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Crisis Management Today

Hennes Communications
Crisis Communications  |  Crisis Management  |  Litigation Communications  |  Media Training
February 1, 2021
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Our Perspective

Negative Online Reviews
Negative Online Client Reviews: ABA Gives Some Tips for Responding
Preface by Bruce Hennes, Hennes Communications
Here’s a newsflash:  you can’t defend yourself against a client’s bad online review by revealing client confidential information, as the ABA Ethics Committee reminded in an opinion last week.
National Law Review
Political Action Committee & Personal Political Contributions Revisited – Only of Passing Interest?
By Bruce Hennes, Hennes Communications
After publication of our article in the National Law Review on January 16, 
Political Action Committee & Personal Political Contributions Become the Next Reputational Challenge for Law Firms & Their Clients, we heard from an attorney from a large firm who raised the issue of “staying power.” This attorney welcomed the sunshine and transparency, but expressed the opinion that interest in things like this always seem short-lived.  We thought his comments deserved an answer, one that we now share with you.

Featured Guest Column

COVID-19 vaccine
One-Dose Two-Dose Vaccine Risk Communication: Another Impossible Thing to Believe Before Breakfast
From our esteemed colleague, Dr. Peter Sandman, one of the country’s foremost experts in the field of risk communications, comes this clear-eyed assessment of the way government officials are talking about the COVID-19 vaccine, not with clarity but with a multitude of confusing messages.

In the News

U.S. Soldiers Guarding the U.S. Capitol
After the Capitol Riot, What Is Your State of Preparedness?
Even before an official report is issued, the events from January 6 have already led to valuable and important lessons learned.  Clearly, the Capitol Police and others all contributed to the lack of effective preparedness for and response to the incident. But what does “unprepared” mean? And how can what happened be applied to organizational planning and preparedness for your operations?
CNN Newsroom
CNN Public Editor: It’s Time to End the Panel Discussion Format
This month we witnessed a violent rampage at the US Capitol. In the middle of the insurrection, CNN decided a political panel was the best means of following the unfolding catastrophe. As members of Congress were on lockdown, Anderson Cooper held court with political analysts Rick Santorum, David Axelrod, and Van Jones. They talked past the danger on the ground, and in doing so, they helped normalize the takeover of a federal institution.
Gene Hackman illegally spying
Is It a Good Idea to Tape Record Another Individual? And Just Because You Can, Should You?
Years ago, if you wanted to record a conversation on the phone or in-person without telling the other individual, you had to spend hundreds of dollars ordering equipment from a “spy store.”  Nowadays, with legalities aside, anyone with a smart phone in their pocket can hit RECORD on an app, which is why we often remind our clients to assume that all phone calls and in-person conversations are being recorded.  Put another way, if you don’t want to see it in print, on the web, TV or in the newspaper, don’t say it.
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. 
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

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    Our New Seminars

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

Private sector preparedness is not a luxury, it is a cost of doing business in the post 9/11 world. It is ignored at a tremendous potential cost in lives, money and national security.”

The 9/11 Commission Report
    Our New Seminars

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

2/6           Ashland Univ. Leadership Academy
2/16         Ohio State Bar Association
2/17         Fostoria Safety Council
2/24         Dade County (Miami) Bar Assoc.
3/10         Bureau of Workers Comp. Safety Cong.
3/15         Intown Club
3/17        Jefferson County Safety Council
3/18         Logan County Safety Council
3/18         American Bar Association (Chicago)

3/24         Minnesota Festivals & Events Conf.
4/2           Phillips Law Firm (Cincinnati)
4/4           American Public Power Association
4/14         American Public Power Association
4/22         Council of School Attorneys
5/10         Fairlawn Area Chamber of Comm.
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)
7/20         Southern Ohio Safety Council
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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