and communications can be, and worked for a number of International Aid organisations.

The experience gave me the opportunity to report on the biggest international crises of the past five years.

I reported on Ebola, as it happened, from West Africa. I travelled to the Syrian border, Jordan and Turkey to report on the Syria and refugee crises.  

I met with girls who had been abducted by Boko Haram in Nigeria, and I travelled to famine-stricken and war-torn South Sudan to tell the stories of displaced families.

Ciara Jordan

I think my fifteen year old self would be proud. I’m not so sure about the career guidance counsellor. There was very little about my career that was “safe and structured”.

When I met Greg and Deirdre, the principals of Fuzion Communications, where I recently joined as Account Director, they told me about their #WinHappy philosophy.

Here is that philosophy in a nutshell: work should not be something you dread, it should be something you are proud of. When you go home on Friday, you should feel like you have done something that was challenging and made you happy. Work might be hard, and it won’t always be plain sailing but you have still done worthwhile work.

It was like Fuzion was talking to my 15 year old self!

Perhaps the #WinHappy philosophy should be shared with Guidance Counsellors nationwide?

Perhaps then we would see a decrease in drop-out figures, along with an unprecedented rise in job satisfaction.

Ciara Jordan - Fuzion CommunicationsCiara

Ciara Jordan is an Account Director with Fuzion Communications, a full service agency who provide Marketing, PR and Graphic Design Services from offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland.

Note re image above: Ciara, reporting from an observation and Interim Care Centre (OICC) in Sierra Leon, where children who have been affected by Ebola, or who have come into contact with somebody with Ebola were observed and cared for.

 

What should Bank of Ireland do with their sponsorship of the Ulster Rugby team?

April 12, 2018

Ulster Rugby

Today, Bank of Ireland issued a statement to the media concerning their sponsorship of Ulster Rugby.

They have said that it is ‘highly concerned‘ and is reviewing its partnership with the province following the Belfast rape trial.

In their statement the bank confirmed that it has conveyed concerns to Ulster CEO Shane Logan following the high-profile trial.

As a sponsor of Ulster Rugby, Bank of Ireland is highly concerned regarding the serious behaviour and conduct issues which have emerged as a result of the recent high profile trial,” read a Bank of Ireland statement.

The Bank has formally conveyed these concerns to the CEO of Ulster Rugby.

It is of paramount importance to Bank of Ireland that our sponsorship activity aligns with and supports our core values, and reflects positively on Bank of Ireland through association.

We understand that an internal review is underway. We expect this review to be robust, to fully address the issues raised, and that decisions will be taken – and policies and protocols be put in place – that fully address the issues that have arisen.

“Given that a review is underway, we won’t comment further on this issue at this time.

What do you think of what Bank of Ireland have done here?

Let’s look at what they have said first..

They are highly concerned regarding the serious behaviour and conduct issues..

At least this shows their position about what emerged during the court case – in truth, while “highly concerned” is strong language it is probably not going far enough considering what did emerge during the trial.

During the trial the court heard about a series of WhatsApp messages in which Mr Olding said “we are all top shaggers”

Mr Jackson wrote: “There was a lot of spit roasting last night.”

Olding told the WhatsApp group: “It was like a merry-go-round at a carnival.”

The Bank has formally conveyed these concerns to the CEO of Ulster Rugby..

They are letting us know in advance of any decision by Ulster Rugby their position with this issue.

It is of paramount importance to Bank of Ireland that our sponsorship activity aligns with and supports our core values..

The reason any brand sponsors anything is to associate with the brand values and gain something positive from this – the bank are saying clearly here that what has happened here does not align with the core values.

The sponsorship is of huge importance to the sport and if it was pulled, without doubt this would have an impact on many.

Given that a review is underway, we won’t comment further on this issue at this time..

By acknowledging the review by Ulster Rugby (they mention the robust process) they are sort of saying “lets wait and see and we’ll decide what to do next“.

OK…

Let’s be clear – the statement issued to the media was written for the public’s benefit – they want us, their target audience to know that they have core values, that they aren’t happy with what happened and how this may impact on them and that they have conveyed this to Ulster Rugby.

