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Crisis Management Today

Hennes Communications
Crisis Communications  |  Crisis Management  |  Litigation Communications  |  Media Training
June 01, 2022
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Our Perspective

Howard Fencl & Jif Jar
Jif Stuck in a Recall Jam Demonstrates a Teachable Moment
Introduction by Howard Fencl, Hennes Communications
Did the J. M. Smucker Co., Jif’s parent company, handle recall communications the way they should have? Here’s PR News’ interview with our good friend at kglobal, Gene Grabowski, who as always, has some very tasty advice.
Anti-ESG Investing
Opinion: The Tricky Politics of Anti-ESG Investing
Introduction by Thom Fladung, Hennes Communications
In an era of unprecedented corporate involvement in sensitive, frequently controversial, social issues, a recent survey of American consumers provides some guidance. The takeaway is not that companies should avoid taking any positions on such issues but that they should choose their battles carefully and, crucially, pay more than lip service if they do speak out.
Florida School Board Association Partners with Hennes Communications to Provide Issues Management Crisis Management & Communications Services to Members

If you're planning to attend the FSBA Conference, please be sure to sit in on Thom's "Crisis Communications & Your School in the Social Media Era" seminar on June 9 at 1:30, repeated at 2:45.

There are scores of reasons why your district can be thrust into the news. Lawsuit…sports controversy…social media threats…board-superintendent clash…criminal accusation…discrimination complaints…diversity issues…FERPA or HIPAA violation…fiscal mismanagement…protest…sexual misconduct…student newspaper story…challenging conversations…testing controversy…active shooter...union grievance/strike…Suddenly, there’s a TV crew in the parking lot, your local newspaper is on Line One and the situation is already on Facebook.

In the News

Robb Elementary School
Chaotic Communication Adds to Pain of Texas School Shooting
We’re all still processing the horror of last week’s mass murder in Uvalde, Texas. Continuing confusion about just what happened at Robb Elementary School that day is adding to the pain being felt by the victims’ families, the people of Uvalde and our nation.  Hopefully, you will never experience a crisis even close to the heartbreak, tragedy and news interest of last week’s shooting. But the botched communications response by individuals and institutions that should have been better prepared reminds us that there are two primary goals of crisis communication.
Woman Praying at Laptop
How PR Pros Can Avoid Overused Phrases to Express Sympathy
So what are truly caring individuals, companies and organizations, as well as those PR practitioners who counsel them and write their remarks, to do to adequately express sympathy at difficult times?  The challenge will be great to find a unique voice so that the pat response of “our thoughts and prayers are with…” does not become the default. 

The Handmaid's Tale
The Handmaid's Tale
It is time for companies to think deeply about their positions on reproductive rights, health care as a political issue, same sex marriage and related matters. History sometimes moves backwards and it is going to be ever more difficult for companies to stand on the sidelines.
5 Ways to Protect Your Company’s Reputation During a Crisis
Whether it’s a global pandemic or a local power outage, no business is completely immune from a crisis. The global banking and finance sectors are no different. Most recently, the impact of Russian sanctions and the Ukraine War have been a major cause for concern in the industry.
When Should Corporates Take a Stand on High-Profile Social Issues?
The likely overthrow of Roe v Wade to limit access to abortion in the United States has highlighted whether and when business corporations should take a stand on controversial social issues. Denim company Levi Strauss was one of the first major companies to weigh in on this debate, defining it as “a critical business issue.” 
Leadership in Times of Crisis?
McKinsey also remarked that leaders’ crisis communications usually hit the wrong note. Some leaders sound overconfident or upbeat, particularly early in a crisis. This may make stakeholders suspect what leaders really grasp about the situation and how well they deal with it. The firm also noted that the inclination to defer announcements for a long period of time to wait for more facts and decisions to be made may not also be reassuring.
How Cyberattacks Target Stakeholders
For businesses hit by ransomware attacks, paying the ransom is often the most practical solution to recovering data and minimizing an extremely stressful situation.  However, paying a ransom, which can sometimes range into the millions, is easier said than done. In situations where a ransom isn’t or can’t be paid for a variety of business reasons—such as potential sanctions— organizations need to prepare for the avenues that threat actors will leverage to inflict significant reputational harm.
Attention Ohio Mayors & City Managers
In the immediate aftermath of a major incident, such as a mass shooting at a mall, restaurant, school, or faith-based location, the police chief and other first responder agencies will likely be lead spokespersons.  But “major incidents” could turn into multi-day or multi-week events.  Some of those include massive winter storms, heat waves, tornados, fires, accusations of discrimination or financial malfeasance, mass demonstrations, police shootings, cyber attacks and power outages.  In the days, weeks, and possibly months after a disaster, residents, business owners and media outlets in your community will look to their elected officials, not just for answers, but for leadership.  Hennes Communications is working with the Ohio Dept. of Public Safety, the Ohio Department of Homeland Security, the Ohio Public-Private Partnership, Ohio University and Cleveland State University to do a one-time seminar on June 22 aimed directly at Ohio mayors and city managers.  We are almost sold-out, so don't delay.
Looking for a lunchtime section meeting speaker?

Litigation, probate, environmental, government, bankruptcy, health name the section and we'll put together an interesting, pithy and entertaining meeting for your section via Zoom, talking about the intersection of the law,
legacy media and social media.  

