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Crisis Management Today

Hennes Communications
Crisis Communications  |  Crisis Management  |  Litigation Communications  |  Media Training
June 1, 2020
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Our Perspective

How Your COVID-19 Communications Can Prepare Your Company to Talk About Any Crisis
By Howard Fencl, Hennes Communications
Now that your Crisis Management Team has caught up with COVID-19 communications, it’s time to think through how you’ll deal with other crises or issues that your company could face, such as criminal and sexual misconduct, financial malfeasance, workplace safety violations, internet attacks and product recalls.
Face coverings required
Making Customers, Clients, Patients & Diners Wear Face Masks
In what felt like a matter of days, mask-wearing went from horribly selfish to ethically and in many cases legally obligatory.  For many of our readers, there’s now a new problem to solve: how do you compel a customer, client, patient or diner to wear a face mask – and what do you do when they outright refuse?
Wisconsin Lawyer
Crisis Communications: 5 Steps for Damage Control
By Thom Fladung, Hennes Communications
How journalism and communications work today has undergone dramatic change in the past decade or so, with profound implications for anyone caught up in a news story, especially lawyers and their clients. If your client is thrust into the news, be prepared to quickly respond and get the client’s side in that crucial first story, which sets the tone for each of the follow-up iterations.
Crisis Management & Crisis Communications
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.
Tips for a Better Video Call
By Bruce Hennes, Hennes Communications
Two inarguable truisms: It’s not just what you say, but how you say it.  And a picture is worth a thousand words.  Now that we’re all spending so much time online, in “virtual” environments, both of the above are now truer than ever.  And based on what I've been seeing on all these Zoom meetings, at least 3/4 of you are doing it wrong.  

In the News

Empty School Room
The Importance of Understanding and Fulfilling the Duty of Reasonable Care When Reopening School
Reopening schools in the midst of a pandemic will inevitably involve substantial risk of harm to students. Under the circumstances, no school can absolutely eliminate the risk of illness. Nonetheless, schools can substantially mitigate the risk of liability. Schools that meaningfully educate parents and students about the known risks and implement policies and protocols that meet appropriate guidelines will be able to demonstrate, if needed, that they reasonably and adequately fulfilled their duty of care to students and their families even if a student becomes ill. 
Women Ask for Coffee, Men Tend to Call in Favors: Why Pandemic Networking is Even Harder for Women
It’s hard to forge a deeper connection on Zoom, particularly if you’re trying to network with someone you’ve never met. This puts women at a professional disadvantage. While a man is more likely to reach out to a contact with a quick request, women may default to a “relationship building” call, far less effective over phone or video. They might also avoid the whole situation altogether, waiting until they can meet the person face to face.
The Power Broker
There, on the Shelf, a Familiar White Paperback
It is 46 years old, weighs nearly four pounds in paperback and is about as ill-suited for the internet age as they come: The book is not even available for digital readers. And yet, in certain circles, the 1,246-page tome by Robert Caro, has become a breakout star of the Covid-19 era. In TV interview after TV interview with journalists and politicians working from their homes in New York City and beyond, “The Power Broker,” Mr. Caro’s magisterial 1974 biography, is often conspicuously visible in the background, its bold red-and-white spine popping out from the screen,
What Customers Need to Hear from You During the COVID Crisis
Do consumers want to hear from brands during a crisis?  Yes, they do, but only when that communication is comforting and reassuring to them and provides specific information about what brands are doing to respond to the pandemic. Consumers consider the brands they use to be trusted partners and look to them for information about the crisis and how it is affecting their companies, employees, and the products and services they provide.

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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.

Of course, due to the coronavirus situation, we now offer this training via Zoom or your preferred video platform.



Upcoming Speaking Events

6/1     Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
6/4     Cleveland Council of Independent Schools
6/16   Ohio School Boards Association
6/18    Navigate 360/ALICE
7/24    National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives
10/6    City of Green, Ohio
10/7     Fire & Emergency Manufacturers & Service Association
10/8     National Aging Services Risk Management Conference
10/14    Akron Women's Network
10/20    Winding River Managing Partner Boot Camp - Chicago
10/27    Winding River Managing Partner Boot Camp - Cleveland

If you'd like to bring us in to speak to your organization, either virtually or in-person, 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

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