Crucial PR lessons from BP, Toyota & Goldman Sachs

Essentials of crisis communications in a lightning-fast new media world.

Essentials of crisis communications in a lightning-fast new media world

The cover of a recent New York Times Business section carried this: What not to do in case of emergency, drawn from the recent examples of BP, Toyota and Goldman Sachs. I would also add HP to that list, though obviously to a lesser degree.

It’s well worth reading, but here are some lessons drawn from Peter S. Goodman’s article. Please note: What follows is general advice, not directed at or in response to any particular company or specific situation.

1. When faced with a potential crisis, don’t delay in responding. At the same time, don’t give off-the-cuff responses. If you need to research the situation, say so, then provide regular updates because of course you’ll need to evaluate the issues involved.

2. Don’t blame other people or factors. You can’t spin your way out of a catastrophe. “”There’s not a lot of news when the company takes responsibility and moves on,”” according to James Donnelly at Ketchum.

3. Don’t take an adversarial position with the public, government officials or the media. After all, when the crisis is over, you’ll need to maintain good relations with customers, regulators and the media.

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