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Crisis Management Today

Hennes Communications
Crisis Communications  |  Crisis Management  |  Litigation Communications  |  Media Training
May 1, 2019
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Our Perspective

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Social Media Panic at Schools: Crisis Management During False Alarms
By Howard Fencl, Vice President, Hennes Communications  In the old days, troublemakers in school pulled fire alarms and ran. Now they simply post to social media.
Can 5G Wireless Technology Supercharge Crisis Management?
By Howard Fencl, Vice President, Hennes Communications  5G is a technology that blows open bandwidth capacity. How might 5G change your world when you’re dealing with a crisis or a trending issue? Here are some of the basics.
Ohio School Boards Association logo
Ohio School Boards Association Selects Hennes Communications to Provide Crisis Management & Communications Services to Ohio's Public Schools
We are honored to have been asked by the OSBA to provide crisis management and communications services to public school systems throughout the state of Ohio facing sudden challenges to their organizations’ reputations and operations. With this partnership, 712 OSBA member schools have access 365 days a year to expert crisis communications professionals.  For more, click here.

In the News

Why the Lawyers Always Win

Debates about how to respond in a crisis often boil down to arguments about whether the "litigation risk" is greater than the "reputation risk." Looked at through the lens of behavioral science, it’s clear this is not a fair fight.
Reading a Newspaper

Journalism & Storytelling

Reporters think their job is to “get the story.” They call themselves “storytellers.” They believe that through stories  (or sometimes, narrative”) they attract and hold attention, impart facts in engaging fashion, and explain the world.  Could they be wrong?  Perhaps the primacy of the story as journalistic form is incorrect - and there is, instead, a risk in valuing drama, character, and control over chaotic reality. 
This 1 Word Makes Others Think Less of You, and You Probably Say It at Least 8 Times a Day
What’s wrong with saying “sorry”? Nothing, if you’ve done something that truly warrants an apology. If you text while driving, run a stop sign, and bash in someone’s fender, then by all means, feel free to say you’re sorry. In fact, research shows women and men are equally likely to apologize when they’ve actually done something to harm or inconvenience another person. But women are likely to say “sorry”  or downplay ourselves and our accomplishments in all kinds of situations when an apology isn’t really warranted, 


Q: How do you convince leadership that creating a crisis communications plan is a good idea?
A:  From Thom Fladung, managing partner at Hennes Communications:  Here’s a fact to share with top management: Your organization’s reputation is its greatest uninsured asset. And how you communicate during a crisis will be noted and remembered by your most important stakeholders – your employees, your customers, your donors, your business partners. Talking about your crisis may be the last thing you want to think about or do in the early stages of a crisis. But those communications will be the first thing your key stakeholders hear about you during the crisis. And, trust us, they’re waiting to hear from you. 

If you’re trying to use those arguments to convince a skeptical CEO of the need for a crisis communications plan, the organization’s attorney – whether in-house general counsel or trusted outside attorney – may well be your most important and effective ally.  For the rest, click here.


Got a question about crisis communications, issues management or reputation management? We’ve got answers. Send your question  to

Not Everything is a Crisis

Most crises are unexpected and sudden - a traffic accident, explosion, fire, chemical leak, social media attack or criminal arrest.

While a crisis usually appears to be sudden, sometimes you should have seen it coming.  For example, activists who hate your product, lax enforcement of company policies and procedures, deferred maintenance on heavy equipment, or instability in your leadership ranks. 

More often than not, what you're probably facing is an issue, a situation that can and should have been foreseen. For instance, three months from now you know you're going to close a plant, discontinue a product, get a new board chair, acquire a company or announce a rate hike.  For another example, click here.

Whether it's a crisis or an issue, carefully crafted communications targeting the appropriate audience at the right time can go a long way toward mitigating the amount of reputational damage you experience and the work you need to do to restore confidence among your stakeholders.
Identifying an issue early gives you the added ability to craft a well-rounded strategic plan that not only identifies what you say, it enables you to carefully consider allies you might enlist, initiatives you might employ to blunt the effectiveness of your adversaries and other tactics designed to protect your market.