Call Bruce Hennes at 216-978-2047 or email


In Case You Missed It
Mergers, Acquisitions and Management Transitions: Using Crisis Communications Principles to Achieve Better Outcomes 

Fighting Putin's Propaganda: Narrative Response Kit

Who Should take the Lead in a Crisis?

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

PR Firms vs. Crisis Firms.  Is There a Difference?  Does It Really Matter?

Projecting Leadership Presence in a Teleconference

The Six Essential Rules for Lawyers Dealing with Reporters

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

Searchable Archive of Crisis Management and Crisis Communications Articles from Hennes Communications
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Attention School Board Members,
Superintendents & Attorneys

The Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA), Florida School Boards Association (FSBA) and Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) have each entered into a strategic partnership with Hennes Communications to provide crisis management and communications services to public school systems throughout those states facing sudden challenges to their organizations’ reputations and operations. With this partnership, ASBA ,FSBA and OSBA member school leaders have access 
365 days a year to expert crisis communications professionals.

Media Training

No one trains clients for high-stakes situations better than Hennes Communications. We can teach you, your top executives and managers how to communicate with power, mastering even the toughest interview, speech or presentation.  

Remember, it's usually not what you say, but how you say it.  Never again go into a media interview unprepared, before a hostile audience uncoached or into any situation where it's important for you to project executive presence.

We offer this training in-person or via Zoom and other video platforms.  Call 216-321-7774 for details.



Our Upcoming Speaking Events

6/8       Ohio Mayors Association 
6/8       National Society of Certified 
            Healthcare Business Consultants

6/9       Florida School Boards Association
6/22     Preparing Public Leaders to Effectively
            Lead in a Crisis, Ohio Public-Private
            Partnership, Ohio Dept. of Public
            Safety, Ohio Dept. of Homeland
            Security, Ohio University, Ohio State

6/23     W. Virginia School Boards Association 
6/29     Lake County Bar Association
7/13     Perkins City School District
7/21     Ohio Municipal Clerks Association
8/4       Greene County Educational Services

  Thom Fladung, Bruce Hennes & Stephanie York
8/25      Eastern Stark County Safety Council
9/1        LeadingAge Ohio
10/25    Winding River Managing Partner
             Boot Camp

10/28    CAK Safety Council
11/8      National Sales & Marketing Exec's.
11/13    Ohio School Boards Association
11/14    Ohio School Boards Association 
12/14    Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Assoc.
3/30      Cleveland Development Corporation
             Leadership Program

4/15      Neighborhood Leadership                                 Development Program

Crisis Leadership
The skill set that got you into your current leadership position
isn't the skill set you're going to need when it hits the fan.

It's a simple fact:

Controversies today are tried in the Court of Public Opinion
more often than the Court of Law.
News now breaks first on social media, with traditional media sweeping Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for leads. Whether your organization is immersed in crisis or dealing with a hot-button issue, your news can quickly “go viral.” Since it takes a lifetime to build a reputation and only a few seconds to destroy one, “managing the message” is a necessary skill set for executives, attorneys and public officials in virtually every business sector.  

Our fast-paced seminars, delivered by veteran crisis management and communications specialists Bruce Hennes, Thom Fladung and Stephanie York, all focus on highly strategic approaches to communicating during a wide variety of situations, enabling you to serve the needs of your stakeholders, move your message forward or mount a defense against a sudden onslaught from traditional or social media.  Many of our seminars also address "non-crisis" situations (e.g. management changes, mergers & acquisitions, program expansions, presenting with executive presence and creating relationships with members of the media).

If you'd like to bring us in to speak at a conference or to your organization, virtually or in-person, as a keynote, for your practice group, for a section luncheon, as a value-add for your existing clients or as a new business development event, please give us a call at 216-321-7774 or drop us a line at  For a select list of previous seminar sponsors, click here.
Attorney Seminars
  • Crisis Management & Crisis Communications for Attorneys & Their Clients
  • Crisis Communications and Social Media for Attorneys & Public Officials
  • Winning on Social Media: Crisis Management in an Echo Chamber
  • Social Media and the Courts: A New Frontier
  • Getting to the Truth: How to Detect Fake News
  • Tools, Tips & Tactics - Responding to Sensationalized Journalism
  • Projecting Leadership & Executive Presence
Education Seminars
  • Crisis Management & Crisis Communications for Education Officials & Their Attorneys
  • Crisis Communications and Your School in the Social Media Era
  • Crisis Communications For Educators Amid a Pandemic of Crises
  • A Public Schools Social Media Primer: Risks, Rewards & Recognizing Fake News 
  • Projecting Leadership & Executive Presence
Elder Care & Health Care Seminars
  • Crisis Management & Crisis Communications for Health Care Executives & Attorneys
  • Crisis Communications For Health Care Executives Amid a Pandemic of Crises
  • Mergers, Acquisitions & Management Transitions: Using Crisis Communications Principles to Achieve Better Outcomes
  • Projecting Leadership & Executive Presence
Our "signature seminar," Crisis Management & Crisis Communications, can easily be crafted to be relevant to the specific needs of your organization or industry.  For details, please give us a call at the number above.

NOTE:  All of the seminars listed above are typically one-hour long, though some of them lend themselves to a 90-minute or two-hour format.  We also offer a 4-hour seminar that includes "extreme" crisis communications, aimed at elected officials, police and fire chiefs, often done in partnership with local emergency management agencies and boards of health.
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