Good biscuits plated up on arrival and participants hovering at the door ahead of schedule. Throw in a tailored crisis simulation - part challenge, part playing to individual strengths - and all the positive omens are there for a good training day.Continue reading "Why good biscuits won’t cut it in a pandemic – putting our crisis comms tagline to the test"
As COVID-19 silently crept onto our shores you may have been in regular crisis meetings as the virus’ huge impact took hold. Now, you may well be moving from that heightened crisis state to living with the new “normal”, whatever that looks like for your organisation.
As we all bed into week 5 of the lockdown we thought we’d share some insights on how to adapt from crisis to business-as-usual with some suggested next steps and evidence from our client work.Continue reading "From COVID-19 Crisis → Business-As-Usual"
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.
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.
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?
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.Continue reading "Social Media & Mental Health"
“Those difficult situations, they don’t frighten me… never waste a good crisis. When you have a crisis, then you have the fantastic platform for change”.
The refreshing perspective of Airbus Chief Executive Guillaume Faury in the Sunday Times, provides a timely excuse to consider the good that comes out of the bad, for crisis comms professionals.
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.
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?”
We all know the feeling.
Your phone pings, then again… and again… something has happened.
Twitter is “blowing up” says the voice on the other end of the line. Five minutes later; “it’s all over Facebook”. The on-call Press Officer rings next; local media want a response to the hundreds of comments on Twitter.
So, what’s your next move?
If you’re asking this question now, it’s too late.Continue reading "Are you prepared for a social media crisis? Here’s 7 tips you need"
Over the last few weeks there seems to have a been a flurry of “recorded statements” in response to major crises. To be clear, rather than put someone forward to be interviewed by the press, the boss records a statement and it’s posted on the website or via social channels.
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.Continue reading "Managing Reputation – Warning strong stomach required to read on"
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."
Less 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”
Yesterday 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?”
Crisis comms support – no longer just for the big boys
Thanks to new digital marketing techniques, it’s possible for SMEs to compete with global organisations when promoting their business. With a great creative idea and some smart execution, you can reach huge numbers of your target audience without needing any agency support whatsoever. Digital marketing agencies know this and have made their service packages more affordable and flexible as a result.
There is one area of communications where it’s not recommended to go ‘DIY’ however: crisis communications. And with many corporate communications specialists insisting upon pricey retainers to manage a business’s reputation, SMEs are locked out of access to that support. Continue reading “Crisis communications support for SMEs”
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”
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”
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.
Continue reading “Reputation management – where any business (big or small) should start from”
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?”