How do you keep communicating when the crisis is never-ending?

Coronavirus - Crisis Communications

I have seen some brilliant emails and posts in the last few days – from my local Indian restaurant, Haweli, to Sainsbury’s, to other small business owners like me.  It doesn’t matter if you’re big or small; clear, regular and relevant communications are critical.

As we all adjust to the new “normal” personally and “business as usual” professionally, it occurred to me that there are some really simple tips for communicating in a crisis.

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“Be Kind” – Yorkshire Tea’s reputation management masterclass

Rishi Sunak "Quick Budget prep break making tea for the team. Nothing like a good Yorkshire brew."

Take one senior politician, one well-known and much-loved brand, and add social media. Stir together and what do you get?

That’s right, the perfect recipe for a Twitter storm.

That’s exactly what happened to Yorkshire Tea this weekend when Rishi Sunak MP, the Conservative MP for Richmond (in North Yorkshire as it happens) shared an image of himself making a cup of tea, standing next to a giant bag of the famous Yorkshire brew.

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Baftas, Bags and B Corp

Bafta is axing celebrity goody bags from this weekend’s ceremony. Opting instead for gifting wallets made from recycled plastics.

Bafta is axing celebrity goody bags from this weekend’s ceremony. Opting instead for gifting wallets made from recycled plastics. It’s a timely plot twist to the 2020 award season. The buzz of a new bag – the colour, the look on the arm, the cramming of essentials into one place, is the ultimate pleasure purchase. But against heightened ethical and environmental consumer standards, is it possible for a Tote to do greater good?

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That Newsnight Interview – Think; Stop; Look and Listen; Wait; Look and Listen again; Arrive Alive

Photo by Matthew Feeney

Prince Andrew would have done well to follow the Green Cross Code as he stepped into the path of the oncoming Newsnight interview. There has since been much scrutiny of the Royal’s press advisors and why they failed to follow the basics when it comes to media handling in a global reputational storm.

Taking time to stop, look and listen to external communications advisors during a crisis is critical to long term reputation. Like a friendly Green Man, people like us, reiterate life outside the crisis bubble and wider public perception both in the moment and the hours, days and weeks to follow.

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Managing Reputation – Warning strong stomach required to read on

zero food standards rating

In among political break-ups and breakaways, a commitment to clean up take-aways is hardly big news - at first glance.

And yet the pledge by Just Eat to remove any of the 29,000 UK restaurants registered with them, who score a zero food hygiene rating, gives food for thought. The food ordering app is investing £1m in hygiene and safety standards. Restaurants that fail to make the grade by 01 May will be kicked off the app and any new entries must score ‘generally satisfactory’ for hygiene.

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Radio Waves

Jess at MArlow FM

Mangold Consultancy made a welcome return to Marlow FM’s The Buzz last week, opening 2019 with lively discussions about the high street, Chinese economics and speaker confidence. I was one of two guests on the weekly show, invited to look at topical business stories and forecasts for 2019. Continue reading "Radio Waves"

Pattiserie Valerie – Serves up a showstopper interview

Patisserie Valerie by A P Monblat

Luke JohnsonLess than a week after revelations about the financial future of Patisserie Valerie made headlines, executive chairman Luke Johnson gave an interview to the same newspaper where he regularly contributed a business column.

The move navigated some tricky reputational waters and a creeping narrative about British retail and high street horror stories. Continue reading “Pattiserie Valerie – Serves up a showstopper interview”

Just say no – is it ever right to refuse an interview?

Jeremy Corbyn & Tom WatsonYesterday morning on BBC Radio 4’s “Today” programme, Nick Robinson made a not insignificant point of letting listeners know that Jeremy Corbyn was “unavailable” for an interview. Robinson, reporting from the Labour Party Conference said Corbyn had been offered the pick of any time slot he wanted. But there was no Mr Corbyn and his deputy Tom Watson stepped up instead.

It’s unusual for a political leader not to give an interview to the Today programme during party conference season. But who says anyone has to give an interview? Continue reading “Just say no – is it ever right to refuse an interview?”

Kudos to my ex colleagues at BBC Watchdog

BMW

Credit to BBC Watchdog for their investigation on last night’s programme which lead to BMW announcing a recall of hundreds of thousands of cars.

The truth is that no one really knows what goes on inside an organisation during a crisis, apart from the people managing it.  There are often multiple business objectives which reach far beyond being featured on the programme.  Continue reading “Kudos to my ex colleagues at BBC Watchdog”

How NOT to give a statement: a lesson from the Russian poisoning story

A lesson from the Russian poisoning story

Yesterday, the Government’s Chief Medical Officer Prof Dame Sally Davies made a statement. An important statement for any of the 500 or so people who had visited the restaurant and pub in Salisbury where trace amounts of the substance used to poison ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were found.

Now I don’t live in Salisbury.  But my gut feeling, if I did, is that any advice about possible nerve agent contamination is probably worth listening to.

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