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Crisis Management Today

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

The Permeating Stench of Negative Media Coverage
By Howard Fencl, Hennes Communications
If you’ve taken a serious a reputation hit, what can you do about it? Prepare for a long-term battle. Expect blowback. There will always be people who strenuously support a political viewpoint, people who violently oppose it -- and people on the fence. It’s rare to win over the opposition – you have to work to keep supporters and convince those on the fence to come on over to your side.
Gannett - Ohio
In Ohio, a Newspaper Giant Is Beginning to Flex Its Reporting Muscle
By Thom Fladung, Hennes Communications
Ohio’s biggest political scandal is a prime opportunity for Ohio’s newest, biggest newspaper company to show its stuff. Now, with the FBI bribery investigation involving former House speaker Larry Householder and utility giant First Energy, Gannett Ohio is flexing its statewide reporting muscle. This could support the theory behind the merger that marshaling the resources of reporters and editors spread across one state and now joined in one company can better serve readers. It also means that if you or your organization become the subject of news coverage – a concern for many of our clients – stories that may once have been isolated to one community are more likely to get widespread exposure.

In the News

“Woke-Washing” Your Company Won’t Cut It
As companies all over the U.S. have rushed to advertise their commitment to racial justice and claim common cause with a historic protest movement, we’ve seen a growing level of disinterest, ambivalence and outright outrage towards companies calling out racial injustice without showing any signs of taking action. And in the current U.S. social climate, employees are becoming more empowered to call out their company’s hypocrisy — juxtaposing solidarity statements with lopsided statistics of company representation and personal accounts of negative workplace experiences.
Ten Things: Preparing Board of Director Meeting Minutes
Preparing board meeting minutes is another one of those tasks that no one really teaches you how to do, you just kind of figure it out.  Or, at least, that’s how I learned.  My learning method was pretty simple, when I first stepped into the role of corporate secretary I looked at the minutes of the last year of board meetings prepared by my predecessor and kept what I liked and discarded what I didn’t like – guided mostly by common sense.  I also found a few publications on proper board meeting minutes and read those.
Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen’s Celebrity Defenders Aren’t Helping Her
We know you depend on this newsletter for the latest celebrity gossip. So as not to disappoint you, we're told the comedian’s employees say that fame has enabled callousness and abuse on her show. The warm testimonies of her superstar friends highlight their point.
Social Media Platforms Fight Back Against Manipulative Foreign Actors
Social media companies are taking meaningful steps to curb the efforts of foreign adversaries to influence the American people. Foreign actors have been manipulating our ability to think and our access to truthful information. Polling shows a large majority of Americans expect to encounter disinformation on social media in the run-up to the 2020 elections. Despite that expectation, Americans continue to use social media as a primary vehicle to consume news. U.S.-based social media companies have a responsibility to combat foreign interference taking place via their platforms, especially those with large American user bases.
Hedge fund financial returns
Importance of PR for Hedge Funds
One of the biggest marketing tools that hedge funds tend to avoid is public relations, which is unfortunate because making a hedge fund available to the press and training the spokesperson for the hedge fund properly can lead to a lot of success for the business. 
Corporations Must Look to Adopt a New Paradigm
Did the financial crisis of 2008-2009 last long enough to teach corporations its critical lessons?  Companies no longer serve just customers and shareholders, but a much broader audience that is as much impacted by the doings of large companies as those that they serve directly. When they sneeze, we all get colds. A forthcoming article by Harvard Law Professors Lucian Bebchuk and Roberto Tallarita, both experts in corporate governance, spotlights how this country’s contentious debate over social justice and inclusion has cascaded into C-suites and boardrooms. 
McDonalds Does Crisis Management the Right Way
McDonalds stands out for handling its latest crisis with former CEO Steve Easterbrook right.  The fast food giant let Easterbrook go last year after discovering that he had had a consensual relationship with an employee. McDonalds actions shows the new environment that we are operating under in the aftermath of the #metoo movement.  The aftermath also calls for brands to take a different approach in dealing with any form of misconduct and managing the crisis.
Crisis Communications is not the same as public relations
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

8/18    Medina County Safety Council
9/2      Texas Assisted Living Association
9/15     Int'l. Bridge, Tunnel & Toll Conference
9/23     American Bar Association
9/24     Beachwood, Ohio Chamber of Commerce
10/6     City of Green, Ohio 

10/8      Nat'l Aging Services Risk Mgt. Conf.
10/12     Am. Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
10/14     Akron Women's Network
10/22     LeadingAge - Ohio
10/22     Athena - Akron, Ohio
11/13     Maryland State Bar Association
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

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