United Airline’s Flawed Apology: 4 Lessons in Crisis Communications

United Apology Statement

by Gerard Braud So which of the three statements issued by United CEO Oscar Munoz should we believe? Monday he said, “This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers.” Later on Monday in a statement to employees he said, “While I deeply regret […]

Stop Unselling: Crisis Communications Tip for United Airlines

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By Gerard Braud Are you constantly amazed by how companies unsell you as a customer? Think about the millions of dollars spent and hours invested trying to get you to buy. Then in a heartbeat, they unsell you. When will companies learn to Stop Unselling? United Airlines had done just that with the video of […]

What should you do with your hands in a media interview? PR Discussion Question

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Should you sit with your hands folded together? If you are standing, should they be clasped as well? Or should you make the appropriate hand gestures as you speak? What could your nonverbals be saying about you during your media interview? It may seem like a simple question, but every minute detail counts when you […]

Maverick Media Training: 3 Secrets to Greater Media Interview Success

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By Gerard Braud (Editor’s note: You can learn more about this topic by attending Gerard Braud’s pre-conference session at the IABC World Conference in New Orleans. Register for only $250 today. “Rise to Perfection in Media Interviews” on Sunday, June 5, 2016 from 1:30–4:30 p.m.) Have you ever put a spokesperson through media training, only […]

Corporate Communicators Answered: What Do You Do When Leadership Listens to Lawyers more than the PR Team?

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By Gerard Braud – This week we asked you for your best public relations practices, like we do every week on the BraudCast. We wanted corporate communicators and PR professionals to weigh in on the question, “If Your Leadership Team Listens to Corporate Lawyers More Than They Listen to the Public Relations Team How Do […]

When Crisis Strikes: 3 Ways to Think, Act, and Communicate Like a Reporter

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– By Gerard Braud You can’t turn on the television without a major crisis, tragedy, or disaster dominating the 24-hour news cycle. Through what lens do you view these events? If you’ve never done so, try to watch events unfold with the eyes of a crisis communications expert. Focus on deadlines, timing, and how quickly, […]

Thank You Gifts from Gerard Braud

Delivering the closing keynote for IABC Calgary. Taking off my pants to prove a point  about the LuLu Lemon crisis of yoga pants wearing thin on the inner thighs.

As we approach Thanksgiving in the U.S. I’d like to express my gratitude to all of you with whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with in recent weeks and months. At each conference where I’ve been a speaker since September, I’ve promised various free resources to help you become an expert in […]

Can David Vitter Overcome Reputational Damage from a Crisis He Created?

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By Gerard Braud – In the world of crisis communications many will offer the expert advice that recovery is about reputational damage and repair. In the current political race for governor in Louisiana this week, the outcome will be decided on the consideration of how long reputational damage lasts and if a request for forgiveness […]

IABC Calgary Conference Podcast: Top Takeaway Crisis Communications Lessons

Delivering the closing keynote for IABC Calgary. Taking off my pants to prove a point  about the LuLu Lemon crisis of yoga pants wearing thin on the inner thighs.

As a keynote speaker at the IABC Canada-West Region Conference, I was asked to do a podcast discussing crisis communications lessons for public relations and communications professionals.  Vice President of IABC Calgary, Will Tigley interviews me to talk about crucial communications issues in today’s industry. Here were a few of the major crisis communications planning aspects to […]

Budgeting for 2016

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By Gerard Braud – For many of you it is budgeting season. You either ask for it now or you don’t get to do what you want a year from now. For others, it is that time of year where you have to spend unspent funds or lose them. That being said, I’m standing by […]

BraudCast Question: What is your best advice to persuade your executives or CEO to take a media training class?

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By Gerard Braud – CEOs and executives may fear embarrassment in a media training class, they may have a hectic schedule, or can’t justify spending their revenue on a media trainer. Public relations professionals and internal communications professionals often have a difficult time getting their CEO or executives to put media training on their calendar. […]

BraudCast Question: How quickly do you need to issue a public statement when a crisis happens?

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Organizations often spend hours writing press releases and public statements and reviewing them with their public relations professionals and legal teams before they are ever presented to the media. This only allows the media to become impatient and frustrated and eyewitnesses to begin speculating.  For effective crisis communications and employee communications, how fast should a company release a […]

BraudCast Question: Who should be your spokesperson in a crisis?

