David Holmes

Archive for the ‘Crisis Management’ Category

Business lessons from the recent IRS scandal

In Crisis Management on May 16, 2013 at 10:51 pm

It is easy to dislike the IRS; they take our money. Even if we like what a good chunk of that money goes toward, it’s still easy to grumble about the entity that takes our money and occasionally makes us prove our accounting. And that is when they are doing their jobs correctly – this week’s news has made it even easier to mistrust the agency. But let’s make a couple of assumptions and perform a little exercise examining our own businesses as compared to the revelations about the IRS this week.

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Crisis management and public relations are not the same

In Crisis Management on May 7, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Public relations and crisis communication are not the same. Search the phrase “public relations” online and on my first page of results are definitions of the term and advertisements from the PR firms near me with the best SEO – there is no mention of communication in a crisis and only passing reference to related ideas like reputation management. This isn’t surprising, because a public relations firm should have as its top priority the promotion and building of your products and ideas. And crises are kind of a bummer to think about.

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West Fertilizer Plant’s public response to explosion failed

In Crisis Management on May 1, 2013 at 10:44 pm

The explosion in West, Texas that killed 15 people, injured many more and resulted in tremendous loss of property and infrastructure in the small town shows the absolute need for better crisis management planning and serves as a worse-case scenario that you should use as a lens on your own business. How would you respond if a crisis in your company resulted in a loss of life?

I have been disappointed in the somewhat casual response by the West Fertilizer Plant owner – issuing a statement through a third party, but when it comes down to it, I can imagine few scenarios where his actions after the explosion would meet approval.

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ExxonMobil spill and crisis management

In Crisis Management on April 2, 2013 at 10:23 pm

Would you know if you had an oil pipeline built in the 1940s carrying thousands of barrels of oil through your neighborhood daily? Residents of Mayflower, AR were certainly surprised a few days ago when crude oil flooded their neighborhoods after a pipeline of which they were unaware burst.

ExxonMobil appears to be responding fairly rapidly to the physical crisis, but this is a pretty big failure for them that illustrates the importance of planning for problems your company is most likely to face.

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Having a business continuity plan is like having a spare tire

In Business Continuity, Uncategorized on March 20, 2013 at 10:18 pm

A business continuity plan can be considered part of a crisis management plan, but it is also a distinct set of preparations for those times crises occur. Sometimes, vaguely thinking in terms of crisis management and business continuity plans can quickly yield to thoughts of pressing matters of immediate importance and it can be difficult to conceptualize the need and scope of such plans. Think of them by comparing them to your car.

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4 tips for improving your company’s media relations

In Crisis Management on March 13, 2013 at 10:13 pm

My first memory of media relations comes from my father’s first political campaign when I was 8 years old. After an interview, the newspaper reporter closed his notebook, put away his pen and asked my dad what he really thought of his opponent off the record. The words “inarticulate bozo” were then present in the headline of the article.

Like my dad running for office the first time, the average business does not have to communicate with the media on a regular basis and can sometimes stumble or say something that will not help them out. Most news media professionals perform very ethically and appropriately, but it is easy for lines to be crossed and messages to be mixed when a company and a reporter are not quite on the same page.

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Reputation management in the era of distrust

In Reputation Management on February 25, 2013 at 10:09 pm

We live in a day when you might not be able to trust the leaders at your religious institution or your university who have access to your kids, you can’t trust those in charge of our financial system on Wall Street or in banks, your governmental leaders are probably lying to you, and if you’ve made a trip to Europe recently, there is a good chance you have eaten horsemeat called “beef.”

Perhaps there are no greater problems today than there have been in past times, but with our communication culture, we find out about more of the bad things going on and how they occurred. Whatever the cause or truth, as you consider your own company’s advancement in your marketplace, you must take care of your reputation while considering the current climate.

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Maker’s Mark reverses decision to dilute, misses the mark

In Crisis Management on February 19, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Sometimes you can get in the way of your ownbusiness and create a crisis where none had been likely to arise. Maker’s Mark recently announced they would be diluting their original formula, but failed to explain why, and while it may have been to expand to geographical markets that legally require lower alcohol levels, or to simply save money and keep their product pricing from adjusting, they said nothing.

It came across as them saying, “people love our product so much, I bet that if we make a slightly inferior product we can sell even more!” Is that what Maker’s Mark was really thinking?

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Crisis management planning should be done by all businesses

In Crisis Management on January 29, 2013 at 7:55 pm

You wrote a business plan for the success of your business. Now it’s time to write a crisis management plan to bolster your company’s response to moments of crisis.

It is worth asking the question, “What is considered a crisis?” There are a number of potential ways to answer that, but customize the answer for your business by asking yourself this question: What are the components of my company that make it function smoothly?

A crisis is a moment when one of those components ceases to function properly with the potential of harming your company in some significant way.

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New Crisis Communication App from Microsoft

In Crisis Management on January 17, 2013 at 12:50 pm

If disaster were to strike, how would you let your family, friends, and co-workers know that you’re alright?

Microsoft announced a new mobile app called HelpBridge that serves as a great tool to both keep family, friends and co-workers informed and to help people donate easily to recovery efforts.  There are other tools that do everything HelpBridge does, but the app is fairly easy to set up and have ready to contact pre-set groups of people with customized messages when the need arises.

For businesses, a tool like HelpBridge could easily be incorporated into a company’s crisis management plan to assist with warning employees of a problem or updating them when new information becomes available.

Important to remember when using apps like HelpBridge is that they are not a substitute for contacting emergency services (calling 911).  The app is best used once an emergency has been resolved or there is no longer immediate danger.  If emergency services can not be reached, however, or if cell service will allow data but not voice connection, the app could also be used to draft your close contacts to attempt to get you help.

Among the more important features of the app is the capability to simultaneously send messages through text-message, email, and Facebook; including location data.  The app is available on Windows, Android and iOS phones in the U.S.

Take a moment to download it for free and go through the set-up process so that your phone will be ready in case you find the need to use such an app.

For more information, Microsoft Citizenship Team has created the following video: