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Everywhere you look—in print, on websites and across social media—negative news abounds. Those stories make for interesting reading unless, of course, the focus of the article is your own organization or individuals associated with it. Recently, we hosted a webinar entitled, “Preparing for the Storm: Tracking Negative Media Coverage Before It Sinks Your Brand.” We brought together PR and media intelligence experts to share insights and advice on proactively managing negative news: Alan Abitbol, Assistant Professor of Public Relations at the University of Dayton; Joe Shields, Partner and Senior Counselor at PR firm Wordsworth Communications; and Thomas Stoeckle, Segment Leader, Global Media Intelligence at LexisNexis®. If you didn’t have opportunity to attend the webinar in person, view the recording today. Read on for a preview of what the experts had to say.
PR pros and meteorologists have a lot in common. Both need to monitor and analyze information to predict the future—not an easy task. And experience shows that when those predictions don’t pan out, the prognosticators bear the blame even if the cause is out of their control. During the webinar, our panelists discussed the types of crises they’ve encountered—from managing jabs from opponents in political campaigns to helping brands respond effectively when a threat appears on the horizon. Let’s look more closely at one crucial component of crisis management.
Pre-crisis preparation—Tornados can spin up, seemingly from nowhere, taking people by surprise. Recognizing the unpredictability is, however, the first step in being prepared. Just as communities in tornado-prone regions test their warning equipment monthly and monitor for signs of a turn in the weather, pre-crisis preparation is critical to your PR success. Alan Abitbol suggests that you develop a threat appraisal model that allows you to monitor for and assess potential threats, determine your organization’s stance and then vigorously support that stance. How do you get there?
Want more details? Listen to the webinar recording for real-world examples of how organizations handle negative media coverage—what works, what doesn’t—and the tools that can make media monitoring and analysis easier.
Crises, like storms, are inevitable. What’s most important is your ability to prepare for and manage those events. As Alan Abitbol notes in the webinar, “Research shows that how an organization prepares for and tackles a crisis actually affects reputation.” When seven people died from cyanide-laced Tylenol in 1982, many predicted the brand wouldn’t survive. Johnson & Johnson’s crisis management approach—quickly pulling product from the shelves, launching tamper-proof packaging two months later and supporting those changes with a major media campaign—allowed the brand to recover to nearly pre-crisis sales within a year. James Burke, the company’s chairman, won respect from business leaders and consumers alike for his transparency in dealing with the crisis, proving you can ride out a storm successfully if you manage negative media coverage appropriately.