Q1 Thumbnail Gerard Braud

In the public relations industry there is often a debate about who should be the spokesperson for a company in a crisis. Some may argue that it should be the CEO or a senior executive, while others argue it should be a public relations professional. Please share your opinion with us and it may be […]

Tutorial #23 Your Official Responsibility as a Public Relations Professional or Corporate Spokesperson

Tutorial #23 by Gerard Braud – These 23 crisis communication tutorials are meant to inform you and help you realize  your official responsibility as a spokesperson. You need to communicate to the media within the first hour of a breaking crisis.  You can do this by uploading your own professionally done videos to the web, which also […]

Tutorial #21 Great New Technology for Uploading Videos to the Web During Your Crisis

Tutorial #21 by Gerard Braud– In this series of tutorials I have reviewed the basics on getting great audio, perfecting your lighting, and how to hold your smart device. In this tutorial, I am taking it a step further to show you some of the latest pieces of equipment I purchased that make iReporting or […]

Tutorial #20 “Crap is King” How to Report on the Not-So-Serious, but Fascinating Topics with Your Smartphone

Tutorial #20 By Gerard Braud – Although this series teaches public information officers (PIOs), emergency managers, and corporate spokespeople to upload videos to the web as an effective crisis communications strategy, it’s also important to note that “crap is king.”   In this tutorial, I encourage you to report on not just the serious crisis stories, […]

Tutorial #19 What is B-Roll? Why You Should Videotape it and Send it to the Media During Your Crisis

Tutorial #19 By Gerard Braud –   When uploading a video to the web or a CNN iReport during your crisis, you can either place yourself on camera as a narrator of events, or send video of an event that is still ongoing. The video of an event that is still happening is known in […]

Tutorial #18 How to Film a Reporter Style “Selfie” Standup with Your Smartphone

Tutorial #18 by Gerard Braud – You may be wondering why you would want to upload your own selfie videos to the web during your crisis. You might think it is the last thing you would want to do, or that it could make your organization vulnerable to more negative feedback or more negative press. However, filming […]

Tutorial #16 How to Add Simple Yet Effective Movement to Your Web Video

Tutorial #16 By Gerard Braud – If you decide to file a web video as part of your crisis communications or media relations strategy, you can speak directly to the media about your crisis. Not only can the media access it and view it, but so will your audiences such as customers and employees. Now […]

Tutorial #15 How to Prepare for a Live Skype Interview with Local or National Media

Tutorial # 15 By Gerard Braud – In this series of 23 articles and videos, you will learn the skills needed to film and publish an online news report video about your crisis. If your event is newsworthy and your video is shot professionally, it could lead to a live interview with local or national […]

Tutorial #14 How to Frame Your Crisis Communications Videos Properly

Tutorial #14 By Gerard Braud – Crisis communications videos are rarely created by corporate spokespeople, government officials, emergency managers, or public information officers (PIO). However, they are an extremely effective way to communicate with your audiences in a crisis. You can be the official spokesperson and speak directly to the media about your crisis, rather […]

Tutorial #11: Where to Look When Using Your iPhone or iPad for a Smartphone Selfie Video

Tutorial #11 By Gerard Braud – Learning to properly shoot smartphone videos as part of your crisis communications and media relations strategy is a skill every corporate spokesperson, Public Information Officer (PIO), or public relations professional should practice and perfect. You will want to also include training for your emergency manager who heads your emergency […]

7 Frightening Media Realities for Public Relations

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By Gerard Braud –- As the media changes, your media relations strategy must change with it. We covered these changes and strategies in detail at the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) conference in San Francisco during my Monday morning workshop, #IABC15 The Changing Media Landscape. For those of you who attended the workshop, this […]

Social Media Collides With Mainstream Media: The Changing Landscape of Media Interviews in Good Times & Bad

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By Gerard Braud – As social media and smart phones expand their reach, we are seeing a seismic shift that is sending tremors through the mainstream media landscape. This is creating both new challenges, as well as new opportunities for media spokespeople. Capitalizing on the opportunities requires you to adopt new approaches, learn new skills […]