While the statement from them has come a little bit too late (they could be accused of reacting now because of the public backlash) it is clever to a point as it gives them advance “wiggle room” around any decision coming from Ulster Rugby.

If Ulster Rugby go light on the two rugby players Bank of Ireland can kill their sponsorship (potentially damaging to the sport) and they are off the hook. They would possibly have to consider the possible backlash of avid sporting fans.

If Ulster Rugby go heavy and fire the players then the bank have already made their position clear in advance and can count this as a “core values” win.

Our advice..

Their blatant disrespect for a young woman, as demonstrated through their deplorable messaging to each other,  cannot be tolerated under any circumstances.

People, young and old look up to their sports-stars and they must be held to very high standards.  We expect that of our heroes.

If Bank Of Ireland are really concerned about their brand (for legal reasons they may have to go easy) they should state categorically and with no uncertainty that they will pull their sponsorship if these players are allowed to play for the team again.

These men demonstrated without question the most horrible behaviour and disrespect to women and this should be called out plain and simple, for all our sake.

Bank of Ireland must really think of their brand and not wait in the wings to see what action Ulster Rugby will take.

Be brave Bank of Ireland..

Greg Canty 

 

Ryanair – Is the biggest crisis the attitude?

October 1, 2017

Ryanair - Always Getting Better

Early last week we were asked to comment by the publication Fora.ie about the whole Ryanair fiasco and what we thought of how they handled their crisis.

In a crisis situation we always advise –

  • Don’t hide
  • Quickly establish the facts
  • Be 100% truthful
  • Always provide a solution (or a least be honest about working hard to find one)
  • Don’t be afraid to say sorry (as long as you mean it)
  • Don’t be shy about telling people the good things you are doing

This can be achieved with a combination of holding statements, follow up statements, interviews and implementing any necessary changes.

In the case of Ryanair there wasn’t really a formal apology but Michael O’Leary was door stopped by reporters and did say it was “clearly a mess” but he went on to point out that it was just 2% of their passengers that had been affected. I think Michael is missing the point here about focussing on the good things!

On their website where they have a page dedicated to the cancelled flights they also remind people of this “2%” as well as listing the flights that have been cancelled. They also provide a ‘link’ to a page that directs people to an EU legislation document about entitlements to refunds and compensation.

The words “sorry” or “apologise” don’t appear anywhere!

Ryanair - Cancelled Flights

Understandably customers are irate – Ryanair are not helping the situation by drip feeding news about cancelled flights, their customer contact lines not being managed efficiently and are still overheating their situation by promoting flights at “€19.99”.

Furthermore, they have been denying that part of the problem is pilots leaving to take jobs in other airlines.

This scenario has got even worse with pilots going public with their gripes and painting a pretty awful picture about what life is like working for the ‘low care’ airline.

All of this comes at a time when the airline has been trying to refocus it’s brand with their “Always Getting Better” campaign.

A different scenario? 

So – would it have made a difference if Ryanair were upfront, issued a formal apology and showed genuine empathy with inconvenienced customers and were honest about solutions and assurances going forward?

The answer would be a big “Yes” but there is also a big “But” to contend with.

The effectiveness of this approach will depend on what people feel about the company when embarks on such a course –

  • Do people feel warmly towards the airline?
  • Do they believe that there is a genuine concern for customers?
  • Do they believe that staff at the airline are treated well?
  • Do they believe that this company does charitable work?
  • Do they believe there is a strong moral compass at the airline?
  • Have they communicated the great things (if such things exist) they have been doing to the general public and stakeholders?

Maybe realising this Michael felt there was no point pretending to care?

In a crisis a robust process will definitely help but the best preparation for a crisis is to be good and do good things and communicate this effectively – it is only then that people will be willing to listen to your apology and accept it.

Leopards don’t change their spots and not caring will bite you in the butt eventually.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Crisis Consultancy Services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Advertisements that pull at your heartstrings – are they only for Christmas?

May 18, 2017

McDonald's

This morning, like most other mornings people are continuing to find things to give out about.

