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Crisis Management Today

Hennes Communications
Crisis Communications  |  Crisis Management  |  Litigation Communications  |  Media Training
January 15, 2021
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Our Perspective

Law & Political Campaign Contributions
Political Action Committee & Personal Political Contributions Become the Next Reputational Challenge for Businesses, Law Firms & Their Clients
By Bruce Hennes & Nora Jacobs, Hennes Communications
The times they are a'changin'.  And the charge at this moment is being led by large corporations drawing the line in the sand by publicly eliminating or restricting political contributions.  Do you know how easy it is to search political contributions? Here's what you need to do to protect your reputation, as well as your clients.
Disney-Brand Inoculation
How the COVID-19 Vaccine May Cure What Ails Mickey Mouse
By Howard Fencl, Hennes Communications
Disney’s decision this week to work with county officials opening a Disneyland parking lot as a vaccine supersite is certainly a tremendous service to its community and demonstrates its ongoing commitment to corporate social responsibility – but it is also a canny reputation management strategy to smooth feathers it may have ruffled protesting government COVID restrictions, strengthening those important ties at the same time.
National Law Review Go To Thought Leader Award
National Law Review “Go To Thought Leader” Award Honoring Excellence in Legal Thought Leadership Goes to Hennes
Bruce M. Hennes, CEO of Hennes Communications, one of the few firms in North America focused exclusively on crisis management and crisis communications, was named as a “Go-To Thought Leader” by the National Law Review.
This award recognizes 71 exceptional legal authors selected from a pool of over 20,000 legal news articles published by the National Law Review in 2020.  Those honored wrote relevant, consistent and well-thought-out legal news.  The award committee also considered pieces quoted or cited by other publications and media. The National Law Review is a daily legal news website with a mission to provide objective and practical news and analysis.  It is the online descendant of a legal publication tracing its roots back to 1888.  It is one of the highest volume legal news websites in the U.S., averaging 2 million readers each month. 

In the News

Democracy Under Attack
Building Trust in a Time of Turbulence
Our country is still working to make sense of the events in Washington DC on January 6th and many organizations are wondering how to maintain business-as-usual in a world already buffeted by almost a year of Covid-related disruption and tragedy.  Here are some sound recommendations for communicators who are struggling to maintain contact with stakeholders, shore up confidence in our institutions and avoid unintended missteps in the days and weeks ahead.  
Divided Flag & Country
Tips for Communicating Internally and Externally in a Divided Country
The questions for communicators: Do you craft messages differently, internally and externally, when you know the country is divided politically, and in other ways? In addition, do you change communication to adapt to the fact that a significant portion of the electorate believes the election was rigged, and, by extension, the true winner will not be inaugurated Jan. 20?
Personal Security Considerations
In recent months, the U.S. has experienced civil unrest across various jurisdictions. Due to continued sociopolitical issues, there remains a potential for further unrest. Domestic terrorists and other violent extremist actors may continue to leverage peaceful protests to attempt to incite hate, destroy critical infrastructure, and inflict bodily harm. Extremist actors have also used rhetoric to attempt to threaten high-profile individuals associated with the management and operation of critical infrastructure. To reduce risk, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recommends that individuals, particularly those with higher-profile status, implement basic security measures to increase personal safety.
Moderna Vaccine
Will You Require Employees to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine?
As your organization considers its vaccination strategy, think carefully about what you plan to communicate to, and ask of, employees.  As COVID-19 vaccination distribution begins, organizations everywhere have critical decisions to make about their vaccination policies. A Gartner poll of more than 100 HR leaders shows that most will encourage, not mandate, vaccination — but that’s not the only issue at stake.
Studio at the Bar
Studio at the Bar
We are sometimes asked by smaller companies, small law firms and solo entrepreneurs for assistance with their social media marketing, graphic design, video shoots and live-streamed events.  While we indeed handle video productions for our clients, usually in conjunction with our other services, we often refer those requests to a number of freelancers whose work we’re familiar with, which we intend to continue doing.  Today, however, we bring to your attention Studio at the Bar.  The Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association has created this in-house agency to handle a variety of these services, at a competitive price – and it’s available to non-attorneys and non-members of the bar association.


In Case You Missed It
Light at the End of the Tunnel - What to Say to Employees & Stakeholders About the COVID Vaccine (Guest Columnist Peter Sandman)

Tips for Better Video Calls.  No More Looking Like You're in a Hostage Video.  The BEST Guide to the Subject You'll Ever Read.