4 Tips to Avoid the Worst Sentence in a News Release

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By Gerard Braud – The worst sentence to begin a news release is, “We are excited to announce…” If you hire a so-called public relations expert to write your news release and they write this, you should fire them. If you have written this yourself because you’ve seen others do the same thing, please stop. […]

4 Media Training Tips from Marco Rubio’s Interview with Chris Wallace

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By Gerard Braud – I’m irritated by how Chris Wallace conducted his interview with Marco Rubio on Fox News Sunday. The media interview is generating a barrage of news stories about where Rubio stands on the issue of whether the U.S. should have invaded Iraq. For the full context of this article, watch this clip […]

3 Key Human Resources Considerations & 5 Strategies for Employee Communications in a Crisis

By Gerard Braud – You’ve heard HR leaders and executives say it many times, “Our employees are our number one asset.” If this is true, should those same employees also become your most important audience when a crisis strikes? An increasing number of HR departments are taking the lead in crisis communications planning to make […]

Media Interview Mistakes of Jeb Bush: The Sequel

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By Gerard Braud – In yesterday’s blog we talked about the impact a bad media interview can have on a spokesperson, whether it is a candidate running for office or a corporate executive. In the article, we examined presidential candidate Jeb Bush and his interview with Fox News. One additional aspect of a bad interview […]

5 Crisis Communications Lessons from Dr. Oz

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By Gerard Braud – Dr. Mehmet Oz is in crisis communications mode. He has been making headlines in the media as medical colleagues criticize him for advice he gives and things he says on his syndicated television program. His hometown newspaper, the New Jersey Register, asked for my opinion on how Oz has begun to […]

When “It” Hits the Fan – Hurricane Season Readiness & Effective Communications

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By Gerard Braud – Forecasters are watching for what might be the development of the first hurricane of 2015.  This happens just as the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Association (LEPA) meets in Lake Charles, Louisiana, in advance of the official hurricane season. I’m delivering the opening keynote presentation to LEPA emergency managers this morning as we […]

4 Considerations When Speaking About the Baltimore Crisis

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By Gerard Braud What do you think about the crisis going on in Baltimore? Before you verbalize your answer, think not just about your answer to the question, but also the impact your answer could have on the reputation and revenue of your business. This is especially true for those of you who are in […]

Crisis Communications Through Technology and Social Media: The Earthquake Video

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By Gerard Braud – The day is coming when you will need to be an expert in crisis communication using smart phone technology and social media. Actually, you should already be an expert and it is just a matter of time before we discover if you are prepared. Saturday morning I turned on the Today […]

4 Refreshing Public Relations, Crisis Communication and Media Relations Phrases

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By Gerard Braud – In the past three weeks there have been three big public relations crises that have lead to unprecedented crisis communication. In these crises public relations professionals used phrases we should all say more often to the media, to our employees, and to our stakeholders. They include: I Was Wrong. I Made […]

ESPN – The Clock is Ticking #FireBrittMcHenry: It’s Not About Forgiveness, But About Character

By Gerard Braud – The clock is ticking for ESPN. Will they put Britt McHenry back on the air after a 7-day suspension due to her viral video rant? In many crisis situations, an expert might counsel both the offender and her employee on ways to 1) say I’m sorry and 2) to make amends. […]

When “It” Hits the Fan: A Crisis Communication Lesson on Speediness

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By Gerard Braud – It’s an honor to be invited to deliver the morning keynote presentation today to the SynGas 2015 Conference in Tulsa. You can view today’s handout here. The crisis communications lessons being discussed on stage serve as a reminder to everyone in the C-Suite, in emergency response, and in public relations, that […]

#FireBrittMcHenry: The ESPN Media & Social Media Crisis

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By Gerard Braud– How would you or your company handle the situation if one of your employees did what ESPN reporter Britt McHenry did? A media and social media crisis has been created for ESPN and McHenry when a video was posted that showed McHenry berating an employee of an auto towing company. At this […]

5 Media Training Lessons About Parsing Your Words So You Are Never Taken Out of Context

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By Gerard Braud – CEOs and other executives – in fact an enormous number of spokespeople I meet in media training classes — all complain that in their past, “The media took me out of context.” As we look at public relations lessons from political campaigns this week, we can examine the failed presidential campaign […]

