The Three People Every Crisis Communications Team Needs

The Three People Every Crisis Communications Team Needs

Crises are stressful. No matter how well you think you’re prepared, you can’t be sure until you need to activate your crisis communications plan. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to crisis preparation. Every organization different, which means every crisis communications plan will be different. However, there are three people that should be included in every plan – they are your Crisis Management Dream Team.

1.Crisis Team Leader. The Crisis Team Leader is the captain. They are accountable for determining the course of action. The Crisis Team Leader may be you, someone else from your organization, or someone you hire with experience managing communication strategy during a crisis.

2. Crisis Analyst. Coverage of the crisis will unfold online and offline. The role of the crisis analyst is to monitor the crisis in real time and alert the crisis team to spikes in activity and trends. I recommend they prepare two to three reports each day for the first two to three days after the crisis begins. These reports will help the Team Leader determine how best to manage a response.

3. Crisis Community Manager. The role of the crisis community manager is to triage messages that come in and ensure that those issues are addresses. Your social media channels will require more attention than every before during a crisis.

Practice, Practice, Practice. Former Baltimore Orioles manager, Cal Ripken, Sr. was famous for saying, “Perfect practice, makes perfect.” You won’t know how well your crisis plan works if you don’t practice. It’s the best time to find points of weakness and it will help your team solidify or adjust roles and responsibilities.

Final Thoughts. It’s important that when a crisis occurs you know who is responsible for calling other members of the team and the organization. The Crisis Team Leader will be responsible for the first call. I strongly recommend that there is a back up person for each member of the Crisis Communications Team and other people in your organization that may be called during crisis. If a senior executive doesn’t have access to the connected world, who will make the executive decision?

By : Brandon Wright /August 31, 2014 /branding, crisis, strategy, Uncategorized /Comments Off on The Three People Every Crisis Communications Team Needs Read More

Annapolis Needs Uber

As the mayor and council weigh cutting bus routes to close a one million dollar gap in the transportation budget, Uber, a technology company that connects riders with drivers, tried to offer safe transportation alternatives to Annapolis residents. Unfortunately the mayor has confused Uber with a taxicab company, despite the Maryland Public Service Commission’s recent announcement that it isn’t.

The Republican mayor’s decision stands in stark contrast to the Republican free market principles and entrepreneurial spirit that make our country and our economic system the greatest in the world. Annapolis already has a reputation for being unfriendly to business and this protectionist approach only strengthens that claim. We do not need the government standing in the way of innovation, limiting consumer choices and interfering in the free market. We need a government that encourages innovation and economic freedom.

There are many reasons to enjoy Uber; their business model is innovative. They pay their own drivers, handle their own licensing and background checks, and set their prices based on market demand, not flat fees. As a result their cars are often cleaner, more dependable and more economical than regulated taxis.

Uber has reached compromises with major cities like New York, Washington, DC, and Richmond. I hope they will reach an agreement that recognizes Uber as a common carrier like the PSC and allows it compete with the taxi cab industry in Annapolis. I hope Annapolis will join them so residents have more transportation alternatives that are safe, clean, and convenient.

By : Brandon Wright /August 12, 2014 /Annapolis, Blog, politics, Uber /Comments Off on Annapolis Needs Uber Read More

A Better Newsletter

A Better Newsletter

Newsletters are a free tool to communicate directly with your audience. When done well, newsletters can be an effective vehicle for your message.

Unfortunately, too many bad newsletters are arriving daily in my inbox or I see them on Facebook and Twitter. I know the author’s mean well but they either miss the mark or aren’t as effective as they could be.

I have seen a few good newsletters and I believe they all have a five things in common.

  • Short paragraphs. Email inboxes are overwhelmed with clutter and your readers don’t want to spend a lot of time or effort reading your newsletter. Keep your paragraphs short and get to your point.

  • Clear Call to Action. To be brief and successful, the newsletter must draw the reader’s eye to the Call to Action – that thing you want the reader to do. Whether it is donate, share, or take some other action, it must be obvious and easy to do.

