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A Reputation Management Lesson: Even the Legends Must Be On Guard – Constantly

By Thom Fladung/Hennes Communications In 1982, Johnson & Johnson wrote the book on effective crisis response – literally. Chicago was in a state of panic. Within just a few days, seven people had dropped dead from cyanide poisoning. There was no explanation until investigators discovered the link: Tylenol. Someone had laced Chicago’s Tylenol supply with […]


Dark Side of Communications Turns Darker: Epstein, Twitter and Takeaways for Crisis Response

By Thom Fladung/Hennes Communications Even in this era, when the news barrage can be numbing, the report that Jeffrey Epstein had apparently hanged himself in jail and the immediate flurry of conspiracy theories took a run at qualifying as “shocking.” The least surprising element: Much of it started and played out on Twitter. In an […]


Want A Good Answer Amid A Crisis? Know The Question Before It’s Asked

By Thom Fladung/Hennes Communications The Q&A session is a staple of leadership, whether those questions come at you in employee meetings, community forums or in an interview with a journalist. It can be challenging in any setting. But doing a Q&A amid a crisis or serious issue your company or organization is facing ratchets up […]


Crisis Management May Mean Having to Say You’re Sorry

Q: My attorney says apologizing will be bad for future litigation – that apologizing means we are liable.  What do you think? A: We often find ourselves wrestling with our client’s attorneys over the phrase “I’m sorry.” Somehow, through the years, attorneys have come to define the phrase “I’m sorry” as meaning “I’m liable. I […]


Lessons From The Boeing Airline Crisis – And From The Crisis Management Industry’s Response

By Thom Fladung/Hennes Communications The crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 and subsequent focus on the Boeing 737Max airliner brought with it the usual analysis and reaction from crisis communications consultants. Some of our crisis communications peers provided insight into how Boeing was dealing with its crisis. And some reaction, unfortunately, we found lacking in […]


Q&A: On crisis communications and attorney-client protection

Q: How can my organization use legal privilege to protect sensitive information when we’re dealing with a communications firm and discussing with them a controversial issue or a crisis? A: [From Stephanie York, Hennes Communications:] You can never ensure that sensitive communications will fall under the attorney work product doctrine – ultimately, a judge must […]


Not On My Facebook Page: How Smart Companies Deal with Dumb Online Trolls

By Thom Fladung/Hennes Communications The reaction is typical. Watch what happens when a business, organization or news outlet removes a user’s post from a Facebook page, website or comment string. “Censorship!” “You’re violating my free speech rights!” “You’re trashing the First Amendment!” Well, no. None of that has happened. The laws around social media use […]


Q&A: On the Covington Catholic High School controversy and the use of ‘dark magic’ crisis communications

A recent attendee to a Hennes Communications presentation by Bruce Hennes was prompted to email us this question, regarding the incident in Washington, D.C., involving high school students from Covington, Ky., two different groups of activists and whether clever use of crisis communications on behalf of the students had made the incident “go away.” Here’s […]


2018’s Best Crisis Management Response: The Crisis Was Live, Southwest Airlines Was Ready

By Thom Fladung/Hennes Communications We’re hard-wired to hope bad news goes away. And when that hope is dashed, as it so often is, we hope that the fewest number of people possible find out about our bad news. So, imagine your bad news being broadcast live to potentially millions of people. That’s what Southwest Airlines […]


Q&A: Is telling the truth really always a good idea for crisis communications? I see plenty of people caught up in crises who I don’t think are telling the truth.

Telling the truth is an absolute necessity if you or your organization is caught up in a crisis. First, of course, it’s the morally right thing to do. But if morals aren’t your cup of tea, pragmatically it’s the right thing to do. The truth will come out. And if the truth shows you’ve been […]


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