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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Social Media & Mental Health

Social Media & Mental Health

Why social media companies should (but probably won’t) act responsibly and lead the conversation on mental health

Social media companies are some of the most powerful and influential business entities on the planet. Their decisions shape how the world communicates and how we as individuals consume information. Unlike most large-scale global commercial industries, social media is self-regulating. This puts social media companies in a unique position of global responsibility.

A new report published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists last week said social media companies should be forced by governments to hand over their data for independent research into the risks of social media use.

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Doing the doorstep challenge – can you win when cameras arrive unannounced?

Doorstep Challenge

Most people over 30, remember the well-known washing powder ad, which challenged unsuspecting mums to a live clothes wash, to see whether the product delivered its ‘whiter than whites’ promise. This was a filmed doorstep where everyone was in on the gag. Viewers understood it was an advert, just as the at-home victim knew their kitchen would appear on national TV. Continue reading “Doing the doorstep challenge – can you win when cameras arrive unannounced?”

Customer service – You say it best when you say nothing at all

Customer Services

We all have foibles when it comes to good service. Loud background music in your favourite restaurant – no thanks. Unsuitable substitutes in an online shop or a sell-by date less than 24 hours after it arrives. To me, these are like sour milk in my tea. A complete turn off, which could turn me to the Oat-side.

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Facebook: can I trust you again? A personal perspective.

Over the last 10 years my trust in Facebook has been eroded

When I first joined Facebook I trusted the platform and genuinely thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. It was so interactive, I could store and share photos of my young kids with friends (yes, I was that parent) and catch up on what everyone was up to from the comfort of my then small London flat. A few years later it seemed to be THE place to get breaking news which was always relevant to what I was interested in, thank you algorithms.

Over the last 10 years though that trust has been eroded. Continue reading "Facebook: can I trust you again? A personal perspective."

Making predictions – a fool’s game you cannot afford to miss?

Predictions for 2019

Since political turmoil before breakfast became the new normal in 2018, reading the runes on anything other than tea is a high stakes game. But having digested the best news round ups, here are a few boiled down forecasts to consider for crisis communications and reputation management in the year ahead.

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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”

Crisis Comms for Food and Drink producers & manufacturers

Crisis Comms for Food and Drink producers & manufacturers

As a consumer-facing, multi-channel business operating in a highly competitive sector, your company probably has more issues to deal with day to day than President Trump’s press secretary. One little rogue comment from your Chief Exec, one delay in a shipment, or one faulty product line and you’ve potentially got a reputational nightmare on your hands. If you are “lucky” enough to be the one responsible for managing your business’ reputation, then this guide to Crisis Comms for the food and drink industry is for you. Continue reading “Crisis Comms for Food and Drink producers & manufacturers”

Reputation management – where any business (big or small) should start from

Regardless of its size or influence, every business needs to establish and maintain a good reputation for the sake of its customers, employees and future existence. But if global superbrand Facebook struggles to manage it, what hope is there for smaller companies who don’t have millions to spend on corporate communications support and media training? Follow this starter guide to reputation management and a million pound budget won’t be necessary.
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Caught in the crossfire? Is a bad brand association risking your reputation?

Bad brand association

If you look at the risks to your business (via a risk audit) you’ll discover potential threats lie within your workforce, your suppliers, your processes, your equipment and perhaps even your premises. Identifying those threats and planning how to handle them is a huge step forward in managing your corporate reputation.

But what about the threats that lie outside your business? What happens when companies or personalities you’re affiliated to suffer a fall from grace? Do nothing and it looks like you don’t care or worse, condone their bad behaviour. Act and you may risk further damage. So how do you protect your business and respond in the right way? Continue reading “Caught in the crossfire? Is a bad brand association risking your reputation?”