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Crisis Communications

The Number of People Killed by GM’s Defective Switch Will Soon Rise

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We’re all aware that General Motors is one of the world’s most challenging clients right now–and we can sit around all day and wonder why the company’s preferred strategy for dealing with its ongoing recall crisis can be summarized with the word “stonewall.”

But a report released by Reuters today indicates that this horrific story has only just begun.

The crux of GM’s defense holds that thirteen people–and only thirteen people–have died in accidents involving the infamously defective ignition switch that shuts down cars and their airbag mechanisms mid-drive.

Unfortunately, that number will change soon.

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#PRFail: Even History Proves the Washington NFL Team Owner is Lying

snyder funny or dieIt’s not a new debate in the world of sports. And it’s a reinvigorated debate in the world of PR.

Should the NFL team in Washington D.C. change its offensive name? Granted, to many people in the nation’s capital, the “Washington Redskins” may not be an offensive term because they are sports homers. That’s to be expected.

And then, there’s Daniel Synder, owner of the team and principle emeritus officer of living in la-la land.

This is a team that carries an 80-year tradition of classic football has always carried this cloud over its headdress. And why? Because that’s the way it’s always been? Try again, because history has just corrected that very sentiment — back from the dead.

 

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Is Instagram Now ‘the Best Crisis PR’ Tool?

That’s what Maureen O’Connor of New York magazine’s fashion blog The Cut claimed this morning.

The idea is that celebrities in crisis mode are turning to Instagram, rather than more traditional press outlets, to let the public know that they’re ON IT and they GET IT. No biggie.

O’Connor’s key example is Beyoncé, who first responded to the we’re-already-sick-of-this Jay Z elevator story not by issuing a press release or scheduling an interview but simply posting a bunch of pics of herself with both her husband and her sister, Solange.

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She even posted an image of herself with Rihanna, the subject of various rumors regarding the reason for the fight.

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Will the Statement Released by Beyoncé, Solange and Jay Z End All the Elevator Talk?

bey solangeIt’s the elevator fight that rocked the internet! Of course, I’m talking about the silent clip of Solange going after Jay Z at The Standard Hotel following the Met Gala. After many days of silence, we finally got a statement, sent to the AP.

“As a result of the public release of the elevator security footage from Monday, May 5th, there has been a great deal of speculation about what triggered the unfortunate incident. But the most important thing is that our family has worked through it. Jay and Solange each assume their share of responsibility for what has occurred. They both acknowledge their role in this private matter that has played out in the public. They both have apologized to each other and we have moved forward as a united family.”

In other words, “that’s all, folks”. Nothing to see here. We won’t be taking any questions.

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Crisp Thinking Promises to Prevent Your Worst Social Media Nightmares

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We’ve already established the fact that social media screwups can affect even the most infallible among us.

Such failures may be an accepted risk of doing business in the digital realm–but wouldn’t you like a little more in the way of security to ensure that your client doesn’t pull a U.S. Airways?

UK-based company Crisp Thinking started as a provider of child protection technologies for Internet service providers, but its latest product promises to deliver the unthinkable by protecting your company and your clients from the kind of missteps that can quickly go viral–and ensure days, if not weeks, of terrible headlines.

Curious? We spoke to founder Adam Hildreth for more details.

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Two Weeks Later: Donald Sterling ‘Apologizes’ for Racist Rant

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Dear Donald, We look forward to seeing you at our next pep rally. Love, Grandmaster of the KKK.

Arguably, the most important rule to crisis communications is own it quickly. In fact, be the first to comment! Donald Sterling had a crisis with his NBA team, Los Angeles Clippers, because of a few (dozen) bigoted comments about black people. (MEMO to Donnie: You are so not in the right business.)

Understanding he was losing interest in the team, experienced in-fighting among his team, and his own coach even refused to lead said team if Sterling still owned it, he had a major crisis on his hands. So, he does what most rich people do, “Meh!”

And then apologizes two weeks later. Kinda.

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Beverly Hills Hotel Under Fire for Ties to Sultan of Brunei, CEO Response Is Inadequate

beverly hills hotelThe Beverly Hills Hotel, a Hollywood institution since 1912, is used to being the site of many celebrity events. These days, the city’s famous elite are keeping clear because of ties to the Sultan of Brunei.

In April, the country instituted strict Sharia laws that would result in harsh punishments against those found guilty of “crimes” like homosexuality, adultery and getting an abortion, punishments that include stoning people to death.

On Monday, Jay Leno stood beside protesters across the street from the iconic hotel, saying he wanted to “make people aware” of the injustice and the hotel’s ties to it. Ellen DeGeneres says she won’t be going to the hotel “until this is resolved.” Richard Branson, Sharon Osbourne and Rob Reiner have also spoken out against the hotel. The Feminist Majority Foundation, Teen Line (a helpline for teens), The International Women’s Media Foundation and The Night Before the Oscars party have all been pulled from the venue. The pre-Oscar party is one of the most-star studded of the year and has been held at the hotel since 2003, raising $60 million for charity over the past dozen years. According to a spokesperson for the hotel, a total of nine events have been canceled out of a total of 550 that the venue hosts each year.

Christopher Cowdrey, CEO of the Dorchester Collection, which owns the Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air, has been quick to respond, speaking to the media directly about the issue. But what he’s been saying is terrible.

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STUDY: Consumers Don’t Trust Your Retail Clients with Their Credit Cards

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Despite Target’s best efforts, it seems like the damage is done: according to a recent survey conducted by the nonprofit org American Consumer Credit Counseling, nearly 7 in 10 Americans don’t trust retailers with their data.

Here are the big findings:

  • 64% of participants “don’t trust” retailers with their credit/debit card data
  • 42% say they’re now more likely to pay with cash or check

And this isn’t just paranoia, either.

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UPDATE: Sponsors Have Begun to Abandon the Clippers

 Los_Angeles_Clippers_logoWhat’s the number one sign that your CEO/spokesperson’s controversial behavior has gone from being a source of social media gossip to a real-life business concern?

It’s all about the sponsors, of course–and the biggest names behind the L.A. Clippers have begun to make their way toward the exits in a fashion more predictable than the menu at Paula Deen’s restaurant.

As Mediaite reported this morning, State Farm was the first big name to say “bye” after Steve Stoute of the brand’s ad agency Translation told ESPN that he’d recommended the move.

CarMax followed quickly behind, preceding Virgin America and KIA.

Famed celebrity publicist and Frederick & Associates founder Hunter Frederick gave us his straightforward take on the matter; that quote and some corporate statements after the jump.

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L.A. Clippers Owner Donald Sterling Doesn’t Like Basketball or Black People

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Hey Donald, Clip this!

ICYMI over the weekend, Donald Sterling is still the worst NBA team owner in the entire league. However, the reasons behind that conclusion got much more personal as he has discovered a way to offend 100 percent of the teams, coaches, and fans with one fatal wag of his malevolent tongue.

Essentially, Captain Cretin here is dating a woman of mixed descent who obviously adores his beautiful mind (wink wink), and he isn’t keen on the idea of her bringing some friends to his team’s games or posing in pictures with other well-known NBA legends.

And yes, he was very specific about the kind of friends he doesn’t like.

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