Archive for the ‘Reputation Management’ Category

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

Restoring trust in An Garda Síochána and Tusla

February 13, 2017

Maurice McCabe

If things weren’t bad before, they became even worse for An Garda Síochána when it was revealed that an “incorrect” sexual abuse file was held against Maurice McCabe by Tusla, the family and child protection agency.

Everyone in the media is being extra careful to avoid stating the obvious conclusions as they risk getting into trouble legally. However, they have published the various statements by those parties involved and reported the facts as they came to light and they keep probing and probing for the truth in this sinister mess to reveal itself fully.

Incidents like this demonstrate once again why we need professional, intelligent journalism to bring us the truth as we can’t rely solely on social media to deliver this. Social media is fantastic as it gives us a powerful voice to demonstrate our dissatisfaction as loudly as we feel is appropriate.

We heard the statement by the Garda Commissioner, Nóirín O’Sullivan, the leader of the organisation who has claimed that she know nothing of the sexual abuse shenanigans with the whistleblower, Maurice McCabe.

Tusla in the meantime have issued their own statement claiming that their file against Maurice McCabe with the atrocious false claims against him were a ‘clerical error‘.

The comical little addition to the Tusla story was that their official apology to Maurice McCabe was sent to the wrong address!

The public are no fools and the generally held, unsurprising conclusion about this story is that senior members of the Gardaí who were unhappy with their whistle blowing colleague tried to smear his reputation in the worst possible way to punish him and protect themselves.

Even worse in this sorry saga, Tusla were obviously happy to play ball with their Garda acquaintances.

This stinks to high heaven and leaves all of us with two awful conclusions:

We cannot trust An Garda Síochána and we cannot trust Tusla.

When you consider the crucial role that both of these state bodies are paid to provide, ‘trust‘ is not a negotiable, nice to have attribute. Trust is everything.

What next?

To begin the long road of rebuilding trust in both organisations there can be no more fluffing about and decisive action and clear communication is required.

Our strong advice to those in charge would be to get ahead of the story, remove all doubts and demonstrate in no uncertain way how important regaining trust is.

This is the time for An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny or Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald to take decisive action and remove Nóirín O’Sullivan from her role and get the investigation started immediately.

This is the time for Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone to demand a 100% honest statement from the CEO of Tusla, Fred McBride as to what actually happened. If this is as farcical as the ‘clerical error’ statement, he should also be removed from his role.

The reputation of these two state organisations is not negotiable – start demonstrating it.

Greg Canty 

Fuzion provide Crisis PR services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland 

What we do when no one is looking…

October 17, 2016

Cafe Velo - Cork

Rob runs Café Velo, one of the loveliest breakfast and lunch cafes here in Cork, Ireland. When I’m there, it’s as if I’ve walked back in time to when I lived in the 15th arrondissement in Paris.

Pastries are arranged behind the counter glass with artistic flair. The servers are just the right blend of warmth and chatty and the tea is served in delicate china.

I ran into Rob unexpectedly this week downtown – in a rare moment when he was not in his cafe. We stopped and chatted a bit and I casually asked about the single large book I glimpsed in the white shopping bag he was holding. Rob smiled and told me the book was for an elderly customer.

The man, in his eighties, reported in to Velo every morning for his daily scone. Except for this week when he suddenly did not appear. Rob inquired and learned the customer had had a stroke. And was in the hospital.

The man has no family to speak of. So Rob went out of his way on his own time to buy a book he thought the man would enjoy during his recovery. Now Rob was off to the hospital to pay the man a visit.

I was touched by the story and asked if I could write about it. Rob looked at me a bit embarrassed, but said, “Sure, go for it.”

So here it is!

I want to contrast a man like Rob with another man.

Rob was simply doing a kind thing. Without, in our day of Social Media marketing, even posting about it. Doing a kind thing when no one, he thought, was looking.

Donald Trump and his lewd comments

Compare that with that now notorious video, of a certain person running for US president objectifying women when the women weren’t present. Then he steps out of the van and “politely greets” one of the same women he had just talked so horribly about.

What we do when we think no one is looking says a lot about our true character, doesn’t it?

Not all men are the same. Rob’s act when he thought no one was looking was kind. And it was more than caring for a regular paying customer, it was caring of a fellow human being on this planet.

The more we can strive to get past race, religion and gender, and consider that we’re all just people together on this planet, perhaps we can all be a little kinder too.

Thank you, Rob, for a lesson all of us can learn from.