  • Include Links. If the whole purpose of your newsletter is to share information, take the extra step and include the link to the article, video, a fact sheet, etc.

  • More Images, Less Text. Where you can, include images to make your point. For the same reason short paragraphs work, the fewer words you use the better.

  • Social Buttons. Take advantage of social sharing tools, like Twitter and Facebook so your audience can share your newsletter with their friends.

If you need help with your newsletter or would like to discuss how you can improve your newsletter, please contact me by phone at 443-758-5542 or via email at brandon@bpwright.com.

You can click here to subscribe to my weekly newsletter.

By : Brandon Wright /January 29, 2014 /Uncategorized /Comments Off on A Better Newsletter Read More

Crisis Communications: The Good, The Bad, and the Meh

The Good, The Bad, and the Meh

Since the beginning of the year three significant public relations crisis occured that offer contrasting views on how best to respond when mistakes occur and a decision you thought was the best turns disastrous. Two events received national attention and the third more local and each one was handled differently – some with more success than the others. The three events can best be described as the Good, the Bad, and the Meh.

The Good

You might recall the Southwest Airlines flight that landed at the wrong airport. Southwest took immediate action to acknowledge the error, cooperate with investigating authorities and more importantly, reunite the passengers with their luggage, refund them the cost of their ticket and give them vouchers good for future flights.

Southwest did everything right. They didn’t hide from the mistake and took immediate action to assist the authorities, and responded to the passengers needs engendering goodwill and strengthing brand loyalty. Whether Southwest Airlines was prepared for such a situtation or not, their response is an example how to handle a crisis.

The Bad

Southwest’s response stands in stark contrast to the response from Freedom Industries, the company responsible for the chemical spill in Charleston, West Virginia, which prevented many people from drinking the water for nearly a week.

Company executives played down the dangers of the spill from the beginning and when the company did hold a press conference, Freedom Industries’ president Gary Southern took a only few questions because, as he admitted, he was tired.

This is similar to the response given by BP’s then-CEO, Tony Hayward when he said he just wanted his life back during the Gulf Oil Spill. Embattled CEOs cannot afford to be cavalier and dismissive toward the media.

The media is their friend and should be used to communicate completely and openly with the public.  Until Freedom Industries becomes more forthcoming with information and appears to be cooperating rather than hiding, they can expect increased scrutiny and mistrust.

The Meh

Locally, the Anne Arundel County Public Schools took a lot of heat from parents recently for not closing or delaying the start of school due to icy road conditions that developed in the early morning hours. Most other surrounding counties either canceled or delayed school openings in response to the weather and the dangerous travel conditions.

Parents took to social media to admonish the school system and the media used Facebook and Twitter to solicit sources for stories.

Later in the day, AACPS officials released a statement explaining that they made the best decision they could with the information they had at the time and students would not be penalized if parents kept them home or brought them to school late.

Parents and others were not satisfied by this decision and only later did the AACPS publish a lengthy apology explaining that it was wrong not to cancel or delay the start of school considering the changing weather conditions and they will do better next time.

Decisions like these won’t please everyone. There’s always a group that thinks you should open schools on time despite the weather and vice versa. I applaud the school system for acknowledging its mistake and reviewing it’s policies and procedures to prevent a similar error in the future. This would have been a case study in what to do right if AACPS had owned up to its mistake earlier rather take the middle-of-the-road approach with the first letter.

One of the most important responsibilities the school system has is to keep children safe. If they put kids first, it’s hard to blame for the decisions they make.

By : Brandon Wright /January 16, 2014 /Blog, crisis, News, Uncategorized /Comments Off on Crisis Communications: The Good, The Bad, and the Meh Read More

Don’t Build or Update Your Website Until You Can Answer these Four Questions

Don’t Build or Update Your Website Until You Can Answer these Four Questions

We are near the end of the year and while most people are looking back at 2013 I’m looking at 2014 and you probably are too. If you’re thinking about a website or redesigning and existing site, stop. Don’t do anything until you can answer these four questions.

