October 4, 2022

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

Bad day at the office? Read This. (And Other PR Blog Jots)

Bad day at the office? Read This. (And Other PR Blog Jots)

A misdirected email leads to a company crisis

A Shel of my Former Self

In what could easily be subtitled “Rose and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” Shel points to a scenario that will probably keep HR managers across the country awake at night for the foreseeable future. Carat Media’s HR department, preparing for layoffs, developed talking points and messaging to assist the managers who were going to be the ones delivering the bad news to employees. Only instead of sending the email to the management staff, the documents were sent to everyone in the company. While comments on some blogs discuss the merits of firing Rose Zory, the “Chief People Officer,” Shel tackles the thornier issue of how to handle the situation with the staff. He suggests: “The first decision the company should make is to take the hits. Being defensive won’t help. Admit this was a horrible mistake and just deal with–even agree with–the criticism.  Next, acknowledge that nothing is going to fix the situation. It will take time–and positive action–to rebuild the company’s damaged reputation. Be utterly transparent about all this. No equivocation, no hunkering down. Admit and elaborate on plans that were exposed in the email, even if your original intent was to keep them quiet.”

Quick on The Draw

Engage in PR

Kyle Flaherty examines the other side of the same story–in an era of rapid and easy communications, what steps should a company take to prevent this from happening? He makes six suggestions for controlling the flow of communication that might prevent such a blunder from happening, including: “Minimize the amount of people who touch these communications.  Sure it’s always nice to involve a bunch of folks because you want to be nice, but STOP it and own it yourself.  Not everyone has to see everything and it will protect more people at the end of the day.” And:  “Put these documents on your hard drive, not the network.  Reduce the chance for people to find it and/or send it out by mistake.”

Scaling Social Media Requires Community

Communications Overtones

With the phrase “does it scale” becoming almost as common as “will it blend?” (No, not really, I’m kidding!), Kami looks at how social media communications can efficiently scale. The method she sets forth is to have brands participate and communicate with communities, which is scalable, versus developing relationships between brands and individuals, which is not. “This community-based approach scales much more readily than the one-to-one relationship approach. In other words, you can’t see these two-dimensional “relationships” that are formed out of common interest and needs as being the kind you share with a sister, brother, or those in your closest circle where Dunbar’s number is the rule – which has a limit of about 150 people. This is a different understanding of relationship.”

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About The Author

Jennifer Zingsheim Phillips is the Director of Marketing Communications for CARMA. She is also the founder of 4L Strategies, and has worked in communications and public affairs for more than 20 years. Her background includes work in politics, government, lobbying, public affairs PR, content creation, and digital and social communications and media analysis.

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