I’m very much about voicing your opinion when necessary, but sometimes I feel it can all be a tad dramatic! This time one of the world’s favourite fast food joints, McDonald’s was under attack for their newest advertisement, which is now tactlessly titled the “McDonald’s Dead Dad Advert”, making it easier to find online for those interested.

What is the advert about?

The advert shows a boy who was clearly very young when his dad passed away and is intrigued to know more about him – what he was like, what sports he played etc.

His questions are his way of finding out how similar they might have been.

However, his mother depicts a person that he is nearly nothing alike. The boy seems disappointed but not upset at his findings but then just as he sits to enjoy his Fillet ’O’ Fish meal his mum tells him that what he has ordered was his dad’s favourite too and that he always got the tartare sauce on his chin.

The camera then cuts to the boy with tartare sauce on his chin, his mum smiling and looking out the window fondly remembering that moment she shared with her husband.

Watch advert here:

The commotion:

I’m not going to go into much detail on what people are saying about the advert, it’s pretty 50/50 but you can read up on this online for yourself. However, there were enough complaints for the advert to be banned.

According to The Journal.ieMcDonald’s said “t had not meant to upset anyone, but “wanted to highlight the role McDonald’s has played in our customers’ everyday lives — both in good and difficult times.”

McDonald’s said today it was withdrawing the ad “completely and permanently” and would “review our creative process to ensure this situation never occurs again.”

You can read the full article by clicking here:

My view:

So this brings me to my point, would this be more acceptable at Christmas time?

Let’s not forget EDEKA the German supermarket Christmas advert which shows a grandfather faking his own death which was also controversial but in a weird way somewhat humorous OR Lidl’s Christmas advert that showed a family celebrating the special time of the year but missing their Grandmother at the table.

You can view these videos by clicking on the links below:

The German EDEKA advert and the Lidl advert.

Both adverts show bereavement in a different way as does the McDonalds advertisement but they are all asking us to remember our loved ones that can’t be here with us anymore.

I personally think that the complaints are a complete overreaction. It was a well thought out advertisement showing a very personal side to what some families go through every day. It was upbeat, not at all morbid and I did not get the impressions that they were trying to say that McDonald’s fixes everything. I felt that they were showing how the brand is very much a part of nearly every family.

The boy’s newly discovered likeness to his father is a fond memory that his mother has, and is now something they can both share together – this connection could make their relationship as mother and son stronger.

The trip to McDonald’s could be one of many and a way for them to hang onto a shared memory – what is so bad about that?!

Not to get all morbid, but death becomes a part of everyone’s life at some stage and while right now you don’t need to experience it directly, if an advertisement can shine a light on the part of death that shows a family connection, nostalgia and shared memories then I’m all for it.

Of course, the ironic thing about it all is that McDonald’s as a brand is still grabbing the media and public’s attention.

So whether you like the ad or not they’ve created awareness for their brand while promoting a meal that probably isn’t on their most ordered list! It might not be how they wanted to receive this attention but it is still publicity at the end of the day!

Do you think McDonald’s were right to shut down their advert?

Arlene

Arlene Foy is an Account Manager with Fuzion Communications in our Dublin office. Fuzion provide Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Social Media Management services from our office in Dublin and Cork.

Why is there so much industrial unrest?

November 7, 2016

Teachers Strike in Ireland

Strikes, conflicts, confusion and chaos – they’ve become the norm in Ireland over the last 12 months.

Although, the economy is continuing to strengthen and our unemployment rate continues to fall, we as a country are in the midst of one of the most significant periods of turmoil and industrial action in recent history.

As I write the first Garda strike in the history of the state has been narrowly averted – that inferno’s been quelled, now back to the next blaze that rages with the ASTI who plan to return to the picket line in the coming days.

Gardaí, teachers, bus drivers, postal services, nurses, midwives, train drivers – those who we as a society depend most on are those who are pushing, or have been pushed so far as to feel they’ve no other choice but to down tools.

How did we get to this point? Could it have been avoided? 

Are any lessons being learned?

It’s too simplistic to define the industrial actions simply as pay disputes. There are a myriad of reasons why the disputes get that far – workers feeling disenfranchised, unequal, undervalued, employers remaining firm yet feeling threatened.