Why do you want or need a website?

Just not everyone needs a website. Websites take work. They evolve. If you don’t have the time or resources to commit to keeping it updated with useful content then you are better off not having a website. Sometimes nothing is better than something.

Websites are a great way to communicate with your audience. They can provide important information and collect valuable data. You need to know why you want a website before you build one.

What do you want your website to do for you?

You shouldn’t have a website just because your competitors have one or because you think need one. Without an understanding of what you want from your website don’t waste your time or your audiences’ time.

Frequently websites are used to share information and collect data about visitors. Understanding how you or your organization will benefit from your website is important.

What do you people to do when they come to your site? 

When people come to your site what do you want them to do? What is the call to action? Often it is fill out a form or request information. A well designed site is free of clutter and draws the eye to the call to action. Make it clear what you want your visitors to do and make it easy for them to do it.

Who do you want to use your website?

You can’t forget your target audience. You must know which subset of the public you want to reach. If your target audience is too broad (everyone) or too narrow (left-handed dentists with brown hair), it is likely to be reflected in the analytics.

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We would be glad to help you with your web design needs. If you have questions or need help answering these questions, please call us at 443.7.58.5542 or send us an email at brandon@bpwright.com.

By : Brandon Wright /December 24, 2013 /advertising, Blog, branding, Design, social media, strategy, Uncategorized, Web Design /Comments Off on Don’t Build or Update Your Website Until You Can Answer these Four Questions Read More

Five for Friday – August 9, 2013

Five for Friday 

Here are my top five articles from the advertising and marketing industries this week. Please enjoy!

By : Brandon Wright /August 09, 2013 /advertising, Blog, branding, Design, Development, engagement, Five for Friday, journalism /Comments Off on Five for Friday – August 9, 2013 Read More

Five for Friday – July 26, 2013

Happy Friday folks!

Here are a few stories from the worlds of marketing and advertising that you might have missed this week.

How Teens Are Changing Social Networking [INFOGRAPHIC]

People Are Reading Fewer Marketing Emails Thanks to Gmail’s New Inbox

Facebook Flexes Mobile Muscle

Welcoming a Royal Baby While Trying Not to Steal the Spotlight

Five top tips on choosing the right PR agency

By : Brandon Wright /July 26, 2013 /Uncategorized /Comments Off on Five for Friday – July 26, 2013 Read More

Five for Friday – July 5, 2013

Here is the latest news from the advertising, PR, and marketing industries. Enjoy!
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Read my magazine, Digital Media Weekly for more great articles!
By : Brandon Wright /July 05, 2013 /advertising, Blog, branding, Design, Development, engagement, Five for Friday, journalism /Comments Off on Five for Friday – July 5, 2013 Read More

Five for Friday – June 21, 2013

Here are my five favorite stories this week from the advertising and marketing industries. Enjoy!

The Week’s Finest Digital Marketing Infographic

George Lois and Lee Clow on the Future of Advertising

7 Ways to To Use Pinterest to Cross-Promote Your Business

Read my magazine, Social Media Weekly for more great articles!
By : Brandon Wright /June 21, 2013 /advertising, Blog, branding, Design, Development, engagement, Five for Friday, journalism /Comments Off on Five for Friday – June 21, 2013 Read More

Five for Friday – June 14, 2013

Here’s a few articles this week about marketing and advertising I like. Read my magazine, Social Media Weekly for more great articles!

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How to Promote Your Content Across Owned, Earned, and Paid Media

Avoid These 10 Twitter Mistakes

Facebook Hashtags are Here!

33% of Americans Own Tablets

How Oreo Celebrates Father’s Day

Read my magazine, Social Media Weekly for more great articles!

By : Brandon Wright /June 14, 2013 /advertising, branding, Design, engagement, Five for Friday, journalism /Comments Off on Five for Friday – June 14, 2013 Read More