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Crisis Management Today

Hennes Communications
Crisis Communications  |  Crisis Management  |  Litigation Communications  |  Media Training
January 18, 2020
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Our Perspective

Baseball "Cheating" Scandal Headlines
Strike Three, You’re Out: Houston Astros Cheat, Get Caught – And Then Ex-GM Boots Apology
By Thom Fladung, Hennes Communications 
At Hennes, we tell people if you mess up, fess up and fix up. That “fess up” should include an effective apology, showing remorse, commitment to change, sincerity - and a direct address to the recipients' feelings. 
Crisis Management
Lots of PR Firms Sell Their Crisis Work -
Let the Buyer Beware

By Bruce Hennes, Hennes Communications 
With no barriers to entry, every public relations firm in the U.S. now appears to offer “crisis communications.” They don’t. At least, all of those who claim to don’t. Crisis work requires a different – and often counterintuitive – skill set from the traditional practice of public relations.  It’s also an art form where more often than not we’re helping clients figure out not just what to say, but what to do, which isn’t something learned from a book.
Social Media
Crisis and Reputation Management Increasingly are About Managing Social Media
By Thom Fladung, Hennes Communications
How fast is social media at reporting on events – including events that your organization might consider a crisis? Faster than you. Consider a situation involving a school in Westfield, N.Y., that we stumbled upon. Here’s the first paragraph of a story from the Westfield Republican: “Parents need to realize that we will never be able to notify them of an incident before it hits social media,” said the board president.
Email Icon
RE:RE:RE:RE:RE: Getting Your Email Read
By Howard Fencl, Hennes Communications
Here’s a little secret: messages can elevate your daily, routine email communication to make sure it gets opened, to make your point and to make it memorable.

In the News

Risk Management
9 Corporate Communications Changes to Anticipate for 2020
When it comes to corporate risk and resilience, one of the gurus in the industry is our friend and colleague, Richard Levick, who recently gazed into his risk-ridden crystal ball.
Coyote & Road Runner
From the Annals of Litigation Communications:  Wile E. Coyote, Plaintiff v. Acme Company, Defendant
Opening Statement of Mr. Harold Schoff, attorney for Mr. Coyote: My client, Mr. Wile E. Coyote, a resident of Arizona and contiguous states, does hereby bring suit for damages against the Acme Company, manufacturer and retail distributor of assorted merchandise, incorporated in Delaware and doing business in every state, district, and territory. Mr. Coyote seeks compensation for personal injuries, loss of business income, and mental suffering caused as a direct result of the actions and/or gross negligence of said company, under Title 15 of the United States Code, Chapter 47, section 2072, subsection (a), relating to product liability.


Practicing Law in the Public Spotlight

Attorney Jack Bacevice joined the Cleveland firm Mansour Gavin after years as an Assistant Director of Law for the city of Cleveland. He’s handled numerous high-profile cases and is very familiar with practicing in the court of law while the court of public opinion intently watches. We’ll periodically feature a Q&A with Jack and Hennes Communications Managing Partner Thom Fladung on the art and craft of litigating in the harsh glare of the public spotlight.

Q. Let’s talk more about social media and its impact on litigation communications and trials. Has social media changed how you prepare for or conduct trials?

A. Yes and no. Yes, because if you have a client who is either particularly sensitive to public discussion of the matter, or criticism of their position, you need to be a full-service attorney and attend to that client’s needs. It is the right thing to do, but it is also practical. A client distracted by outside noise cannot give you full attention and aid during the litigation process. But also, no, in that the fundamental preparation does not change.  Your audience is ultimately the judge and, at trial, the jury.

For the rest, click here.

Wise Words

Attention School Board Members,
Superintendents & Attorneys

The Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) has entered into a strategic partnership with Hennes Communications 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, OSBA member school leaders have access 365 days a year to expert crisis communications professionals.

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.

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.               



Upcoming Speaking Events

1/22   CAK Safety Council
1/29   Tuscarawas, County of
2/3     Ohio Public Employers Labor Relations Association (Columbus)
2/7     Scott Scriven LPA (Columbus)
2/8     Ashland University
2/17    Dept. of Emergency Mgmt. & Homeland Security, University of Akron
2/20   Ohio Association of County Boards (Columbus)

2/26    LeadingAge Webinar
3/12    Ohio State Bar Association Leadership Academy (Columbus)
3/12    Cuyahoga Falls Chamber of Commerce
3/12   Ohio State Bar Association Leadership Academy (Columbus)
4/2     Cleveland State University Leadership Academy
4/13   Intown Club

In 2019, we did 103 speaking events.  About three-quarters of those events were for legal audiences.  The rest were for a variety of conferences in a wide variety of market sectors.

If you'd like to bring us in to speak to your organization, perhaps for your practice group, as a value-add for your existing clients or as a new business development event, please give Bruce Hennes a call at 216-321-7774.
View More Events

Short Takes

From bad typos to accidents in TV news, 
a compilation of the best bloopers in media
  Columbia Journalism Review

Accident Modification Program  

3 Elements of Great Presentations That Most Speakers Ignore  Inc.

5 Body Language Hacks That Make You Look Like A Leader  CommPro

Hotels Play Vital Role in Relief Efforts When Disaster Strikes  The Conversation

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