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The results of a study conducted recently by Forbes Insights for Deloitte, published in “A Crisis of Confidence,” offer a startling but predictable outcome: there is a gap between large companies’ awareness of potential threats and the preparation to actually manage them.Among the key findings: 76% of corporate board members surveyed believe their companies would respond effectively to a crisis.  Yet less than half report that their companies monitor to detect probable crises, and less than one-third conduct crisis management simulations or training. Among those vulnerabilities that rank highest among board members (73%) is corporate reputation, yet ...
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The media continue to be filled with stories about companies that fail to manage crisis situations, costing them millions in damage, fines and reparations, lost revenue and lost jobs.  Many of those failures can be tracked to a few common causes: 1) lack of attention to the identification and assessment of risks, 2) weak leadership commitment to effective risk mitigation and crisis management, 3) no crisis communication plan, and 4) no process to assess, investigate and mitigate a crisis. A risk management plan alone is not enough. As part of an effective enterprise risk management program, leaders need to make the right moves when a crisis occurs to ...
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Do you follow Merriam-Webster on social media? If not, you’re missing out.  Not only do they give us insight into trends, they track popular word searches, authenticate new words that make it into the lexicon, and pick “words of the year.” PR practitioners know better than most that words matter. So it makes sense that how you describe yourself and your work also matters. A solopreneur is a person who sets up and runs a business – solo. Example: ‘being a solopreneur has forced me to learn how to handle all aspects of business.’ So true – you are the payroll administrator, IT director, accountant, client relationship manager, writer, event wrangler – and ...
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Although it seems that every year the practice of sending Christmas cards diminishes, our PR firm still maintains the tradition. While some clients may dismiss them, others pay a great deal of attention. I found a cute message from a client and close friend, who in 2005 received a card from Marketing Strategies that was damaged in transit. Here is how we averted this crisis. Here, also are ten humorous things you can do with those cards you received, considering, of course, that you received a few traditional greetings. We regret that your high-gloss, four-color Christmas postcard arrived in poor condition. We are alerting the authorities. We can take ...
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To give or not to give during the holidays! It’s that time of year – when charitable donations are doled out for the tax year and fundraisers are hitting Facebook. But how many of you remember the journalists and newsrooms you work with each year? Oh sure, the doughnut, cookie or pizza pile is always welcome in a newsroom stretched thin around the holidays. And the free food is almost always mentioned in social media tags. But it may be somewhat complicated for a journalist to accept well-intended holiday goodies from a public relations colleague. A few thoughts (and tips) on recognizing media during the holidays: 1) Remember that most newsrooms ...
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Anthony Bolton got into internal communications because he wanted a steady writing gig. But what he found was a job that went far beyond intranet content and newsletters, and straight to the heart of helping employees love their experience at work. Find out how he’s leading the charge at Gulfstream Aerospace and why he decided to head up our Connect 19 employee communications conference. First, the basics: Tell us a little bit about what you do and where you work. I lead the employee communications function at Gulfstream Aerospace . I’m based in beautiful Savannah, GA.   What drew you to the world of employee communications? I kind of fell ...
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The midterms are here. Don’t underestimate their importance. If you have earned the right to vote, let your voice be heard. Be proud of who you are and what you stand for. Here is what Oprah Winfrey said about voting. As a woman who has worked hard for her rights, I find Oprah’s words inspiring and beautiful. (Reprinted from RealClearPolitics.) OPRAH WINFREY: All of us may have been created equal, but if you're woke, if you're woke just a little bit you have the sense to know that everybody is not treated equally. The reality is we see injustices big and small all around us every single day of our lives... Every single one of us, every single one ...
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Crises are Inevitable. The likelihood that a highly threatening, unexpected event will hit your business has never been higher. In a survey conducted by PwC of 164 CEO’s worldwide, 65 percent of respondents reported experiencing at least one crisis since 2013, and 15 percent had experienced five or more. A crisis communications plan is a crucial component of any disaster plan. It can act as a guide to help you quickly contain the crisis and recover from its impact. Whether it's a weather disaster, a highly publicized lawsuit or a lousy product review, your reaction should be immediate, focused and emphatic. Crisis Communications: Lessons Learned from Horror ...
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Today is the 112 th birthday of the press release. On October 30, 1906, the New York Times printed verbatim the very first press release written by Ivy Lee, the “father of modern PR.” The Pennsylvania Railroad was a client of Ivy Lee, and on October 28th, 1906, 50 people lost their lives due to a three-car train jumping a trestle in New Jersey and plunging into a thoroughfare creek. In response to this, Ivy Lee created the first press release that afternoon. He not only convinced the railroad to distribute a public statement, but he also convinced them to provide a special train to get reporters to the scene of the accident. The New York Times was so impressed ...
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Savvy professionals ask the tough question of management: why don’t we have a crisis communication plan? As a crisis communication consultant, I have seen countless examples of organizations that either don’t have a crisis communication plan, or fail to effectively implement the one they have.  Numerous studies confirm that only about half of all organizations have any kind of crisis plan.  So, what’s the excuse for the other half? Here’s what I think:  Crisis prevention isn’t sexy. It’s boring.  And denial is far too easy.  ‘That will never happen to our company’ is an all-too-common excuse for not investing in a crisis communication plan. These days, when ...