Feelings, attitudes, perceptions and actions are all based on communication, or a lack of. It underpins everything.

Internal communication and engagement is essential and the most effective way to prevent, identify and resolve discontent in the workplace. It makes a workforce feel engaged and valued.

Could the industrial actions have been avoided with more and better communication?

Just recently I wrapped up on a project with a major international organisation that began as one, altogether different and modest brief, but developed month-on-month to be something bigger and better with far greater and long-lasting benefits and effects for both the company and its staff.

Working with an external communications agency brought value to the corporation in terms of identifying and strengthening weaknesses with fresh and innovative plans and activations.

It was a really interesting project to work on particularly as it often required at short notice a change of plan and time lines in the context of the company’s matrix organisational structure.

Adaptability, reporting and communication was hugely important, not only on our behalf but within the organisation of what we were hoping to achieve, why and how we were going to do it.

The investment of time and resources on this communication was invaluable and while the project has drawn to an end, it’s legacy remains in the innovative approaches taken to internal communication and the platforms available for two-way communication, which will continue to be utilised by the organisation going forward.

Communication is not all about talking – listening can be all the more powerful and effective.

Aoibhinn Twomey - Fuzion PRAoibhinn Twomey

Aoibhinn Twomey is a Senior Account Director with Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design  who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Defamation and your reputation

August 11, 2015

Defamation

This week we had to deal with a potential defamation scenario for a client because of some of their online activity.

In this case they had received a solicitors letter accusing them of defamation because of something that they had posted in a personal blog post. This whole area is very interesting because it deals with the most valuable of assets,”your reputation” and it also had the element of online, which makes it even more intriguing.

Your Reputation

Your good reputation is one of the most precious assets that you have and it is in your interest to protect it at all costs. A good reputation is built up over time and it comes about from how you conduct all aspects of your business including the delivery of your products and services, how you treat your customers, your suppliers and your team and how you interact with the general public.

A good reputation will win you business, it will attract customers who will want to do business with you and it will give suppliers, banks, investors and landlords that necessary trust so they are happy to deal with you. If something does go wrong, as things often do then a good reputation will protect you because people will know that you are to be trusted and that whatever has happened you will sort it out.

A lot of the work we do with clients can be described as reputation management. We work hard to ensure that all the great things that our clients do are publicised and if potentially damaging incidents occur then we make sure that these situations are carefully managed so that any damage is limited.

A reputation often takes many years to build, but this can be destroyed easily in just moments by circumstances.

Defamation

Because your reputation is such a precious asset it is only right that their is legal protection available to you, should anyone ever defame you.

We have found that defamation can be quite a misunderstood term as many feel that it applies whenever someone ‘says something bad about you‘  which is certainly not the case.

A few elements must normally be in place for something to be deemed as ‘defamation’:

Precise information – You must know exactly what has been said or publicised about you and be able to demonstrate this.

Clearly identified – The parties claiming to be defamed must be clearly identified in the offending publication.

False statements – It can only be deemed as defamation if what has been said is largely untrue. You might not like what is being said about you but if it is true this is not defamation!

Publication – It is only deemed as defamation if the publication of the remarks was relatively wide. Being overheard by a few people would not be enough.

Defamation

Online dimension

The online environment makes this whole area even more complicated.

Does a post on a blog or on someone’s social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn carry as much weight as an article in a newspaper, some other publication or a comment on radio or TV? If I have 6,000 followers on twitter and someone else has 100 is a false statement by me a bigger misdemeanour?

It’s all a question of distribution and how many people may have seen or heard the false statements and then someone has the tricky job of assessing how much potential damage has been done by the false statement.

Another tricky dimension with the online environment is that if others make defamatory comments about someone on your ‘platform’ (blog/discussion board) then you could be liable as you did not remove the offending posts.

Defamation is a notoriously difficult area of law so even when all the elements are in place anyone considering a case in this area must have deep pockets and lots of time on their hands before considering legal action. (Check out some of the cases that have been tried in Ireland).

Our client

With the scenario that we had to deal with this week none of the critical elements were in place so our client had nothing to worry about and certainly nothing that would damage their own reputation – in fact it was quite the opposite.

