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How to Tell Customers Bad News

When managing a crisis, communication skills are often contradicted by the human instinct to put the best light on bad news. Specifically, there are three natural, human reactions that frequently guide how companies and organizations deliver bad news to customers. The first is that, instead of speaking in plain language, they will try to sugarcoat […]

Trader Joe’s Calm Rebuttal

In July, Trader Joe’s found itself in a position familiar to corporate America in recent months – a viral social media campaign leveled serious accusations against the brand and demanded immediate action. In Trader Joe’s case, a viral petition called for the grocery chain to “remove racist branding and packaging from its stores,” referencing Trader […]

What Companies Can Learn From Nike

In the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many others at the hands of police, many companies that previously shied away from incorporating social issues like the Black Lives Matter movement into their branding and marketing have embraced them to make their positions on these seismic matters clear to consumers. However, […]

Biden’s Non-Apology

Earlier this year, Joe Biden reached out to Anita Hill, the young law professor who famously testified that then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her. Biden presided over Thomas’s confirmation hearings, during which Hill was mocked, degraded, and humiliated. During the phone call, Biden expressed “regret for what she endured” and “admiration for everything she has done to change the culture around sexual harassment in this country.” Biden, however, failed to directly apologize for his role in how she was treated, leaving Hill “deeply unsatisfied.”

Just How Important Are CSR Activities for Companies in Crisis?

One things clients experiencing negative media attention often ask us is, what kind of CSR should we be doing to mitigate this bad publicity? Before answering that question, it is worthwhile to explore whether or not CSR actually does help limit public blowback. Corporate social responsibility, also known as CSR, while difficult to define, can be described as a form of private business self-regulation that allows a company to take responsibility for the social and/or environmental impacts of its business.

Looking for a Public Relations Firm? Hire an Advocate, Not a Publicist

One valuable asset public relations consultants can bring is their own credibility with reporters. Credibility with journalists is not easily gained, and it’s earned through honesty and transparency with reporters over sustained periods of time. But, credibility doesn’t necessarily equate to the media reporting what you want. That’s why you always want to make sure […]

Crisis Management: Revisiting Rolling Stone’s Failures

It’s been three years since Rolling Stone published its infamous and defamatory report about rape allegations at the University of Virginia, but it’s important to revisit the most piercing analysis of what the magazine did wrong. Rolling Stone’s investigation: ‘a failure that was avoidable,’ a report co-authored by the dean of the Columbia School of […]

Public Relations Basics: Working With Reporters

For the uninitiated, the prospect of talking with a reporter can be daunting. Even trade reporters in esoteric industries can materially influence a company’s brand or reputation. With a few basic, public relations guidelines, however, you can greatly increase the odds that your work with a reporter will be a positive contribution to your cause. Indeed, these are important to follow no matter your public relations experience.

Taking Public Relations to the Next Level: The Dark Arts

Maybe it’s because we come from Washington, D.C. – the home of opposition research – but our experience is that too few companies execute public relations efforts targeting their competition or other adversaries. So-called oppo campaigns aren’t just for litigation. If you know of competitors’ actual or potential vulnerabilities in which their stakeholders might be interested, you’re competing with one hand behind your back if you don’t leverage them. Here are some public relations tips on how to do just that, as well as some caveats.

Tech PR: No-Fear Crisis Communications

For startup and high-growth companies, learning that a reporter is sniffing around and asking hard questions can be bone-chilling. Perhaps you have heard from investors that a reporter has called. Perhaps the reporter messaged employees on LinkedIn. Typically, the client instinct in these instances is to go fetal and speculate about worst-case scenarios. We’ve seen […]