Media Training Case Study: The Hillary Clinton Campaign

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By Gerard Braud – The media lessons of Herman Cain, in our last article, should be heeded well by the Hillary Clinton campaign as well as by all public relations experts, CEOs and executives. Lesson #1: Always consider the financial impact of your words. Lesson #2: When you have big negatives in your past, you […]

Media Training Case Study: Political Season Is Upon Us

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By Gerard Braud – In yesterday’s article I mentioned The New York Times called me Friday for a comment about Rand Paul’s hostile interview with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie. When the Times starts calling for observations, that means the political season is in full swing. You can learn a lot about your own media interview dos […]

Great Sound Bites for Dumb Questions: Lessons in Crisis Communication & Media Training

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By Gerard Braud The media, especially the 24 hour cable news channels, are asking some really dumb, speculative questions as they cover the tragic crash of Germanwings flight 9525. In media training the trainer should teach the spokesperson to never speculate. Yet many spokespeople don’t always deflect the speculative questions as well as I would […]

Social Media When “It” Hits the Fan

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By Gerard Braud – Why are so many powerful people oblivious to the potent, negative power of social media? Every day there is a new crisis communication case study and today it is from Aaron Schock, who has resigned as Congressman from Illinois. Schock created his own crisis with excessive selfies and posts on social […]

5 Crisis Communication Tips to Prevent Secret Service Style Delays

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By Gerard Braud – Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy said it took five days before he was informed that a car carrying two agents struck a security barrier outside the White House. How long does it take in your company for you to find out about an event that could be a potential crisis that […]

The Self-Centered Media and How it Affects You  

KSLA Gerard Braud Helicopter

By Gerard Braud – The media love their gadgets. They also love promoting their gadgets. At KSLA 12 in Shreveport, Louisiana, LifeEye12 was our mother ship. That is why I laughed so hard when the opening scene of the movie Anchorman shows Ron Burgundy stepping out of his helicopter. I’m not, however, laughing at CNN’s […]

Did the SNL ISIS Skit Go Too Far? A Lesson in Opinion Based Crisis Communications

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By Gerard Braud – In the classic sense, it is not a crisis, but there is an underlying crisis communications lesson regarding the Saturday Night Live sketch on February 28, 2015. Social media is buzzing with opinions about whether SNL went too far. SNL mocked a commercial where a father drops his daughter at the […]

When “It Hits the Fan: Effective Communications for Critical Times

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By Gerard Braud – The need for crisis communication has never been greater. The need for speed in crisis communications has never been greater. The reality is that if you experience an incident that the public knows about, you should be communicating to them about it in one hour or less. The biggest problem with […]

Media Interview Training Tips from Jimmy Kimmel and the Oscars

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By Gerard Braud Media interviews are often composed of opinion questions. Jimmy Kimmel Live provides us with today’s timely media interview perspectives, with interviews about the Oscars. As you watch and laugh at this, read on to the crisis communications tip at the end of this article. Reports are infamous for asking leading questions. In […]

Crisis Communication & Media Hide and Seek: The ExxonMobil Torrance Refinery Explosion

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By Gerard Braud – Where is the ExxonMobil news release for the ExxonMobil Torrance Refinery explosion? An explosion is a crisis, which requires expert crisis communications. The media would expect information on the corporate news release page. Media want it fast and easy to find. But look what you find on the ExxonMobil news release page […]

Brian Williams Suspended: Layers of a Media Crisis for NBC & Williams

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By Gerard Braud – Leave it to Jon Stewart to once again be the expert voice of reason in modern media. He clearly points out in this crisis that there is the “Brian Williams Anchorman” persona, and as I pointed out previously, the “Brian Williams Storyteller” persona at public events where he appears as a […]

Selecting the Right Spokesperson: Should it be Multiple People?

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Who should be your media spokesperson? In this series of blogs, we have reviewed the argument for the CEO serving as the spokesperson and the PR person serving as the media spokesperson. Consider option 3: Should a Variety of People Should Serve as Your Media Spokespeople? A subject matter expert, with proper media training, can be […]

How to Select the Right Spokesperson? Should it be the PR person?