Gina London - Fuzion PRGina London

Gina London, a former Emmy award winning CNN anchor is a Strategic Communications specialist with Fuzion

Body Shaming – Does the media go too far?

July 18, 2016

Body Shaming

Jennifer Aniston made the headlines this week when she blasted the media through a powerful essay on “body shaming” published by the Huffington Post.

In an open letter the former Friends star called out the media for constantly reporting on her figure and pregnancy status. The first line she wrote was “For the record I am not pregnant, what I am is fed up!” a powerful opening line that has made headlines around the world and has made people wake up and ask the question..

Does the media go too far?

A picture of Jennifer Aniston on holiday with her husband Justin Theroux, sporting what can only be described as a small rounded tummy was what prompted the tabloid story in the first place and lead to headlines all over the world which read ‘Finally Jens pregnancy dream comes true’ ‘Aniston Pregnant!’ ‘Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux are thrilled to be expecting first child together’ ‘Jennifer Aniston pregnant with miracle baby!

Jennifer Aniston

Picture source – Daily Mail

Jennifer Aniston is known for maintaining a dignified silence when it comes to rumours about herself, she is a very private person and very rarely responds to rumours or the media in general, however this time she has had enough and has decided to call out the media for body shaming women by claiming she is pregnant when she says herself she simply had a burger for lunch:

“I resent being made to feel “less than” because my body is changing and/or I had a burger for lunch and was photographed from a weird angle and therefore deemed one of two things: “pregnant” or “fat.”

The way I am portrayed by the media is simply a reflection of how we see and portray women in general, measured against some warped standard of beauty?

Is she pregnant? Is she eating too much? Has she let herself go? Is her marriage on the rocks because the camera detects some physical imperfection”

Since the publication of Aniston’s essay, females around the world have applauded her and backed her in every way, however on the flip side of this, a debate has since erupted as to whether Aniston has the right to privacy when she puts herself out there as a ‘celebrity’.

This is an ongoing debate where people argue that celebrities crave attention and put themselves out there in order to get press and publicity yet when they get any negative press they pull back and cry out that’s it’s an invasion of their privacy.

Fame stars

So where is the line? When does the media go too far?

This is a hard question to answer and each case is extremely different as you have celebrities like Jennifer Aniston who does not put herself out there for publicity, in fact does everything in her power to keep her personal life private and paid millions for security to make sure her recent wedding photos remained private, versus the fame hungry reality TV stars who are doing all they can to get in front of the camera and get publicity in any way they can.

So when should the media pull back?

Where is the line the media should not cross?

It’s a question you feel won’t ever be answered and will be debated for years to come, however I take my hat off to Jennifer Aniston for raising the issue especially when it comes to body shaming, as it seems these days’ women in the media are either too fat or too thin and simply can’t win!

Where do you stand on the issue?

Edel

Edel Cox is a Senior Account Manager with Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork

CSR – Starting from the ground up

February 1, 2016

Unless you were hiding under a rock in late January, you probably spotted details of a heart-warming story about how a “mystery” Cork bus driver helped a little old lady, making her day… and that of lots of people who heard the “heroic” tale.

In case you missed it, here’s a snapshot of the Facebook post that brought this little act of kindness to light…

Kind bus driver

Thanks to Clara’s post, news of this good deed spread around Cork and the entire country (and the world!) quickly… as you can see from the screengrab above, this number escalated and the post on Bus Éireann’s Facebook page has now been liked almost 100,000 times. The bus driver was quickly identified online by his sister and sister-in-law as William Harris.

Now I’m sure when William took just a minute out of his day to help his passenger it didn’t cross his mind again… after all this was just a genuine act of human kindness that I’d like to think any of us could have, and would have done.

Unfortunately though you don’t come across “William” on every bus journey, or train journey, or restaurant visit you make. But if I was “William’s” employer, I would certainly encourage all my staff to take a leaf out of his book – it’s nice to be nice, and it doesn’t cost a thing. A big message is that CSR doesn’t always require budgets!

Working in PR we see companies strive for Best Practice when it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), but really if you think about it, it starts at grassroots level and is so simple. Once the foundations are in place and people buy into the idea, everything will fall into place. I’ve worked with so many clients over the years who have implemented simple, yet very effective, CSR initiatives and activities that genuinely make the staff feel good but also make a real difference.

Remember to do the little things, for one day you will look back and realise they were the big things!

Alison O'Brien - FuzionAlison O’Brien

Alison O’Brien is a Senior Account Director with Fuzion PR & Marketing 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


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