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Crisis Management Today

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

Ted Cruz
Monumental Crisis Management FAIL: Ted Cruz’s Mexican Vacation
By Nora Jacobs, Hennes Communications
As is now clear to the entire country, Senator Ted Cruz apparently skipped class the day they taught Crisis Management 101.  As his constituents and fellow Texans faced a winter storm that may be the costliest in the state’s history, boiling snow for drinking water and burning furniture to heat their homes, Senator Cruz decided that his family needed a break from the FREEZING temperatures and agreed with his wife to take a brief vacation to Cancun, Mexico.
Lady Gaga & Dogs
Tone-Deaf or Bad Timing? Lady Gaga’s Reputation Management Nightmare
By Howard Fencl, Hennes Communications
A man walking Lady Gaga’s bulldogs is jumped by two creeps demanding he hand over the pricey animals. He refuses and one of the assailants blasts him in the chest with a semi-automatic weapon. Two of the dogs are kidnapped. The third dog escapes. In a breaking crisis of this ilk, you’d think Gaga would release a statement about her deep concern for the dog walker. About how she reached out to the dog walker’s family to express her shock at the senseless act. About her generous offer to pay for his hospital stay until he recovers. About her cooperation with investigating authorities. About the enormous reward she is offering for the gunman’s apprehension. She didn’t.
Risk Management
Are You Leading Your School’s Culture, Or Is It Leading Your School?
By Bruce Hennes, Hennes Communications
Long gone are the days when a former student would call a head master or school principal to tell him or her that 10 years earlier, a teacher (who’s still on the faculty, by the way) did something inappropriate – and the head master/principal would simply thank the former student for calling and wish them well.  Now, the authorities must be notified and action taken. Whether it’s a school dealing with sexual misconduct or a government agency, manufacturer, nonprofit, hospital or other health care community, those institutions – and the people who work for them – will judged by what they did after it happened, as well as on the fact that it happened at all.  

In the News

Texas Snow Storm
Texas Storm Communications Show Stark Messaging Contrasts
In an area not exactly used to dealing with snow, ice and frigid temperatures, the utility infrastructure crumbled, leaving millions without power, heat and fresh water for days. Getting important information out to those who need it was extremely difficult for audiences who primarily depend on electricity, internet and wifi to power their communications needs.
Stanford Researchers Identify Four Causes for ‘Zoom Fatigue’ and Their Simple Fixes
Even as more people are logging onto popular video chat platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic, Stanford researchers have a warning for you: Those video calls are likely tiring you out. Researchers examined the psychological consequences of spending hours per day on these platforms. In the first peer-reviewed article that systematically deconstructs Zoom fatigue from a psychological  perspective, four consequences of prolonged video chats are identified.
Fake Smile
Why You Cannot Fake Your Feelings
Smiles are often used as a polite response to cover up other emotions, but these social smiles involve the mouth only. Unless you are expressing genuine pleasure or happiness, it’s hard to produce a real smile – the kind that crinkles the corners of the eyes and lights up the entire face.
War Room
A Peek Inside a Crisis War Room From Chicago Navy Pier’s Top Communicator
A war room is a metaphoric hub from which an individual or team manages a crisis, relying predominantly on advance preparation and planning work. The war room should have a predetermined playbook for the team to reference, complete with a set of tools and tactics for managing various scenarios. The playbook should consist of a crisis phone tree, detailed response protocols and a variety of template messaging that has been pre-approved by leadership and/or key stakeholders to help trim the response time as much as possible.
Slow Down and Write Better Emails
Misunderstandings are rampant in today’s workplaces. While poor communication habits may feel inevitable with colleagues, we should always strive to engage with clarity and empathy, especially as we come to rely more on remote work and digital communication. What is a good first step to improving our habits? Relearning what it means to read carefully and write clearly.


In Case You Missed It
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

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

How to Stay Warm When the Power Is Out  LifeHacker
The Pandemic-Induced Popularity of Google Street View  The New Yorker

Why Meeting Another’s Gaze Is So Powerful  BBC Future  
The Real Reason the Sound of Your Own Voice Makes You Cringe  The Guardian
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    Our New Seminars

Social Media and the Courts: A New Frontier

There 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

3/5           National School Boards Association
3/6           Village of Lincoln Heights
3/6           Ashland University
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         MN Festivals & Events Conference
4/2           Phillips Law Firm (Cincinnati)
4/4           American Public Power Association
4/5           Cleveland State Univ. School of Law
4/6           Ohio State Bar Association
4/6            LeadingAge - Pennsylvania
4/13         California Municipal Utilities Assoc.
4/14         American Public Power Association
4/20         Ohio School Boards Association
4/22         Council of School Attorneys
5/10         Fairlawn Area Chamber of Comm.
5/12         Winding River M.P. Bootcamp
5/12         LeadingAge - Oregon
5/13         CPA Firm Mgmt. Association
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 at a conference or 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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