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Crisis Management Today

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

"Taking Out the Trash" is Not a Crisis Management Option
By Howard Fencl and Thom Fladung, Hennes Communications  Many organizations, politicians and government agencies have tried to fly bad news under the media radar by releasing it at times when TV stations are least likely to cover it. It’s a sneaky tactic called “taking out the trash.” 
When the CEO Must be the Spokesperson
By Nora Jacobs, Hennes Communications  One of the questions we frequently debate with clients when they are about to make a public announcement is the question of attribution:  Who’s going to speak on behalf of the organization?
What To Do if There’s a Harvey Weinstein in Your Ranks
From Insurance Business Magazine, with quotes from Thom Fladung, Hennes Communications  Sexual harassment is no longer a reputational concern just for large, high-profile organizations.

In the News

Save the Recordings of School Shootings
The news media has been notoriously reticent about showing graphic images of mass shootings. But students caught in the gun violence plaguing American schools are not. Should we keep videos documenting what it’s like to live through a school shooting for all to see online?
The Day TV Journalism Died
People who grew up during the age of cable news might not know that once upon a time, TV journalism was not only well respected but also served as a watchdog, uncovering excesses of government officials and illegal actions by businesses.
Criminalizing the Boardroom: A Communications Guidebook for Prosecutorial Targets
The rule of law is what separates democracy from mob rule. But the clarion call for rule of law obscures a complicated truth. Within the rule of law are endless gray areas and the opportunity for misuse
More Exclamation Points, Please !!!!!!
Adding an exclamation point, or two, or 15, transforms whatever you’re writing, by making it sound enthusiastic and fun. Similarly, omitting an exclamation point also transforms whatever you’re writing, by making it sound like you hate your co-worker’s guts.


Q: What are the "best" answers during a crisis?
A:  From Thom Fladung, managing partner at Hennes Communications:  As with so many situations involving crisis management and crisis communications, the keys are preparation and practice. Make the practice real. Forget the easy questions. Prepare for the toughest questions – the ones you don’t want to answer. Because those are the ones you’ll be asked, whether by nervous employees, community activists or a veteran reporter who’s spent a lifetime learning how to ask the toughest questions.  Here are three ways to prepare and anticipate thorny questions before they’re asked. 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 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

6/3    Nat'l Assoc of Clean Water Agencies
6/4    Winding River Mg. Partner Boot Camp (Chicago)
6/4    Strafford Webinar
6/7    Hahn Loeser & Parks
6/13  Leech Tishman (Pittsburgh)
6/13    Mayors Assn. of Ohio (Columbus)
6/19    Real Choice Ohio & Ohio School Boards Assoc Conference (Columbus)
7/11    Lawyer-Pilots Bar Association
8/15    OH State Univ Leadership Academy
8/22     Commission on Economic Inclusion & Greater Cleveland Partnership
View More Events
Hennes Communications. You have a situation. We have a strategy.
View More of Our Capabilities

Short Takes

Surviving the Kind of Crisis that Makes a Bad Yelp Review Seem Like a Love Note  Modern Restaurant Management

How Meghan Markle’s Son Shifts Duchess’ Image As ‘Royal Family Outcast,’ ‘Bridezilla’  International Business Times

10 Body Language Hacks to Project Leadership Presence on Video  CommPro

8 Tips for Making the Most of a Media Tour  Ragan's PRDaily

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Hennes Communications
Crisis Communications  |  Crisis Management  |  Litigation Communications  |  Media Training
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