Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Crisis Planning

When is the right time to plan for a crisis? Probably before it's staring you in the face.

So often in my marketing classes students were told, "Failing to Plan is a Plan to Fail." I can remember rolling my eyes every time the professor drove this crisis management vehicle into our heads.

Most organizations or agencies often don't believe that they need a crisis plan until having a strategic discussion of all the things that could happen.  Organizations or celebrities at one time or another may be faced with a crisis of some degree. When a crisis strikes, communications is critical to protecting the organization's reputation, brand and ability to fulfill its mission.

A great way to get started with your clients or with your board members is to conduct an activity that is often used called "What Could Go Wrong?"  The activity is a great opportunity to share ideas of real disasters and sometimes not so real ones that could affect an organizations brand. All disasters can be placed on post it notes and placed on a board for all to review. Once reviewed and discussed, members can decide which concerns are potential disasters and ways to handle it.

Regardless of the crisis, there are a few steps that should be developed in a crisis communications plan and followed. Those steps include:

  • Identifying your crisis communications team
  • Develop a 24/7 call down list of all members of the team
  • Conduct a crisis assessment
  • Identify audiences (stakeholders, media, etc.)
  • Develop partnerships / relationships
  • Identify and train key spokespersons
  • Develop your crisis management messages or talking points
Once the plan has been written and approved, there is a 9-step Crisis Cycle that may be helpful:

  1. Verify the situation
  2. Conduct notification
  3. Activate the crisis plan
  4. Organize assignments
  5. Prepare information and obtain approvals
  6. Release information to media, public and partners through arranged channels
  7. Obtain feedback and conduct crisis evaluation
  8. Conduct public education
  9. Monitor events
The most important communications advice during a crisis is to be honest at all times and provide the media with constant updates, even if there is no information available. Otherwise the media may assume that you are hiding something.

Can you think of an organization or celebrity who displayed a great crisis plan? Can you think of those who displayed horrible plans? Ask yourself; did Paula Deen have a communications plan? How about the City of New Orleans during hurricane Katrina? Remember "Failing to Plan is a Plan for Failure".

For more information or assistance with your crisis management plan, contact us at http://promotionswest.com.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Django Unchained: Clear Messages for Discussion

Although it's challenging to watch every new movie that comes out or receives an academy award but I am making an effort to slowly catch up.  This week I had the opportunity to see a great movie, Django Unchained, written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. The movie stars Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio and a host of other great actors.

If you haven't seen it be warned that it's a long movie, a bit violent, but touches all the right buttons to make one tilt their head to the side and start to ponder on things from the past and to be on high alert of things happening today. I have noticed that audiences are divided on giving the movie a thumbs up or down, regardless of race, religion, or sexual preference.While watching the movie with a group of colleagues of all races, we decided to gather after the film to figure out how many of the hot button items could be used to create a discussion and resolve old issues.

Some of those hot buttons that started our mini think tank are:
  • Why were many of the slaves so loyal to their plantation owners?
  • Why did house slaves torture and abuse other slaves on the plantation?
  • Were those with the guns ever afraid that the slaves would rise up to beat them with the very hammer used to bash black skulls?
  • Simply looking at the huge number of slaves, why didn't slaves ever fight back or overtake the few who were in charge of brutalizing those with dark skin?
  • In the movie, when Django returned to find his wife and released 3 other slaves, why did they just sit in the back of the wagon instead of running away?
  • Why do some people still act like slaves today, lowering their heads and acting inferior to others?
  • Why is the term "nigga" so popular today and used by all races when it was meant to be derogatory? Why do some African Americans use this term so freely and accept it unlike other races accept negative terms used to identify them?
  • Why are people not using these terms the way they use the work "nigga" when talking about other races?
  • There seems to be a negative label for everyone. I was surprised there were so many since they are not verbally shared like the word "nigga", which is used more than in conversation than it was during slavery, or so it seems, but you get the point. 
  • Here is an abbreviated list of very offensive terms recommended not using:
    • Caucasians: Honky, Pecker wood, Cracker, Gringo
    • Mexican: Wetback, Spic
    • Asian/Pacific Islander: Jap, Nip, Chink, Chalie, Chinaman, Gook, Oriental, Chee Chee
    • Muslim: Muzzie
    • Italian: Dago, Guido
    • African Americans: Nigger, Aunt Jemima or Uncle Tom (kisses up to the boss) Crow, Coon, Jigaboo (once used by President Richard Nixon when speaking in private to refer to dance like mannerisms), Mammie
    • Vietnamese: Charlie
    • Native Americans: Buck, Blanket Ass
    • Jewish: Hymie, Kike
    • Irish: Paddy
    • Russian: Russki
    • German: Kraut
As you can see the derogatory names used for the various races are unlimited. You will see that African Americans have the longest list of negative terms used to define or describe them. Have you ever used one of these terms in conversation with your family, colleagues or friends? Have you ever thought of one of them?
  • The big question for discussion is why are some African Americans not proud of who they are?
I would love to hear all creative ideas to find solutions and resolutions to many of the issues Tarantino unveiled in Django Unchained.

For more information refer to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethnic_slurs_by_ethnicity