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Today’s 24/7 media environment gives an immediate and constant voice to stakeholders. The information they share can be just as consequential as journalists reporting facts. Our organizations need not only a strong crisis communications plan but also strong issues management daily practices. Here are some tips for helping your organization prepare for and weather crisis situations. 1. Craft a crisis communications plan (or update it). 2. Get a seat at the table where organizational and operational risks are discussed (risk management meeting, etc.). 3. Maintain 24/7 on-call status for the public relations staff. 4. Brainstorm potential issues and situations; ...
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Over the weekend I tackled the most challenging physical activity I have ever undertaken - a 125 mile bicycle ride with over 16,000 feet of climbing. (That's me in the photo above on one of the downhills.) To give some perspective, my ride was the equivalent of cycling from Manhattan (New York City) to the very end of Long Island (the Montauk Point Lighthouse) and climbing more than the height of Europe’s tallest mountain (Mont Blanc at 15,781ft) on the way.  It wasn’t a single climb. Rather the ride was a series of peaks and valleys; a slow push up , followed by the speedy rush of a long downhill. It took me the entire day to finish the ride – with seven ...
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I have been out of college for almost 2 years now and am having difficulty landing a new position due to lack of experience, new to the field, etc. I have found that most places that offer internships will not usually allow a graduate the opportunity. With being impacted by a recent restructure at my full-time job, I am on the search for a new position and unfortunately haven't been able to tie anything down. Can anyone offer any suggestions, tips or companies they know of that are looking for entry level public relations people? Thank you in advance! Best Regards, Donunshae
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Let’s start off with complete transparency… I’ve only been in the PR and Communications industry for six years! If you’re still reading, you’re probably one of the people who accepts change and has an understanding that the PR, Marketing, Digital, Social and Advertising spaces are slowly merging. With that integration comes the need for the acceptance of fresh ideas and the adaptation to “New.” I’d like to digress for a moment, if I may. As a former professional athlete, I learned early on that adapting and continuing to push the boundaries of physical and mental capabilities were a MUST to compete at a high level. (To this day my mind still thinks I can perform ...
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I've posted a position description for a public relations intern in my office but haven't received any interest. What are some best practices in recruiting people to apply? It's unpaid but offers college credit. I have shared it with local university public relations programs and in our weekly email updates.
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In three months as of this writing, the PRSA National Assembly will gather in Austin, Texas, to debate and vote on new bylaw proposals . . . several of which focus on ethics reforms proposed by my colleague, Susan Hart, APR, Fellow PRSA, and me – aimed at correcting major systemic flaws in PRSA’s ethical compliance and accountability functions. However, before such a significant task can be undertaken in a fully informed manner, it’s critical for ALL PRSA members to share a uniform , unified understanding of the Society’s ethical foundation and how it works (or doesn’t work).  Assembly delegates also need to share this understanding – without ...
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Good morning, everyone. It's the Fifth of July, so I didn't get a lot of sleep last night. Maybe that's why I decided to start this blog today of all days! I have a personal blog that probably reveals just a little too much about my Opinions (capital O definitely intended) to be used as my professional blog as well. I hope to make this blog an ongoing discussion about ethics and diversity (two subjects about which I'm very passionate, as well as Opinionated) in the PR profession as well as within PRSA itself. I also plan to talk about media ethics, news, the concept of "spin" and other charged words the media often use, the ongoing need for PR to fight its way ...
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The journey to earning your accreditation in public relations (APR) can be a rigorous process. You must complete an application, study, present a campaign portfolio to a panel of APR peers, complete a computer-based examination and demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning through maintenance. Some may see the designation as being overrated, not worth it or too time-consuming. But that’s the point, isn’t it? It is estimated that there are only 5,000 accredited professionals worldwide. Making those with the APR designation a relatively small but distinguished group of practitioners. In full transparency, this past year, the organization I work ...
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In an increasingly visual and interactive world, photography—let me emphasize, GOOD photography—has never been more important. Far too often, photography is an after-thought, a line item that receives low priority in the marketing/PR budget and is not clearly understood by the client. Today, more often than not, photography is relegated to an employee or staffer who has more interest in the subject than skill. Perhaps there is no place where image-building photography is more important than in the PR industry. Photos can make or break a story. They promote a brand. They deliver a message. There is no doubt that good photography helps influence a journalist’s ...
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We live in a complex world.  Our offices, cars and even our household appliances function at the hand of a computer.  Television commercials for drugs have more disclaimers than content, and just recently General Electric released the 109,894-word annual report with approximately two-and-a-half times more words than the ‘Great Gatsby.’   Do you listen to those disclaimers delivered at the speed of sound or read those voluminous reports that take corporations and their PR firms weeks to prepare? Just as I thought--very few of you.  Granted some industries, like medicine and financial services and corporations doing business internationally, require this ...
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