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Crisis Management Today

Hennes Communications
Crisis Communications  |  Crisis Management  |  Litigation Communications  |  Media Training
June 15, 2020
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Our Perspective

How Trolls Spew Hate & What To Do If They Work for You
By Howard Fencl, Hennes Communications
Daily headlines keep coming at us outing people who insist on blurting out heinous, racially insensitive soundbites, tweets and posts in the wake of the horrifying killing of George Floyd.  When these people work in your organization, what is a company leader’s appropriate response?
Social Media Savvy
Today’s Must Read: Your Organization’s Social Media Policies
By Thom Fladung, Hennes Communications
Another day, another racist, thoughtless, cruel social media post. And another former employee on the unemployment line.  Employers have a clear interest in how employees conduct themselves, including away from the workplace.

Al Roker
Forget Those Hokey, Fake Backgrounds on Zoom
By Bruce Hennes, Hennes Communications
If you've used Zoom lately, you've noticed the fake pools, sunsets and palm trees. We're all starting to envy the Pottery Barn-like kitchens, living rooms and dining rooms.  Personally, I'm envious of those libraries full of books we know none of us have ever read, the coffee shops we all know are closed and mountain tops where we know the internet connections are spotty or non-existent.  One of my personal favorites is some guy on the internet who's selling "custom Zoom backgrounds for lawyers and law firms."


In the News

Verbs Take Sides in Demonstration Coverage
Verbs Take Sides in George Floyd Demonstration Coverage
Police have become increasingly hostile to media, lately arresting or hectoring reporters covering demonstrations of George Floyd’s killing by one of their own. Yet, media tend to gravitate to milquetoast verbs writing about police behavior in riots. Police “deploy” anti-riot tactics or “disperse” crowds in news coverage, but protesters “trash,” “hurl” or “destroy.” Why do police always seems to get anodyne verb treatment in news coverage of violent demonstrations? 
Food Brands Tweet #BlackLivesMatter, but What’s Behind the Words?
It seems that, to most food companies, the national protests against police brutality and racism were a chance to both express solidarity and build their brands.  Most food brands issuing statements seem to follow the same set of unspoken rules: Never commit to any action; and never, under any circumstances, examine your own internal systems and policies or how they might affect your workers. Instead, corporations publish branded tweets that reveal a familiarity with graphic design and the language of protest. Instead, with great financial resources and the potential to bring about lasting, meaningful change, they work on their image.
Science vs. Politics
Science vs. Politics
Today, with the insertion of state-sponsored misinformation and manipulation from China, Russia and North Korea mixed with incorrect and more misleading information from the highest levels of government in D.C., decisions about masking, timelines and social distancing have become politicized and weaponized. Under the best of circumstances, the public is easily confused, especially when they receive mixed and inconsistent messages.
Diverse Children
National Museum of African American History and Culture Releases “Talking About Race” Web Portal
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture today launched Talking About Race, a new online portal designed to help individuals, families, and communities talk about racism, racial identity and the way these forces shape every aspect of society, from the economy and politics to the broader American culture.
Police Misconduct
Crisis Comms: Saying Nothing is the Worst Strategy
Many leaders, especially in law enforcement, have been recognized (and excoriated) for kneeling, embracing, walking, praying or talking with protesters. In this author's opinion, you’ve got to walk the talk. Great leaders don’t hide from engagement with their stakeholders, but they also don’t preen. Humility, calmness and openness to others are admirable and contagious.
Let the Buyer Beware
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.

Short Takes

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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

6/16   Ohio School Board Association
6/18   ALICE/Navigate 360
7/2     American Public Power Association
7/9     American Public Power Association
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
12/8      Cleveland Metro Bar Association
12/17    Cincinnati Bar Association

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

Hennes Communications

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We have a strategy.

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