Archive for the ‘Crisis Communications’ Category

The Target Crisis

December 20, 2013

Answers to questions about the Target data breach

Bree Fowler, AP Technology Writer:

“Target says anyone who made purchases by swiping cards at terminals in its U.S. stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 may have had their accounts exposed. The stolen data includes customer names, credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates and the three-digit security codes located on the backs of cards.”

But how?

“Target isn’t saying how it happened.”

Investors rejected Target on the news.

The company’s stock dropped (-2.2%):

Target Stock Sell Off After Data Breach

U.S. Secret Service is now involved.

In the meantime, Target is in the middle a crisis.

Its reputation at stake.

Update – Target is offering a weekend sale.

CEO Gregg Steinhafel:

“We’re in this together, and in that spirit, we are extending a 10% discount – the same amount our team members receive – to guests who shop in U.S. stores on Dec. 21 and 22.”

Will this sale earn your trust in shopping at Target?


Blocking Twitter Trolls Harder

December 12, 2013

Blocking Twitter Users

Thought you blocked one of those Twitter trolls (or worse).

Not really. Read Twitter’s new policy closely:

Note: If your account is public, blocking a user does not prevent that user from following you, interacting with your Tweets, or receiving your updates in their timeline.”

You won’t see blocked users.

Their troll content, however, can still be seen.

And retweeted.

And searched.

Your choice?

Start over.

Go private.

Lock your account.

I know. Not much of a choice.

Twitter is now a public company.

The company wants your trolls (or worse) to remain public.

Update — Twitter “reverts” change:

Source: Twitter

“Earlier today, we made a change to the way the ‘block’ function of Twitter works. We have decided to revert the change after receiving feedback from many users – we never want to introduce features at the cost of users feeling less safe. Any blocks you had previously instituted are still in effect.”


New level of corporate spin.

After Twitter creates a crisis.

Issues remain: balancing privacy, reputations, safety … and the wrath of the ticked off trolls you block.

New: Bloomberg Reporters Barred from Snooping on Clients

May 11, 2013

Bloomberg Bars Reporters from Client Activity

Quoting The Associated Press:

It’s not clear exactly how long Bloomberg reporters have been accessing subscriber information.

Bloomberg is in the middle of a crisis.

The business stakes are high.

Big things, such as: Bloomberg’s reputation, client trust, credibility.

Finding Trusted News

April 22, 2013

The Pressure to Be the TV News Leader Tarnishes a Big Brand

Reporter David Carr:

Still, when big news breaks, we instinctively look to CNN. We want CNN to be good, to be worthy of its moment. That impulse took a beating last week. On Wednesday at 1:45 p.m., the correspondent John King reported that a suspect had been arrested. It was a big scoop that turned out to be false.

In one of the most defining moments of the #BostonExplosion story — CNN blew it, while the world watched. It was not alone:

Mr. King, a good reporter in possession of a bad set of facts, was joined by The AP, Fox News, The Boston Globe and others, but the stumble could not have come at a worse time for CNN. When viewers arrived in droves – the audience tripled to 1.05 million, from 365,000 the week before, according to Nielsen ratings supplied by Horizon Media – CNN failed in its core mission.

This is now a case study.

Not totally, “How Mr. King failed (he did).”

More, “Communicating in a new media world.”

Crisis communications tests the best. Failure is not an option.

I need to trust you, when “it” goes down.

Yet, during this crisis, big news outlets failed me. Over and over.

The “King” failed.

So, is your news team is up to a crisis, beforehand?

I know big, worldwide crises from inside and outside.

I already know, you’re not ready.

Down deep, your team, lacking the resources of a CNN, knows it, too.

Trust me. Just ask them.

Bottom Line: Now is the time to be ready for “next.”

You need a plan, the right people on the bus, training and execution.

The stakes are as high as a business will ever face.

Your reputation is on the line.

Trust is about getting it right.

Carnival Media Update: Reputation Circus

April 12, 2013

Carnival: No reimbursement to US for disabled ship

Curt Anderson, AP, on an inquiry by U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller:

Among Rockefeller’s questions was whether Carnival would repay the government for Coast Guard costs in the Triumph case as well as $3.4 million to the Coast Guard and Navy from the 2010 stranding of the Carnival Splendor in the Pacific Ocean.

Who pays the millions for Carnival’s operational failures?

You, it appears.

‘These costs must ultimately be borne by federal taxpayers,’ Rockefeller said … Carnival appears to pay little or no federal income taxes.

Carnival Chairman and CEO Micky Arison:

We remain committed to the safety and comfort of our guests proud of our ability to provide millions of people with safe, fun and memorable vacation experiences.

Such a non-answer, answer. Quite, “memorable.”

When it comes to leadership, “Where’s Micky?”

