How PR pros can prepare for a ‘Trump crisis’

The president-elect has attacked several organizations in speeches and through tweets (most recently, CNN), causing brand managers to scramble for responses. Here’s how to mount a defense.

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Organizations face all kinds of crises, but it has been a while since brand reps have had to add a new category to the list.

In addition to financial, technological and natural crises, crises of deception, workplace violence, self-inflicted crises and crises of malevolence, organizations now must contend with the Trump crisis.

Crisis experts are already talking about the Trump crisis, which companies face when the president-elect takes aim at an organization, usually through a tweet.

Some contend that speed matters. Golin Corporate Communications President Scott Farrell told The New York Times: “The only thing that applies, no matter what the issue, is speed. Slow kills companies fast in a Twitter conversation.”

Still, some companies have opted for more circumspect responses.

An attack on a business by the leader of the free world is uncharted territory, and coming from Trump makes it worse than if it had come from, say, Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, Harry Truman or Woodrow Wilson. Trump has an army of trolls poised to attack companies that Trump targets or that articulate anything that could be construed as opposition to his agenda. The consequences can range from a hit to share price to a flurry of fake news stories and calls for boycotts.

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