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Silicon Valley Bank: A Masterclass in How Not to Handle a Crisis

By Lisa Ann Pinkerton for PRNews

As the dust settles on the failure of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), ground zero might turn out to be a one-two punch of mishandled communications. First, there was a newsletter circulated by venture capitalists that may have begun an erosion of confidence. Second, TechCrunch reporter Connie Loizos called out its “convoluted press release that was received so badly that it was almost comical.”

When reviewing the SVB failure from a public relations lens, several missed opportunities are readily apparent.

Dig Into Your Mentions

A developing theory suggests that the panic can be traced back to the aforementioned email newsletter, The Diff, by Byrne Hobart, and an accompanying tweet.

The Twitter storm that ensued secured 3.5 million views and 380 retweets. Nearly every VC in Silicon Valley reads this newsletter. Had SVB been monitoring mentions like this more closely, they might have taken extra steps to release its March 8 press release more strategically.

Keep the Layman in Mind

The press release is truly awful. It assumes the reader is well-versed in the financial markets and offers no context for why the company is taking the actions it outlines. With some thought, this release could have laid the foundation for a message that would have demonstrated stability and evoked confidence.

It’s common for investor relations announcements to be dry and full of regulatory language. However, for something as critical as the March 8 announcement, SVB should have considered what implications the press release might have on depositors. This was their chance to set the context of the news and assuage of concerns surrounding public confidence in the firm.

Press releases are the first opportunity for companies to ensure people think what they want them to think. This is known as “messaging pull-through.” The release sets the information’s tone and foundation and how to frame it. Of course, people will think whatever they want to, but at least the release should have set a foundation that is beneficial to the company.  For more, click here.

Free Stock photos by Vecteezy

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