Posts Tagged ‘crisis communication’

What’s In a Name

Monday, December 12th, 2011

As Blackwater Xe Academi is learning, a name change is not the easy reputation fix that some would let you believe. For the second time since their disastrous killing of civilians in Iraq in 2007, the company formerly known as Blackwater has changed their name.

Yes, the name is different. But the company is the same, the contracts are the same, the same executive team is still in charge and company offices remain in the same locations. Blackwater Xe Academi will have to carry around their history regardless of their name. Although important, a company’s identity is not purely established by a name or color scheme. There are no easy fixes in the world of reputation management and Blackwater Xe Academi is sure to learn this the hard way.

I Don’t Know…

Friday, December 9th, 2011

“ I don’t know where the money is”?

Was this said by a 5 year old who lost his allowance?

A 16 year old who overspent at the mall?

Or a highly touted financial executive who has served as a US Senator, Governor and twice run leading financial firms?

With the media and federal regulators at his doorstep this is how Jon Corzine chose to respond to a Federal Inquiry about the collapse of his firm MF Global. This statement alone will now characterize his tenure in all of his former positions and with this one question and answer session he has destroyed his reputation.

More on this story to follow

Insuring Your Reputation?

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

From the Wall Street Journal:

“After taking heaps of blame for the financial crisis and accepting a $130 billion government bailout to survive, American International Group Inc. knows a thing or two about bad publicity. Now it wants to help others weather such storms—for a price.”

Read more here

Obviously many companies can benefit from this type of insurance offered by AIG, especially, as noted in the article, small or medium businesses without in-house PR staff. Evergreen Partners has always been very critical of companies who fail to put into place pre-emptive crisis communications and reputation management plans. Our experience has shown us that an adequate plan in these areas can save you from a world of trouble down the road. AIG’s newest addition to the reputation manager’s toolbox is much applauded by the staff at Evergreen. We hope that this will encourage businesses to begin to think proactively about their reputations before it is too late.

Ch-Ch-Ch Changes… Again?

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

It shouldn’t come as any surprise. Facebook has once again flipped the switch on its over 750 million users by making striking changes to the news feed. Some of the changes include a friend ticker and what Facebook believes to be your “top stories” at the beginning of the page with more recent and chronological stories falling second hand at the bottom. Many users woke up on Wednesday morning outraged about the updates to the major social networking site, but haven’t they all seen this before?

Change is uncomfortable to many and it will take a week or two to adjust, but like always the hype will soon fade away and everyone will forget about the old layout. They might actually begin to like the changes. After all, the site is a free service, one that provides its users the ability to connect with friends and family, something not many would want to give up.
That being said, what are two things the social networking giant could have done to avoid the negative spotlight?

1. Better Communication.
One of the reasons users were frustrated by the changes was the lack of warning. The site has been known to just up and change things without explanation. If Facebook wants to maintain its brand advocates, the appropriate way to go about the changes would have been to send out an email or message, letting users know what they will be seeing in the coming days.

2. Allow Flexibility.

Of course change isn’t always optional, but it is beneficial to allow users to have access to the old layout for at least some amount of time so they can ease into the new changes. Popular micro-blogging site Twitter just recently switched over their layout completely after having both the old and new versions available to users. This allows people to slowly ease into the changes, maybe actually seeking out the new version instead of having it thrust upon them.

They may be getting backlash right now, but Facebook has little to worry about because the majority of users aren’t going anywhere. In fact according to a recent study provided by eMarketer, the number of users is expected to grow by 13.4 percent this year from the last. So, bring on the changes, Facebook.

Keeping Cool Under Pressure

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

The New Jersey Devil’s public relations staff should be applauded for their handling of recent story in the New York Post claiming that the Newark based ice hockey team was on the verge of financial collapse.

“The attendance-challenged, heavily indebted team missed its Sept. 1 loan payment, giving its lenders a breakaway chance to push the team into bankruptcy, a source with direct knowledge of the situation said.”

Full text of the story can be found here.

Upon first reading of this story, it would be easy to start assuming Newark will be losing its second professional sports team in less than five years (Remember the Nets are relocating to Brooklyn).

The Devils public relations team realized that the reputation impacts of this story could be quite severe and responded effectively to stop this story from snowballing.

A full recount of the Devil’s response can be found here.

By maintaining a professional tone and approach, the team was able to provide accurate statements as to the current financial standing of the team. Walking the line between providing facts and asking people to accept those facts is often times a challenge in the public relations world. The Devil’s public relations staff walked this line masterfully. The Devils provided the facts and leave it up to us whether we will trust the Post’s unnamed source versus the Devil’s professional staff. The staff at Evergreen will be eagerly monitoring this story to see how the New York Post responds to the Devil’s statement.