Lots of PR Firms Sell Their Crisis Work – Let The Buyer Beware

What Should Crisis Leadership Look Like? (Guest Columnist Peter Neffenger, former director, National Transportation Administration)

Searchable Archive of Crisis Management and Crisis Communications Articles from Hennes Communications

Cats Sleeping With Dogs: How Lawyers and Crisis Communicators Can Work Together

Lessons in Law Firm Reputation Management: How Firm Leaders Should Prepare for Public Scrutiny When Representing Political Clients

Short Takes

74 of Our Favorite Facts for 2020  New York Times
Our favorite fact: The tippy-top of Mt. Everest is literally just the size of two ping-pong tables.

Neil Armstrong’s Bootprint Protected by New US Law  The Conversation

Street Photographer Captures Serendipitous Moments That Go Unnoticed on City Sidewalks  MyModernMet

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  Seminars Just Added

Social Media and the Courts: A New Frontier

Three have been more “trials of the century” than we have had centuries. This seminar explores why trials have been big news for decades, but also how profoundly coverage of those trials has changed with the digital revolution in communications - and what lawyers need to know about it. Topics include: a brief history of high-profile media coverage of trials – and the sudden, recent change in how the coverage works; how and why social media are now crucial for journalists and why you must understand “iterative reporting”; social media’s impact on jurors and court rulings; the scarcity of research on how social media and digital journalism impact witnesses and trials overall; pros and cons of social media and digital journalism in trial coverage.

Getting to the Truth: How to Detect Fake News
Fake news is not new news. Masters of the art include Benjamin Franklin. But in the digital media era, when information – true and false – travels in seconds, fake news has become a prevalent challenge in society. This seminar delves into the history of fake news, explores how we are living through a second coming of Yellow Journalism and provides practical tips for how to recognize fake news – and avoid spreading it.


       Blunt Talk

Arielle Patrick is the chief communications officer at Ariel Investments, which has $14.6 billion in assets under management, with offices in Chicago, Washington, New York City and Sydney, Australia.  Ms. Patrick has developed playbooks for companies in case of a crisis, like a data breach.  "Companies that don't do this are, frankly, delusional," she said. 
  Seminars Just Added   

Crisis Communications For Educators Amid a Pandemic of Crises
The echo chamber of social media. A tense, politically charged national landscape. And the Covid- 19 
pandemic. Learn how to help protect your school’s reputation in one of the most challenging communications atmospheres imaginable.

Crisis Communications and Your School in the Social Media Era
Social media is now where your school’s reputation, earned over hard years of accomplishment, can be shattered in minutes. Learn best practices for effective crisis management on social media, including applying the fundamentals of effective crisis communications; using social media before the crisis; threat assessment and response; leveraging social media to your advantage; and specific action steps to help protect your reputation.

Crisis Communications and Social Media for Public Officials
For elected and public officials, social media represents special challenges – and special opportunities. Accessibility, information-sharing and gauging public interest are easier and more convenient than ever before. As are the opportunities to criticize, organize opposition and spread misinformation. And when a crisis hits, it will play out on social media. This seminar will help participants understand the influence of social media – and how it’s only going to grow. How public officials can use social media to the benefit of their organizations and constituents. And you’ll explore how to apply the best practices of effective crisis management on social media in a public setting.
For information about these new seminars, contact Thom Fladung, managing partner, Hennes Communications at 216-321-7774

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

1/26        Tiffin Area Safety Council
1/27         Davis Graham & Stubbs (Denver)
1/29         OH State Bar Leadership Academy

2/6           Ashland Univ. Leadership Academy
2/16         Ohio State Bar Association
2/17         Fostoria Safety Council
2/24         Dade County (Miami) Bar Assoc.
3/15         Intown Club
3/17        Jefferson County Safety Council
3/18         Logan County Safety Council
3/18         American Bar Association (Chicago)
4/2           Phillips Law Firm (Cincinnati)
4/4           American Public Power Association
4/14         American Public Power Association
5/12         Winding River M.P. Bootcamp
5/13         CPA Firm Mgmt. Association
5/19         Winding River M.P. Bootcamp 
6/9           Winding River M.P. Bootcamp (CHI)
9/22         Fire & Emergency Manufacturers
                & Services Association (Tampa)

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

You have a situation.
We have a strategy.
Because the Court of Public Opinion is always in session.
The Hennes Communications Team

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