Are there threats looming on your horizon you should address now?  Let us help you create the communications to help you avoid them from evolving from issues you can manage to crises you can’t avoid.

While we sell "crisis" (hence our website name, ), the professionals at Hennes Communications understand the difference between crises and issues.  

And now, we hope you do, too.

Not Just for Attorneys

Why Hennes?

Attorneys across the country increasingly understand the following: 
  • Since there are no real barriers to entry, every P.R. firm in the U.S. now offers “crisis communications.”  In actuality, they don’t.  Crisis work requires a different – and often counterintuitive - skill set from the traditional practice of public relations.  As well, it’s also an art form where more often than not we’re helping attorneys and their clients figure out not just what to say, but what to do, which isn’t something learned from a book.
  • More and more often, attorneys – especially those who truly understand their clients’ business models and wish to offer holistic advice, rather than simply serving as legal “transactionalists” - are beginning to understand that the Court of Public Opinion is arguably more important than the Court of Law, especially since 97% of all cases never actually make it to trial.
  • We tend to be brought into client situations and law firms in one of three ways: The CEO (who heard one of us speak or as a referral) brings us in directly, usually asking us to work alongside their G.C. or their outside law firm.  An attorney attends one of our CLEs, immediately realizes the value we bring to the situation at-hand and recommends retaining us directly by their client or under the law firm umbrella.  An attorney hears one of us speak at a conference and brings us to the law firm to speak to a practice group.  Someone from the firm’s marketing department sits in on that seminar, realizes a similar CLE would be a great value-add to existing clients and/or as a marketing event for new business development and brings us back for that purpose.
For more on this subject, click here

For a full list of upcoming CLEs, click here.

    Expert Witnesses for Online            Issues - Just a Click Away

The Court of Public Opinion is always in session on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and other websites where harsh reviews and caustic criticism carry the day.
Increasingly, the issues that start in this Court of Public Opinion are ending up in a Court of Law. At Hennes Communications, we have experts who understand online reputation management, online media coverage, the impact of negative online content, the effectiveness and cost of search suppression and more.
Looking for an expert witness who can help your client win on these thorny issues? Call Thom Fladung at Hennes Communications at 216-321-7774.


            Media Training

No one trains clients for high-stakes situations better than Hennes Communications. We can teach you how to communicate with power, mastering even the toughest interview, speech or presentation.  Call or email us today and ask us about crisis, media, spokesperson and presentation training/coaching for you, your top executives and managers.

Remember – it's usually not what you say, but how you say it.  Never again go into a media interview unprepared or go before a hostile audience uncoached.                   



You have a situation. 
We have a strategy.  

Because the Court of Public Opinion is always in session.


Lawdragon Honors Hennes CEO

We are honored to announce that Bruce Hennes was recently named to the 2019 Lawdragon 100 Leading Consultants and Strategists, the definitive guide to the financiers, recruiters, marketing and communication gurus on whom the legal profession relies. According to Lawdragon, "These are 100 of the most trusted advisors to the legal profession."  You can see the entire Lawdragon list here.

Upcoming Speaking Events

5/2    Ohio Health Care Assoc (Columbus)
5/9    Ohio School Boards Assoc (Columbus)
5/15  Beachwood, OH Chamber of Comm
5/15  Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber/Greater Cincinnati Safety Council CEO Meeting
5/16  Nursing Home Directors Assoc
5/20   Ohio Assisted Living Assoc (Columbus)
5/22   PSI Solutions
6/3     Nat'l Assoc of Clean Water Agencies
6/4     Winding River Managing Partner Boot Camp (Chicago)
6/7      Hahn Loeser & Parks
6/13    Leech Tishman (Pittsburgh)
View More Events
Hennes Communications. You have a situation. We have a strategy.
View More of Our Capabilities

Short Takes

How & Why are Documents Redacted?  How Stuff Works

The Top 25 Best Movies About Journalism  Poynter

4 Secrets to Reading Body Language Like an Expert  Ladders

Relationship Building 101: Responsiveness with Small Outlets Could Pay Big Dividends in the Future  Bulldog Reporter

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Crisis Communications  |  Crisis Management  |  Litigation Communications  |  Media Training
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