Posts Tagged ‘Crisis Communications’

Stanford’s Problem: Snapchat’s CEO

May 30, 2014

Stanford Condemns Snapchat CEO’s Sexist Emails

Mike Isaac writing for re/code:

“Stanford University Provost and Professor John Etchemendy sent a scathing email to the school’s student body on Friday, widely condemning a series of recently unearthed sexist, raucous emails sent years ago by Evan Spiegel, an alumnus of the school who is now the founder of disappearing mobile messaging startup Snapchat.”

University backpedaling hard.

Trying to put distance between itself and Snapchat CEO Spiegel:

“’Members of our community should learn now, not many years from now, how abhorrent those attitudes are, whether real or feigned,’ Etchemendy wrote.”

Spiegel created his own reputation crisis.

His crisis is now Stanford’s, too.

And Snapchat’s.

Would you work for CEO Spiegel?


Twitter: @schwartznow

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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”.

“CEOs: Credibility Gone in a Blink”

April 1, 2006

Crisis Communications: Trust Lost is Difficult to Recover

Nyt_1“If it takes a lifetime to build crediblity, why does it take only a minute to lose it?  Forever.”

When your enterprise loses crediblity, you lose your future.  Your sales suffer, your operations grind to a halt, your best people jump ship and your stock prices crater.

As background, consider United Way’s troubles. I’ve donated to the United Way. And I do not believe the organization will ever recover fully from its scandal many years ago about how much of its monies were going to overhead vs. the needy. I still remember it.

Now, the ethics of another non-profit, the American Red Cross are making headlines.  Bad headlines. That’s a fast way of saying the organization got smacked with national, front-page headlines of the worst kind: the removal of supervisors in connection with the relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. After the Hurricanes, I donated to the Red Cross.  The right choice? I have doubts.

It will not be the power or words of the CEO that gets the Red Cross through this — if it can get through this.  Assuming its operations are not fatally flawed, it will be the ability of the Red Cross to set a new standard in public and media relations to weather this crisis.  The organization can not do this with just its in-house PR team.  It is not big enough and can only work so many hours in a day.

Let me be clear:  The future of the Red Cross is at stake. “Operationally” handling issues — in this case dismissing supervisors — does not equate to ending fully the organizational crisis at hand. Not even close. It’s part of trying to regain the trust of stakeholders. But only part. There is much more to do, and the stakes don’t get higher. Trust once lost, is difficult to recover.

What would you, as CEO, do? How quickly could you move?  What contract help — what PR “swat-team” — do you have “on-call” for your crisis?

[Full Story…]

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