Who should be your media spokesperson in a crisis? In a recent blog, we reviewed Argument #1: The CEO Should Always Be the Spokesperson. Now we can review Argument #2: When Should the PR Person Be the Spokesperson? The public relations person is an excellent choice as a spokesperson in the first hour of the crisis when […]

Super Bowl Media Interviews: How to Manipulate What a Reporter Writes

How often do you do a media interview with the intended goal of having a specific quote used by the media? It is one of my intended goals for every media spokesperson in every media training class I teach, and here’s why… Every reporter writes their story around your quote. And guess what? You can […]

Crisis Communication Lessons for the Super Bowl Bound New England Patriots

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Why are we still talking about deflated footballs days before the Super Bowl? Best in class public relations, expert crisis communications, and expert media relations can be personified by not letting a little issue grow into a big issue. If a small weed grows in my garden, I pull it right away so it doesn’t […]

Did New York City Overreact? A Crisis Communications Case Study

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Yesterday’s crisis communications blog regarding the winter storm Juno and the #Blizzardof2015 promoted the idea of managing the expectations of those who will be affected by a crisis. Today, some critics are saying New York City overreacted. Two observations: 1) The people who complain about “overreacting” are idiots. These would be the same people who […]

Marshawn Lynch and the High Cost of Super Bowl Media Interviews

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With Super Bowl media day at hand, Marshawn Lynch, the media shy Seattle Seahawk, can expect more attention for what he does NOT say than what he DOES say. In the past the NFL has issued fines as high as $100,000 for Lynch, because he didn’t want to talk to the media. Can Marshawn’s media […]

Selecting the Right Spokesperson: Should it be the CEO?

In public relations, media training and crisis communications training, there are many debates about who should be your spokesperson for media interviews. Many companies want to use their CEO as the only spokesperson based on the belief that it allows the company to speak with one voice. Do you agree with that or disagree? I […]

My Mentor is Dead

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Wiley Hilburn, Jr. has died. He is the man who shaped my writing and my career as a journalist. Each day, I think of myself first as a writer, knowing that writing is the root of my media training and crisis communications programs. Likewise, my skills as a journalist and television reporter, cultivated by Wiley, […]

The Fog of Decision Paralysis: A Lesson in Crisis Behavior

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You should know it is fog season in New Orleans. With fog season comes some significant lessons about human behavior in a crisis. Dive in with me, if you will, on an incredibly foggy morning. We are crossing a 12 mile long bridge over Lake Pontchartrain from Mandeville, Louisiana to New Orleans. We’re on this […]

Public Relations Help for the Asking

Gerard Braud PR Help

Today’s public relations epiphany is that too many people in public relations fail to ask for help when they need it. There are many sources for expert help and advice. There are great professional organizations like the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), the Canadian Public Relations Society […]

A PR Epiphany About Your Value As a Public Relations Expert

Gerard Braud Epiphany PR

Did you find your moment of public relations epiphany following yesterday’s blog and BraudCast video? I’d love for you to write me at gerard@braudcommunications.com and tell me what it is. In addition to yesterday’s epiphany, there are several others I’d like to share with you as we all work together as communications professionals seeking to achieve effective […]

What is Your Public Relations & Personal Epiphany?

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  I’d like you to stop for a moment as you plan for the New Year and your public relations goals. Reflect if you will, on the year that just ended, as well as the years before. Today is the Day of Epiphany, and I’d like to challenge you to identify moments of epiphany in […]

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

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It is time to turn your corporate work brain off. It is time to rest. We’ll be taking our blog silent until January 5, 2015. But before we go, you deserve a special thank you. Your loyalty, support and readership over these many years is constantly appreciated. Many of you have grown from being colleagues […]

Scroogenomics and the Company Christmas Party

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In this joyous time of the year, have you noticed how grumpy some people are about their company Christmas party? Well, have you heard of Scroogenomics? And does it apply to your company Christmas party? Do you hear these things where you work? Our party is so lame. I wish I didn’t have to go […]

Social Media Force Fit at KFC

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By Gerard Braud A soft drink cup at KFC screamed, “SOCIAL MEDIA FORCE FIT,” as I munched on my original recipe drum stick. The cup had the hashtag “#HowDoYouKFC?” Nothing says uncool like adults trying to get young people to be cool by doing something uncool in an attempt to be cool. (Did you follow […]