My take: he is surrounded by lawyers vs. customers.

You should come first.

Real leaders know.

Note to Carnival Cruise Customers: Abandon Ship

April 4, 2013

The Sinking of Carnival Cruises

Cruise “ship” Triumph breaks loose while in repair dock.

After being towed into dock.

The U.S. Coast Guard responds to the scene.

Wednesday’s incident was the latest in several headline-making issues for one of the world’s leading cruise lines. Four of the company’s 23 ships have had problems in recent months.

Carnival Corp.’s set of high-profile problems continue.

And Carnival CEO Micky Arison? Probably at a NBA game. He likes that “Heat.”

Definitely not with the media, however, answering questions.

Some say Carnival Corp. has a PR disaster. I disagree.

At this point, the firm’s reputation is sinking under the weight of repeated operational and leadership failures.

Current media attention is shining a light on fundamental company issues.

The word “issues” is a polite way to say your firm is a sinking ship.

Put another way, want a case study in sustained, botched reputation management?

This is it.

Carnival leads the way in, “How not to handle crises.”

Look, in times of crisis, when you’re CEO, it’s all hands on-deck, you first.

Instead, Arison is nowhere to be seen. Except at a Miami game.

He likes that “Heat.” He’s their owner.

Well, Micky, time to get onboard Carnival’s systemic issues.

The ref whistled you for a technical foul several crises ago.

Your company’s reputation is going down – so is investor confidence.

Carnival’s stock is cratering. Wall Street votes, “Two thumbs down.”

Customers, abandon ship.

The firm’s leadership left long before you.

Lance Armstrong: “Enough is enough”

August 23, 2012

Lance Armstrong Tries to Exit Controversy

Lance Armstrong just issued an extraordinary statement, ahead of reports he will be stripped by the USADA of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from cycling:

“There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ For me, that time is now.”

Armstrong, a Colorado resident, describes the USADA probe into doping allegations as one-sided and unfair:

“The only physical evidence here is the hundreds of controls I have passed with flying colors. I made myself available around the clock and around the world. In-competition. Out of competition. Blood. Urine. Whatever they asked for I provided. What is the point of all this testing if, in the end, USADA will not stand by it?”

The world-renowned athlete staked a claim on his racing career:

“I know who won those seven Tours, my teammates know who won those seven Tours, and everyone I competed against knows who won those seven Tours. We all raced together.”

Armstrong concludes:

“Going forward, I am going to devote myself to raising my five beautiful (and energetic) kids, fighting cancer, and attempting to be the fittest 40-year old on the planet.”

How Armstrong’s public image holds up now becomes the stuff of what will certainly be a legendary effort at reputation management.

Thoughts about … “Tornado Tourism”

January 22, 2012
“Tornado Tourism” Maps: Controversy in Joplin, Mo.

“Tornado Tourism.” It’s apparently the next phase of a natural-disaster, at least in Joplin, Mo.

The city’s Convention & Visitors Bureau now has maps highlighting spots of special interest from the horrific EF5 tornado of May 2011 that killed 161 people.

Local hotels are handing out the maps, too.

A spokesman says the maps are not meant to capitalize on the destruction, but to provide education.

Local residents disagree. Read the comments on the Facebook page of Joplin radio station NewsTalk 1310.

And some 700 people to date have “liked” another Facebook page, Joplin Citizens Against Tornado Tours.

So the perception is that the maps are about tourism. Not education.

And this perception, real or not, is now reality.

The other reality? There was nothing to like about the Joplin tornado.

Watch this video, especially the end:

In crisis management training, I talk about the general stages of a disaster:

  • Preparation / Training
  • The event
  • The aftermath
  • The response
  • Recovery
  • Lessons learned / Training
  • “Anniversary” coverage, (e.g., “It’s been one year since… .”)

In addition to the loss of life, the Joplin tornado caused more than a billion dollars in damage.

Eaten to the ground were entire neighborhoods.

A damage map from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is jaw-dropping.

And now the tragedy is the stuff of an apparent new phase in natural disasters: “Disaster tourism.” Follow the map – see destruction.

There are lessons and memories from the Joplin tornado that should never be forgotten.

Yes, the event should become a “living” source of education and awareness, too.

The community needs to recover, first.

It needs to rebuild, and the community needs to decide how best it wants to honor memories through future generations.

And do so before tourist buses and “looky-loos” decide their own paths.

Supporting a long-term recovery featuring compassion, sensitivity and respect would seem a better role for the Convention & Visitors Bureau…than short-term “education” maps about this tornado.

Healing a community should come before any appearance of promoting historic tragedy.

After all, as it says on the front-page of the Bureau’s website: “Welcome to Joplin…We’re Just Right.”

Show us “right”.

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