Crisis Communications


by Michelle Friedman

When do the off-duty actions of an employee affect the reputation of the leader of the company? When you lead one of the most recognized, most profitable organizations in the world and multiple star athletes get caught in abuse scandals, then you certainly have reason to worry. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has reason to worry.

Ray Rice Press Conference

In the past few weeks, athletes Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson have tied themselves up in domestic and child abuse scandals and have dragged Goodell and the entire league into a pit of criticism. Not long after video footage leaked showing Rice punching his then fiancé, news surfaced that Peterson hit his young son with a tree branch as form of punishment.

Fans and critics alike are questioning Goodell’s handling of the Rice situation and many are calling for his resignation and using #BoycottNFL on social media. Now, with the additional abuse case, Goodell’s every action will be under a microscope. What could Goodell have done to avoid this crisis to begin with? (more…)


by Don Silver

Social media is a great way to build your brand and increase your company’s visibility. Many companies such as Taco Bell, Old Spice and DiGiorno like to have fun with social media and interact with their customers and followers via Twitter. Brands tend to comment on trending topics and use popular hashtags, but it is important the companies and their social media experts understand and pay attention to what the hashtags really mean in order to avoid a PR disaster.twitter pizza

DiGiornio Pizza recently piggybacked on the trending topic of Ray Rice’s domestic abuse scandal using Twitter – and did so in order to promote its pizza.

What DiGiornio did wrong was big – the tweet completely missed the point of the hashtag. Rule number one – know what you are responding to.

What DiGiorno did right was everything else –following up carefully, personally, apologetically and honestly. Mistakes happen – correcting them is excellent crisis management.

Local companies as well as national ones can learn from DiGiorno’s error – don’t make the same mistake. More importantly, everyone can learn from the company’s response –by owning up to its error, and taking the high road, it will be back to fun, interesting tweets soon.

Click here to see how DiGiorno’s tweet caused an image problem and how they appropriately responded to the issue.


By Julie Talenfeld

LeBron James’ decision regarding where to take his talents this time around was the news story that transfixed the country – including media relations and marketing communications professionals. When and how it broke provided P.R. professionals and their clients several lessons in how to share big news, especially compared to how The Decision, Part II went down four years ago.

LeBron bids adieu to South Florida.This had all the trappings of a crisis communications dust-up in need of a P.R. pro skilled at diffusing bad situations. Fans of the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers over the past few weeks all sat breathlessly awaiting James’ word. Where would LeBron go? How would he announce it? Who would he upset this time?

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Boardroom Communications’ Executive Vice President Todd Templin recently gave a presentation on crisis communications to the South Florida chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America. Templin joined Kelley Kronenberg law partner Christy Brigman, who spoke about what contractors can do to protect their legal rights in the event of a major accident or other crisis.

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Speaking to risk managers and safety experts from some of the top construction companies in South Florida, Templin emphasized the need for companies to create a crisis communications plan and to review it on a regular basis.

He also spoke about some of the elements that should go into a plan such as: identifying risk areas that could lead to negative media exposure, assigning a communications team that can formulate media responses, assigning a media spokesperson who should  get media training ahead of time, creating a solid media list and developing  a social media plan to communicate your messages directly with the public and other stakeholders.


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by Julie Talenfeld

It’s been a big week for bold steps by large corporations – and compelling case studies for South Florida P.R. firms, business owners and social media savvy companies.  First, the week the Sochi Games are to begin, Olympic sponsor AT&T went public denouncing Russia’s laws against homosexuality. The company, which is not sponsoring the winter games, but sponsors the U.S. Olympic Committee, urged others to follow suit. Then, less than 24 hours later, CVS announced it would stop selling tobacco later this year. Both face potential economic, public-opinion and crisis communication fall out  from their decisions. Both said, ‘So what…?’

“Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose,” wrote Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark, in a press release. The company took the message to social media, too. Its Facebook includes a cigarette with the red slash.

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By Julie Talenfeld

We recently posted about the impact of social media on brands and business. But what lessons are there to be learned?

In the last few weeks, the new media marketing world exploded like a cache of shotguns at a hunting range when two episodes revealed the growing power and influence of social media. The marketing and crisis communications lessons for South Florida marketing executives at Fort Lauderdale law firms, Boca Raton retailers or Miami Beach condominium sales teams abound – if we all listen for the call.

First, Phil Robertson from A&E reality show, Duck Dynasty, was quoted making inflammatory comments about gays and African Americans in the upcoming January issue of GQ magazine. Everyone from activists to pundits to producers at A&E and even retailer Cracker Barrel reacted with knee-jerk speed.

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By Julie Talenfeld

It’s amazing the damage a duck can do. Or a poorly conceived tweet or social media post. Or a message carried around the world seemingly in less time than it takes a flight attendant to say, “Return your seat backs and tray tables to their upright and locked positions.”

The last two weeks have presented several examples of the power of social media.

First, the social media universe exploded like a cache of shotguns at a hunting range when Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the phenomenally successful A&E reality show, Duck Dynasty, was quoted making inflammatory comments about gays and African Americans in the upcoming January issue of GQ magazine. Activists charged him with being insensitive. Pundits claimed his First Amendment rights were being trampled. A&E, scared his flock would fly to rival show Swamp People, pulled the trigger on a minimalist response – shelving Robertson (albeit while the show was on a seasonal hiatus).

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By Julie Talenfeld

How Important Is Media Training in Your Leadership Skills Toolbox? Post a Comment or Visit Our Facebook

Image Courtesy TMT WorldwideAs a Fort Lauderdale public relations firm, we see the scenario play out all the time. The CEO of a Fort Lauderdale bank, managing partner of a Miami law firm, or principal of a Boca Raton retailer gets a call from the media. The reporter may want to include the executive in a positive feature story, or he or she may be calling about a crime with which the business, employee or fellow executive has been involved. Either way, how should the executive respond?

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By Julie Talenfeld

As a South Florida law firm or accounting firm, retailer or other business, what’s the biggest strategic risk you face? The economy? Competition? What about your reputation? You may already have a public relations firm on board, but a new national study finds most executives believe threats to their reputation are the most grave strategic risk they face.

The study, from Deloitte, found that reputational damage is considered the leading strategic risk for executives with large companies. This is up from third place among strategic risks feared by executives in 2010, according to the study.

How can your company help mitigate risks to its reputation? It starts with a reputation management plan. This can include…

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By Donald Silver

In 2008, the SEC filed a suit against billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban, claiming that Cuban violated federal securities laws in 2004 when he sold his entire stake in a Canadian Internet search company.

The case was dismissed in 2009, but a U.S. appeals court reversed that ruling, and the case became a jury trial that started earlier this week in Dallas.

Cuban was the biggest stockholder of Montreal-based Mamma.com, holding 6.3 percent of its shares. In a June 2004 phone conversation, Mamma.com then-Chief Executive Officer Guy Faure allegedly told Cuban he had confidential information for him and asked if he was interested in participating in a new offering that diluted the company’s shares by 8.5 percent. Near the end of the conversation, Cuban allegedly told Faure, “Now I’m screwed. I can’t sell.”

Shortly after that call, Cuban called his broker and told him to sell all his shares.

The next day Cuban’s broker sold all the shares, and Cuban avoided a $750,000 loss, according to the SEC.

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