Posts Tagged ‘crisis’

Hollow-Point Bullets Prompt Solid Online Response Tips

Monday, February 13th, 2012

By now most of you have seen the “Dad uses Facebook to teach daughter a lesson” video where a frustrated father shoots his daughter’s laptop with hollow-point bullets. Yeehaw! But have you all seen his response to the media requests? There are several interesting things about this response. First it prompts my apologies to the IT world as a whole — contrary to popular belief, some of you DO understand media relations as demonstrated by the father’s response to the media. Most importantly, he provides transparent and clear, written communication.

How does this domestic squabble translate to business? Other than being a teenager’s “crisis” I don’t know that it does, but it does strike me to remind everyone the importance of responding to negative comments online.

Here are my top tips for dealing with negative comments online:

1.  Stay calm. Don’t let your adrenaline (fight or flight urge) get the best of you and cloud your judgment.

2. Respond publicly. Mirroring the original format is very powerful. Dominoe’ss Pizza is probably the best case study of this when they had their viral video crisis in 2009.

3. Be courteous*. Offer acknowledgement or an apology, whichever is most appropriate, with sincerity and gratitude for the opportunity to address the matter. *If you run into a troll refrain from calling them out until you have done your due diligence of their misdeed or erroneous feedback.

4. Provide resolution. In some cases this means a refund or some other compensation for the problem. In other cases this will mean “agreeing to disagree” on what is fair and what you can do based on the feedback.

5. Reflect.
a. Why did this person take their grievance public?
          b. Was this the only forum available to address the concern?
          c. What are the opportunities you have to improve your product or
          service to strengthen your relationship with all of your customers?
          d. Did you provide resolution to the issue?

6. Be thankful. REMEMBER: Negative can be positive. Your public response will demonstrate your commitment to your clientele. Also, when a customer is talking to you, even sometimes negatively, you are still communicating and can improve the situation.

 At BurrellesLuce public comments are primarily responded to by either our account managers or the marketing team. These are the people who are closest with our existing clients and who manage the external communication and social media interactions. This post by Mack Collier further reinforces the importance of public responses and provides additional resources of how companies have fared much better when they respond to negative feedback. This list is meant to be a primer and I welcome your feedback and additional tips for the Fresh Ideas readers.

PR News 2010 Media Relations Summit: Gary Wells, Dix & Eaton, interviewed by Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Transcript –

JOHNA BURKE: Hi, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and we’re here at the PR News Media Relations Summit. I’m joined by Gary.

Gary, will you please introduce yourself?

GARY WELLS: My name is Gary Wells. I’m the senior managing director for media relations and global communications at Dix & Eaton.

BURKE: Now, Gary, you just gave a presentation talking about how traditional media and social media is incestuous. How do you manage the media relations, knowing that?

WELLS: First, a little bit of context about why I suspect that they are so incestuous. There’s been a lot written about the fact that the news media, mainstream media, are having financial difficulties, which is true; however, it’s a bit exaggerated. The mainstream media are not going anywhere, which means in a crisis situation they’re no less important; in fact, more important than they have ever been before for a number of reasons, not the least of which is what happens in the mainstream media drives much of the commentary on blogs about a crisis or an issue when it emerges. And what happens in the blogs then drives much of the chatter on social networks, as well. So mainstream media, from that standpoint, will continue to be very important.

At the same time, what happens–and this is where the incest, so to speak, comes in–and that is that social media and blogs report on what the mainstream media says, as well. So each genre reports on what the other says and treats it as a story. That’s fine as long as it doesn’t segue into falsehoods or inaccuracies because the story is perpetuated, but in this case so are the falsehoods or the inaccuracies, as well. In that situation, you have to move very quickly to monitor what’s being said about you not only in the mainstream media, but also in blogs and social media, and correct any inaccuracies as quickly as possible.

BURKE: Gary, thank you so much. I think those are incredibly valuable messages for media relations professionals and PR professionals at all times.

WELLS: My pleasure.

BURKE: Can you tell us where people can find you in social media or online?

WELLS: Sure. Probably the best place is to start with our website. It’s, and also the same address for Twitter.

BURKE: Thank you so much.

WELLS: Thanks.

2010 PR News Media Relations Conference: John Deveney, Deveney Communications, Interviewed by Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Transcript –

JOHNA BURKE: Hello, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and I’m here at the PR News Media Relations Summit. I’m joined by John.

John, will you please introduce yourself?

JOHN DEVENEY: Absolutely. Hi, Johna. John Deveney with Deveney Communications, based in New Orleans.

BURKE: John, you know, you talked about spokespersons in a crisis. Can you please share those top tips for people in a media relations position when they might find themself in that position?

DEVENEY: Absolutely. You know, there’s a lot of elements to your response in a crisis situation, and media is always so crucial to your public image and communicating with the publics that are important to you. But in a crisis, it’s even more important. Some of the things that are important is how an organization responds. And one of the things I shared with the group here is what I call the four hard C’s of your media response. First one is Quick. You need to make sure that you respond quickly, that you’re one of the first people out, even if you don’t know all the answers. Tell the publics that are important to you what you do know and what you’re doing to find out more. Let them know when they’re going to hear back from you. So the first one is Quick.

The second one is Candid. The ability for humanity to forgive mistakes and errors is tremendous, but they expect to be dealt with honestly. The best thing an organization can do is to be candid in their response. Certainly there’s sensitive, private or proprietary information that can’t be shared. But especially in a crisis, be candid. Make sure that you’re giving the information that you’re able to give and, again, give it as quickly as possible.

The third hard C is Context. Let people know how the situation fits into a bigger picture. Who is your organization? What’s its role within the community?

And the fourth hard C is–there’s Quick, Candid, Context, and the fourth hard C is Consistent. Make sure that you’re consistent in your information. If you tell people you’re going to have a briefing every day at 4:00, make sure you’re there every day at 4:00. Frequently when people don’t have new information to share, they cancel it. But go out and tell people, “This is what we know. No new information. These are the organizations or the authorities we’re working with.”

BURKE: John, and you are definitely a consistent PR and communications leader, and we appreciate your efforts in that area. Where can people find you online and in social media?

DEVENEY: Sure. Thanks, Johna. They can find me at That’s D-E-V-E-N-E-Y-dot-C-O-M.

BURKE: Thanks so much, John.