Every company, organization, and nonprofit, is vulnerable to a crisis. Unfortunately, most are not prepared for a crisis. Too many people heading organizations and in senior management are in denial that they will ever have a crisis. Plans must be in place for five generic crises as well as for potential crises specific to a business, industry or service.
The five generic crises are terrorism (foreign and eco); acts of Mother Nature including earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and tornados; sexual harassment and discrimination; violence in the workplace; and environmental pollution. The book tells how to organize a crisis team and develop a plan; 10 steps to take to resolve and close a crisis; and how to manage communications in a crisis. It also stresses the importance of customer service in helping prevent crises and tells the reader how to fight back and win in situations when a company, organization, institution or individual has been wronged or maligned.
Communicating In A Crisis is recommended for all CEOs, public relations practitioners, lawyers, and heads of departments including human resources, sales, investor relations, manufacturing and security.
Rene A. Henry
Following are just a few examples of business and industries that need this book and why:
Farm Cooperatives, Growers, Meat-Fish-Poultry Packers, Supermarkets and Restaurants --
Food safety is a very serious problem. Recalls of E. coli contaminated meat and tainted produce continue to scare the American public. First it was E. coli in green onions and spinach, then lettuce and strawberries, and then Salmonella too-quickly blamed in tomatoes. Now Mexican jalapeños. Millions of pounds of E. coli beef and chicken are recalled every year. The media spreads the word about Mad Cow disease, brucellosis in cattle and MRSA in pigs. All of this undermines the confidence that consumers have in buying and consuming food from American agri-business, growers, ranchers, packers, producers, marketers of all food products and even restaurants.
Colleges and Universities --
Name any crisis and chances are it has happened or will happen on a college campus. Colleges fail to property communicate during a crisis and instead of responding proactively, all too often, because of the institutional culture in higher education, there is silence, a “no comment” response, or the media is stonewalled. Separate crisis plans are needed for different departments and schools of the university, including medical, agriculture, veterinary, and especially the athletic department.
Attorneys and Law Firms --
How lawyers communicate to the media and public and work with public relations consultants in crisis situations is critical for the image, reputation and even survival of a company or their client. Too often attorneys, because they usually have no understanding of the role of public relations in a crisis, look to legal solutions rather than winning in the court of public opinion. The book, which should be in every law library, cites cases where attorneys have advised clients to keep silent, stonewall the media, or say “no comment” and exacerbate a client. The book will help lawyers work better with public relations practitioners in a crisis.
Entertainment and Sports --
A celebrity, entertainment personality or star athlete is always more vulnerable in a crisis situation than the average person. A media circus can be virtually guaranteed. All too often, those closest to and responsible for the image of a public figure are either not prepared or are in denial that there ever will be a crisis. Professional sports teams, which also are subject to the five generic crises, and agents all should read the book.
Hospitals, Physicians, Dentists, Pharmacists and all Healthcare Facilities --
Unexplained deaths, outbreaks of infectious bacteria, a baby kidnapped from a nursery, surgical errors, a wrong prescription, a patient dies in ER waiting for care, and even murder, are only a few things needed to set a crisis team in action at a hospital, nursing home or healthcare facility. Doctors need to be concerned about their malpractice insurance and reputation and image to the public and their patients. Any facility also must be prepared to deal with the media when a well known celebrity is a patient.
Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Industry --
Of all businesses and industries, travel, tourism and hospitality every year exemplifies the very best and worst ways to manage and communicate in crises as well as the best and worst of customer service. Airlines lead the list and cruise lines are following as a close second. Hotels can have fires, food poisoning, fires, guests attacked or their rooms robbed. Tour operators need to be concerned. The industry also is subject to all five generic crises.
Downtown Clubs, Country Clubs and Health Clubs and Spas --
A member dies working out. Even worse, the death happens under the guidance of a trainer. There is a staph infection in the locker room. A piece of exercise equipment breaks, seriously injuring a member. A score of people have food poisoning following a banquet. If the club has a hotel, it has the same problems as any hotel. No one is designated as the official spokesperson to speak to the media in a crisis. The club also is subject to all five generic crises.