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Crisis Management Today

Hennes Communications
Crisis Communications  |  Crisis Management  |  Litigation Communications  |  Media Training
May 15, 2019
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Our Perspective

Issues Management in the Dark: Game of Thrones Messes Up, Won’t Fess Up
By Howard Fencl, Hennes Communications  The episode a few weeks ago, depicting the much-ballyhooed battle between living scimitar wielding characters and a legion of CGI-enhanced zombies intent on obliterating mankind was dark.Too dark. So how did the show’s cinematographer respond to the hue and cry? Did he fess up that the episode was just too dark? Did he apologize? No.
President Trump, the Russian Connection & Crisis Communications
By Bruce Hennes, Hennes Communications  Some believe  President Trump and his closest advisers committed illegal acts by conspiring with Russian officials on a wide variety of political and financial activities.  Some believe President Trump and his closest advisers indeed had contacts with Russian officials, but that those contacts were benign or perhaps even stupid, but not criminal.  Our friend and colleague, Peter Sandman, often writes about crisis communications, which he calls “outrage management.” Sandman says the value of outrage management as it relates to the Trump/Russia boondoggle depends on what the truth is.

In the News

Lori Loughlin
Sometimes It's Best to Shut Up - Inside Lori Loughlin's Crisis PR Strategy
Hallmark Cards star Lori Loughlin allegedly participated in an illegal scheme to get her daughter into a prestigious university.  While waiting for her situation to come to some conclusion, she’s trying to keep a somewhat regular schedule—going to yoga and pilates and seeing friends for lunch. In Loughlin's case, the public relations ploy seems to be backfiring.
If Your Company Is Going Through a Public Scandal, Should You Leave?
Having your employer get caught in a public scandal is an agonizing professional experience. Even if your company comes out okay financially, it’s likely to have a tarnished reputation. How do you evaluate whether to stay or go?
How Your Strengths Can Sometimes Become Weaknesses
Instead of striving to use your strengths more often, aim to use them more wisely.
NPR Morning Edition
New ‘Morning Edition’ Theme Aspires to be ‘Inclusive and Inviting’
If the new music sounds a bit like it was assembled by committee, that’s because it was.
City Managers and Elected Officials Play a Key Role in Disaster Response
Mayors, city/county managers and safety directors have a huge role to play in disaster response. 


Q: My attorney says apologizing will be bad for future litigation – that apologizing means we are liable.  What do you think?
A:  From Stephanie York, JD and VP at Hennes Communications:  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 caused your injury.”  But here’s the stark reality: “I’m sorry” works.  Especially in crisis situations.  In all situations, expressing empathy shows you have feelings, you care and are human.  And, if you did cause the injury, expressing empathy early and sincerely can lower your future potential payout… a lot. (For a deeper dive into how and why it works, see,  For the rest of this piece, click here.

Got a question about crisis communications, issues management or reputation management?  We’ve got the 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, CEOs and executive directors 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

5/15  Beachwood Chamber of Commerce
5/15  Cincinnati Regional Chamber/Greater Cincinnati Safety Council 
5/16  Nursing Home Directors Association
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 Bootcamp (Chicago)
6/4    Strafford Webinar
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

U.S. Journalism Really has Become More Subjective and Personal — at Least Some of It  Nieman Lab

Research Shows That a Change in Messaging Focus Would Help Prevent Disease Spread During the Next Pandemic  ContinuityCentral

Building Your Personal Brand Where You Work  Entrepreneur

Using Peacetime Wisely - Crisis Contingency Planning, Risk Assessment Doubly Vital In Today's Climate  Forbes

How to Search for PR Agencies: Guidelines for Clients  Forbes
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Crisis Communications  |  Crisis Management  |  Litigation Communications  |  Media Training
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