Three interview tips you can learn from Phil Robertson

President Richard Nixon was once asked why he didn’t do more press conferences. His response: “Too much exposure cheapens the product.” It’s advice Phil Robertson and the Duck Dynasty boys would do well to heed.


Robertson, the patriarch of the ubiquitous family made famous by the reality show, Duck Dynasty, found himself in the crosshairs of the GBLT crowd and those who kowtow to political correctness by saying in a magazine article that homosexuality is a sin. The network that airs the program, A&E, suspended Robertson and made a statement categorically disagreeing with him. Supposedly the network is considering dropping the show. Continue Reading

Are you creating favorable conditions for a crisis?

I learned a valuable lesson yesterday. If you park your car under a tree with the windows down, a bird may just poop in it. In other words, if you do the things that set your organization up for a crisis, a crisis is probably what you’ll get.

Crisis prevention

Many people are caught off guard when crises blindside their organizations. The interesting element is that crisis researchers have found the majority of non-natural disaster crises had been percolating for some amount of time before they escalated to “a breaking crisis.” That means something eventually disruptive to the organization’s operation and potentially threatening to its reputation took root and grew as part of the organization’s DNA until it erupted. Continue Reading

Four elements of effective speaking points

Speaking points are much in the news these days because of the fallout of the Benghazi situation. It raises the question: Are speaking points a valid and ethical communication strategy for organizations? The answer is a resounding, “YES!”

Speaking points

There is a video clip of  CBS News’ Bob Schieffer, host of Face the Nation, interviewing senior presidential advisor Dan Pfeiffer. Pfeiffer is ripping through one speaking point after another and the long-time political correspondent will have no more of it. He offers a brief history lesson to his young guest, and politely admonishes him that it would be nice if the administration would lose the speaking points and tell the truth. Continue Reading

How to successfully launch a crisis in three easy steps

There are thousands of for-profit and non-profit organizations in America and I am confident none of them list “create a crisis” among their business objectives. However, many of them manage it without much effort. And to their chagrin, they find they’re quite good at it.

Crisis communications management

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You read that correctly. Everyday organizations – more specifically executive leaders – make decisions that take their organizations from normal operations to headline news at the speed of a Tweet (and leave corporate communicators in shocked disbelief!). It isn’t as difficult as you might think. Here are three ways to successfully launch a crisis. Continue Reading

Feedly: My new tool for reputation monitoring

The relationship between media relations and reputation management is as close as the relationship between a light switch’s “on” and “off” functions. In most cases, media relations ought to be so closely monitoring reputation that it actually flips the switch when a crisis flares and endangers an organization’s brand.


Think about crisis prevention and management like a forrest ranger standing in a fire tower located atop the highest point in a national park. He peers through his binoculars and scans the endless timber below looking for that little wisp of smoke that triggers an action plan. Now, equate a media relations manager (or someone similar) with that ranger, and media monitoring as the scanning of the forrest. You need the right tools to successfully head off problems. Continue Reading

Is your social media marketer prepared to handle a crisis?

Social media marketing is all the rage with companies adding social media strategists faster than most people can hammer out 140 characters and send a Tweet. The rapid increase in available positions is testimony to the effectiveness of social networking in driving business and validates the millions of dollars shifted from traditional marketing strategies to digital strategies. But is the explosion in new hires exposing companies to crisis risk?

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I live in the Nashville, Tenn., area and a quick search of several job sites generated no less than 23 positions seeking social media marketing specialists. Only two of those positions were senior level positions like a digital marketing strategist. The remaining positions required, on average, two years or less experience. Translation: Companies are putting relatively inexperienced people in frontline customer interaction positions. Continue Reading

Social media attacks: Are you prepared?

The most nefarious use of social media is when an individual or a group intentionally sets out to destroy someone else’s reputation or business. Shell Oil is experiencing some of the worst the World Wide Web community has to offer.

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The extremist environmental group, Greenpeace International, launched a Website (Arctic Ready) and Twitter account (@Shellisprepared) with the intention to damage Shell Oil’s drilling operations in the Arctic Circle and it’s corporate reputation. The Arctic Ready site very closely resembles Shell’s Arctic Circle site visually, and significant effort has been expended to craft faux news articles on the site to make the hoax even more believable. To some extent it has succeeded. A Youtube video added to the reality, but it was professionally staged down to the rehearsals. Continue Reading

Learning social media from Which Wich

I love social media. As a consumer, I love that I can give a public endorsement of a company where I’ve received great service; or I can [respectfully] pencil whip a company for poor service or product. I recently did both to Dallas -based Which Wich Superior Sandwiches.


Sub sandwiches have become a ubiquitous part of our eating culture. There are seemingly dozens of chain stores and mom-and-pop shops slicing bread and layering it with all manner of ingredients. One of the reasons I eat at Which Wich is the avocado. I love avocado and they serve the freshest. Continue Reading

Media training: Four things leaders can learn from David Stern

NBA Commissioner David Stern still doesn’t get it. There is a reason high-profile people need media training, and  Stern proved it again when he followed one poor media interaction with another.

The first and most prominent was a recent interview with sports talk personality Jim Rome, Stern was asked if the NBA lottery was rigged. Stern initially said, “No,” but over the next few minutes became combative, aggressive, insulting and eventually condescending toward Rome before the interview mercifully ended. Unfortunately for Stern, it didn’t end soon enough. A week later he admitted he overreacted. Too late, it was a public relations disaster. Continue Reading

(Corporate) reputation does matter, sorry Joan

Joan Jett may have put another dime in the juke box and sang in the 1980s how she loved rock ‘n roll, but she also sang how she didn’t give a D@%! about her reputation, boasting that if you did care about yours, “You’re living in the past, it’s a new generation.”

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Indeed, it is a new generation, saturated with social media and Internet connectivity, where information – accurate or not – travels the globe at the speed of a click, and you’ll see your organization’s good reputation go up in flames if you aren’t prepared. What you need is a reputation management plant that accounts for the risks presented by social media. Here is a simple four-step process to help you be on guard against those who might wish your organization ill-will. Continue Reading