You’re “Excited” AND “Pleased” ??? Wow, That’s Effective Communications: NOT

What if you learned that your writing and communications skills are really are sub-par? Would you want someone to tell you? Here is an example– An IABC e-mail just reached my inbox. The lead sentence says, “I’m excited about…” That is sub-par writing and public relations. It is shocking that public relations people cannot write […]

How Do I Get a Seat at the Table? Times of Crisis Management and Crisis Communications Present an Opportunity

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Public relations people constantly ask, “How do I get a seat at the table?” The short answer for now is to take advantage of the Ebola hysteria. The seats are not handed out at the table. The seats are taken. During a time of crisis or potential crisis, leadership can be displayed by those who […]

Ebola Crisis Communications, Finding God, and Your Leadership Team

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Executives and crisis communications enthusiasts remind me of criminals who find God 15 minutes after then enter prison, then forget God 15 minutes after they are back on the street. Here’s why… True story from this week: The president of an institution wants crisis communications help now! Why? Because a crisis is at their door, […]

Ebola Crisis Communication: Webinar Follow-up Resources

Here are the crisis communications, crisis management, and public relations resources promised in the Friday, October 17, 2014 CommPro.biz webinar and on the October 27, 2014 IABC webinar: First Critical Statement: In crisis communications, you should have two types of pre-written communication documents. The first is for fast release, called a “First Critical Statement.” Some companies call […]

Ebola Crisis Communication Planning and Crisis Management Planning

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Is it too soon to talk about your Ebola crisis communications strategies and plan? A New York based public relations professional asked me that question today. I responded by saying, “Why wait? One week ago no one in Dallas gave Ebola crisis communications a second thought. Today, at lease 14 businesses and government entities have […]

Crisis Communication Leadership: Power of a Resignation

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It is always a good thing in crisis management when the person at the top says, “The buck stops here,” and they are willing to resign because a significant crisis happened under their watch. Listen to my opinion with Radio Host Kate Delaney:   This does 2 things. From a public relations and crisis communications […]

NFL Crisis Sets Off Cynics

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Don’t set me off. I’m a cynic. The NFL crisis and its flawed communications strategy continues to set off the cynic in me. A huge part of my crisis communications plan strategy and the crisis management advice provided to my clients is based upon understanding how to effectively communicate to the cynics. Sunday night the […]

Corporate Whitewashing

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By Gerard Braud The NFL now has two strikes against it for throwing money at advocacy groups and causes as a way to make it appear they care about an issue. Is this corporate whitewashing? It wasn’t until concussion issues became part of a high-profile lawsuit that the NFL began donating money to groups who […]

3 Questions to Ask about the Intersection of Crisis Management, Crisis Communication, and Crisis Communications Plans: The NFL

By Gerard Braud Another crisis management and crisis communication lesson plays out in the NFL as the Associated Press reports the NFL had a copy of the videotape showing Ray Rice punching his fiance in the face. This exposes a crisis management and crisis communication weakness found in many organizations, which either involves leaders intentionally […]

4 Crisis Communications Lessons as the NFL Management Struggles with the Ray Rice Smoldering Crisis

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By Gerard Braud The NFL has a crisis. Do they have a plan? Will the crisis get worse because of non-verbal communications? Can the NFL management communicate their way out of the crisis? Below are some observations and suggestions to help you cope with your own corporate crisis. The non-verbal message from the NFL is […]

Key Messages That Convey What’s In It For Your Audience: Apple iPhone 6

By Gerard Braud As I watch the Apple iPhone 6 roll out, I’m hearing lots of technical stuff. That’s great if you are a techno geek who cares about screen size, pixels and data points. But what does the new iPhone 6 do to make my life better? As a consumer where is the “What’s […]

3 Ways to Refocus for Fall and Beyond: Better Public Relations After Summer’s Distractions

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By Gerard Braud Is “work – life” balance possible for people in public relations? Experience tells me many public relations professionals get stressed trying to complete job tasks while also balancing their family or personal life, especially this time of year. Look at your life today, for example. The kids are back in school. The […]