In this case one of the people involved had written a blog post about the personal impact of an incident whereby they had been seriously wronged. They never once mentioned who the offending party were in their post and they were 100% truthful in what they had said.

Ironically the offending party ‘recognised’ themselves in the post and cried ‘foul’ and immediately ran to their solicitors who were happy to claim defamation, which it clearly was not. In this case the solicitor should have known better than to make such an incorrect and unprofessional accusation – is this a defamatory comment?

I’m always amused to see how it’s nearly always the ‘offenders’ who get most vigorous about protecting their rights!

Your good reputation is hard earned and it is a precious asset of huge value to your business. The best advice is to manage your reputation carefully so no one ever has a reason to say something bad about you.

If someone is making false, damaging accusations about you then you do have a legal mechanism but make sure that all the right elements are in place before going down this potentially costly and distracting road.

Your good reputation is everything.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Reputation Management and Crisis PR services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Dunnes Stores – Building your Reputation

April 2, 2015

Dunnes Stores Strike

It was a strange thing – I heard news of the Dunnes Stores strike first thing this morning on Newstalk and immediately without hearing any of the detail I was on the side of the workers.

I wondered why did I think that automatically?

The truth is I never hear any good things about the company.

I don’t hear about charities they support, I don’t hear about a focus on Irish products,  I don’t hear about how they work closely with suppliers, I don’t see them being helpful on social media, I don’t hear about how much they contribute to the Irish economy and I don’t hear about new jobs that have created.

Instead I remember the strikes of old and the trouble and controversy that the company has had down through the years.

This doesn’t mean for a second that they do none of these things – it just means I don’t know about the good things they do and as a result when I hear a negative about them I tend to believe it.

When we use the words ‘building your reputation‘ it is a powerful analogy because your reputation is something that is built over time.

It is a culmination of all of the things you do; how you look after suppliers, your team and most importantly your customers. It also includes how you interact with the general community – while we are all in business to make a profit it is vital that we respect our environment and those around us and genuinely try to be a good, responsible corporate citizen.

Besides doing good it is vital that this is communicated clearly and effectively so that people understand that this is a business that genuinely cares about something more than just making money.

When an ill wind blows it is vital that your reputation has been built carefully and robustly so that it can withstand it easily and that you will have the support of your customers, investors, the media and the general public in these circumstances.

There is a strike at Dunnes

If a good job was done here our first thought when we hear this should be “They are a great company who are really responsible and fair – there must be two sides to that story

Build your reputation … it will protect you

Greg Canty

Fuzion with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland offer a full Crisis PR Service. Deirdre Waldron, (Partner) heads up the Crisis PR team, which includes former journalists, media training and social media expertise.

 

 

 

No make-up selfies and the science behind getting your charity’s voice heard.

August 5, 2014

Bra Colour campaign - Breast Cancer

Last year Facebook fans were subjected to a strange bra colour status update craze that took the social networking world by storm. The campaign saw Facebook users inundated by intimate details of their friends’ bra colour, which, it transpired, was all about raising awareness for breast cancer.

No makeup selfies campain - Irish Cancer SocietyThen there was the hugely popular #nomakeup selfie in aid of the Irish Cancer Society, which saw thousands of women, including a number of well-known Irish celebrities, posting bare faced pictures of themselves on social networking sites, although often masked by very flattering filters! The clever campaign, which piggybacked on the burgeoning obsession among young women with the self-portrait, raised a staggering €500,000 for the charity.

It didn’t take long before these trends went viral, particularly when it was taken up by our small pool of Irish celebrities, and the stories started to appear in the media.

That’s one way to hit the headlines when you are looking to fund raise and raise awareness of your existence, but what can you do when you want the Government to sit up and listen to your charity’s most hard hitting issues?

Recently, here at Fuzion, we took on a very worthwhile campaign on behalf of a charity client whereby we facilitated a mass media and lobbying campaign for the return of Discretionary Medical Cards to children with Down syndrome.

The outcome of this was in the region of 15,300 people with an acute or life-long medical condition-among them hundreds of children with Down syndrome- who lost their Discretionary Medical Card, or GP visit card, after an eligibility review between 1 July 2011 and 31 May 2014, had them returned.

Communications Planning and Execution

Employing the services of a skilled Communications Expert is essential for any such lobbying campaign to prove a success. A communications expert is the manager, the gatekeeper between you and the media, the person who adeptly deals with the manifold complexities of any charity, such as members’ individual needs, stakeholders, ethics and rivalry for resources among branches.

Any skilled communications person knows, particularly since the advent of social media, that it is the court of public opinion which wins out on the day, so if you have a communications expert who can get the media on board with your cause and can consistently provide case studies, interviews, sound bites and hard hitting statements while running a concurrent digital and social media campaign you increase your chances of success exponentially.

Medical Cards returnedParents whose children were affected by such a cruel and senseless measure as having this vital lifeline snatched away from them, with allegedly little attempt at sensitivity from officials, were justifiably insensate with rage. In these crisis scenarios it can be difficult for parents to remain focussed on the global issue and to shout from the same script as they desperately fight for their individual child’s needs.

A communications expert is the cool head in the eye of the storm facilitating media coverage, updating social media sites, lobbying government officials and often most importantly regularly updating members and stakeholders on exactly how hard the charity is working to effect change to avoid dissension within the campaign ranks.

Another critical element that a communications expert can provide is solid media training for nominated spokespersons. If you have been granted a five minute slot on a prime time radio or television show to communicate the key messages of your lobbying campaign then you need to be more than prepared for any kind of curve-ball the presenter might throw your way, and they do so regularly.

A charity’s hard fought campaign against a piece of government legislation can be crushed by one sloppy and incoherent interview.

A typical response from well-intentioned Charity CEOs provides succinctly the reason why your spokespersons should receive professional training in how to speak to the media: “I talked to that reporter for over an hour and he didn’t mention anything about what the campaign is all about!

A knowledge and communications expert can bring awareness, greater understanding, cohesion and focus to charities which are member focussed and disparate in nature. A knowledge and communications expert can also help such an organisation to win the trust of stakeholders.

Organisations who win are those who communicate openly and often both internally and externally, have a clear and committed communications policy and regularly assess their own performance.

Following a series of recent high-profile scandals in the charity sector now, more than ever, it is essential that each and every charity has their communications strategy in order and that is overseen by a skilled professional.

Edel O’Connell is a Senior Account Manager with Fuzion PR working from the Dublin office.

Fuzion are a PR firm in Ireland with offices in Dublin and Cork

PR – Advice in a Crisis

March 21, 2014

BP - Crisis

We take out insurance policies to protect ourselves if anything goes wrong – being ready to deal with a potential crisis in your organisation might be just as important.

Every organisation needs to be aware of its vulnerabilities and have a plan in place to deal with a crisis situation.  With the advance of social media, where and how a crisis develops is ever more complex and the speed factor can make it more challenging than ever before.

No organisation can afford to hide in a crisis as it has the potential to damage relationships with clients and stakeholders, wreak havoc on an organisation’s reputation, seriously effect revenue and in the worst cases result in closure.

Planning in Advance

We work with our clients in advance of any potential crisis, planning such things as:-

  • Reactive Statements
  • Preparing spokespeople to deal with the media: Media Training
  • Monitoring traditional and online media
  • Devising an action plan that will be put into place should the potential crisis become a reality
  • Developing an Internal Communications Strategy to include communications to relevant stakeholders
  • Crisis Social Media Strategy

Crisis PR - Fuzion PR We have worked on a number of high-profile national and international crises and we have also worked on other situations where the crisis didn’t materialise due to strategic planning, internal communications and careful management.

Sometimes you do need some luck on your side but you find if you do the right things you end up being lucky!

PR Advice

If there is a potential crisis in your organisation here is some practical advice:

  • Involve your PR company as quickly as possible – let them deal with the media, you have a crisis to sort out!
  • Be frank and open with the PR company –  trust them.
  • Should a crisis involve potential litigation, involve a legal expert to ensure that any PR messages/statements will not compromise any possible legal proceedings.
  • Always keep the lines of communication open between you and your PR agency – if something new arises the agency should be one of the first to know in order to anticipate media queries.
  • Ensure that all members of the organisation are aware of any public statements and are briefed as to the contents, so that that the message is uniform at all times.
  • Where possible a staff FAQ document should be distributed to equip the team on how to handle any enquiries from the general public; this will also help with Internal Comms and staff morale
  • At no point should any member of the organisation issue the words, “no comment”- it speaks volumes on what you may or may not be trying to hide!!
  • Always refer any press queries back to your PR company who can act as your “gatekeeper” and allow them to manage communications with press.
  • Agree a nominated spokesperson who will be quoted in all statements, and is in effect ‘the human face’ behind the crisis. As much as possible this needs to be the MD or CEO of the company.
  • The PR company should be ‘on call’ at all times during the initial crisis stage.
  • Immediately establish a news monitoring service to catch all stories relating to the incident
  • Monitor on-line mentions, comments, opinions and with your PR company agree a strategy around social media engagement during a crisis.

Our last big piece of advice is to always try to communicate the positive things about the organisation even during the crisis. Do this while the media are interested in your story – it’s too late after!

I sincerely hope you never find you or your organisation in a crisis situation but if you do I hope you find this advice useful.

Deirdre Waldron - Fuzion PRDeirdre Waldron

Fuzion with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland offer a full Crisis PR Service. Deirdre Waldron, (Partner) heads up the Crisis PR team, which includes former journalists, media training and social media expertise.

Storming the Recession?

September 13, 2011
Perfect Storm

Navigating the Storm

At the beginning of 2009 I wrote this article for a few publications – this was written when “panic” was at a peak and we were all scrambling and desperately trying to find solid ground as the earth was crumbling under our feet:

Storming the Recession (Feb 2009)

Right now the country is gripped not only by Recession, but by Depression. The fear is absolutely tangible with everyone, as we face the storm that is raging all around us.

The money men are telling us to chase our debtors aggressively, delay our creditors as much as possible and cut back on spending.  That’s fine if we all existed in isolation of each other but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this approach will have everything grinding to a halt in a very short space of time.

Instead of this negative approach how about, rather that defence, think attack and work towards Storming the Recession?

Let’s work hard – carefully but positively; let’s deliver great service to our customers instead of just good service and let’s keep our eyes wide open to spot the unique opportunities that will present themselves in this unique climate – can we allow ourselves to keep an open mind to the many opportunities that are out there?

Your approach to Marketing Activity will be a key factor.

If you cut back on your Marketing activity where will this leave your business? What impact will it have on volume?  Will you fall behind your competitors, lose your footing in the marketplace and could it damage your business in the long term?

Also, if your competitors pull back from their activities does this present you with an opportunity?

Without a doubt business will not come as easy as it has in the recent past.  You will need to be more pro-active than before, as your competitors could well be chasing your customers more aggressively than ever before.  Can your business really afford to hide at the moment?

Accepting that the financial health of business may have changed you should re-evaluate your activities and seek better value from your Budget:

  • Advertising – Evaluate effectiveness & negotiate (never has there been a better time to bargain!)
  • Bring PR into the mix – Achieve valuable editorial
  • Promotions – Get your message out there through prize giveaways, often this can be achieved with no media cost
  • Direct Marketing – Communicate directly to your target audience
  • Customer Database – Ensure your database methods are in order so you can communicate economically and build customer loyalty through communicating information and offers
  • Cross Selling – Increase business with customers by attracting them to other services
  • Review – Make sure you are recording the results of your campaigns
  • Team Review – All your staff should fully understand your objectives
  • Web Optimisation – Ensure that your website is in order and that your prospective customers can find it easily.
  • Business Network – Increase your network of contacts proactively by joining and participating in business networks such as the Chamber

Storming the Recession is a positive strategy to deal with the current climate.

By delivering great service, operating as efficiently as possible, and by not hiding in the marketplace, you will be in a position to take advantage of the unique opportunities that will present themselves during this period and ride out this storm.

Have you stormed the recession?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

p.s. with the benefit of hindsight I would change none of the advice given except that Social Media has become huge in this time and I would add the full embracing of these free platforms this to the mix.


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