Media Insights and Crisis Expertise http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis Your destination for best practice issues and crisis management, current issues, media training, presentation skills, consumer advocacy and strategic issues management Wed, 26 Oct 2011 16:40:31 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 How do you choose a jury for Morrissey? http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/2011/10/26/how-do-you-choose-a-jury-for-morrissey/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/2011/10/26/how-do-you-choose-a-jury-for-morrissey/#comments Wed, 26 Oct 2011 16:40:31 +0000 Peter Roberts http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/?p=468 It has just been announced that former front man of The Smiths, Morrissey will have his libel case against the NME heard before a jury.

 The case is based on an interview given by the singer to the magazine in 2007, which he claims was “twisted” to make him appear racist.

The case is not expected to he heard until next year, but what struck me in light of these developments was the likely process to best select an objective jury panel. Clearly, this is no slur on juries per se, but an illustration of the feelings aroused in most of us by artistes and their work. The questioning of potential jurors could be hugely entertaining, but largely inconclusive. It will probably be easy enough to weed out those who have strong views – either way – for the singer, but what of those, and I include myself, who are burdened by what I’d call our cultural prejudices? I know nothing about One Direction for instance, who are most probably a likeable and hard-working bunch, but there’s something in the name that strikes – pardon the expression – a wrong note in me. I would do my best to remain impartial if the poor things were in the dock, but they occupy a place in my heart alongside the likes of Steven Seagal and Pixie Geldof which I’m afraid to say consigns them to a perennial state of irrational dislike.

The libel hearing will make for great theatre; I hope they manage to find the right reviewers.

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People in glass houses http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/2011/10/12/people-in-glass-houses/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/2011/10/12/people-in-glass-houses/#comments Wed, 12 Oct 2011 17:02:43 +0000 Duncan Gallagher http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/?p=465 This may come as some surprise to people who know me but for once I have been loath to enter a debate and share my opinion, but this afternoon my will broke and I could no longer hold back. Yes I am going to share my view on the issue of Blackberry and their ongoing outage.

Firstly I have to declare an interest; I am a Blackberry user and have been for over nine years and despite it taking over life, I am a fan, they do what they say and despite the hard life I give them they don’t tend to let me down. Equally I am not an Apple or Android knocker – to be honest I have more important things to argue about.

What I am passionate about though, is how issues are managed and the study of how people react to them. With Blackberry you have a perfect storm, a technology company that has courted some negative publicity recently is constantly doing battle with another fruit based technology company and prides itself on its security systems.

The last couple of days have seen a clamor for Blackberry to talk more, respond more, be more open etc.  – but who is asking? The cry would seem to lead by social media and technology commentators. Why is this? Well I believe it is down to certain groups believing they have an inalienable right to know everything, not for any reason other than they just deserve to know. The reality is RIM suffered a switch failure which resulted in a backlog of emails clogging up their system. To be honest it’s not very exciting, a bit techy and sounds like a reasonable explanation, which the majority of fair minded people will understand.

Building on this we are seeing ongoing comparisons with Apple in terms of how open they are and how they would have managed things better. Now I don’t have the best of memories at times, but I seem to remember it took an awful lot of persuasion to get Apple to admit there may be a problem with the reception on the iPhone 4. I don’t think anyone would agree that that was handled in a very efficient way.

Finally I think it is fair to say that whatever RIM said over the last couple of days would have been criticised and picked apart by the same aforementioned people  - what would that have achieved?

I say the following as someone who uses their Blackberry a lot and does rely it on for my job, in reality my Blackberry hasn’t worked reliably since Monday lunchtime. But all that has meant is that when I went to get my sandwich at lunchtime I couldn’t check my emails and likewise when I get home tonight that little red light won’t be flashing at me all evening. Do you know what? My world has kept turning; after all I can still make calls and text which are pretty useful ways of communicating, especially the first one.

Oh, one last thing… What this has proved categorically is that technology people should not make jokes, they really should leave that to the experts.

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The importance of assessing corporate risks before the crisis http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/2011/08/03/the-importance-of-assessing-corporate-risks-before-the-crisis/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/2011/08/03/the-importance-of-assessing-corporate-risks-before-the-crisis/#comments Wed, 03 Aug 2011 11:55:59 +0000 Peter Roberts http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/?p=462 Home economics has undoubtedly taken on a new meaning in recent years with the launch of a legion of online ventures that are making money from what I’ll grandly label people’s ‘residential asset base’ – basically, rooms, driveways, garages, gardens – you name it.

Airbnb is such a site – it’s a private room rental service, which has, over the past week, generated a fair amount of coverage for the wrong reason. Last month, a blogger detailed the damage to her home, including holes through walls and burnt possessions, after she rented out her property via Airbnb. You can read more here. The site has since announced a $50,000 guarantee to its hosts for theft and vandalism.

What I find of interest from a crisis management perspective is the CEO’s admission that they got it so wrong. “We felt paralysed, and over the last four weeks, we have really screwed things up” said Brian Chesky. The corporate candour is laudable, but effective preparedness plans would have prevented  the reputational fallout.  “We weren’t prepared for the crisis and we dropped the ball. Now we’re dealing with the consequences” added Chesky.

Discerning businesses will regularly gauge the risks they face from both an internal and external perspective and draw up appropriate contingency plans. Airbnb has, rightly, now introduced a more robust customer relations service, including a dedicated hotline. Airbnb’s creditable admission should, I hope, serve as a wakeup call to those other organisations who have yet to grasp the significance of a full and frequent assessment of their  business.

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He who lives by Twitter, dies by Twitter http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/2011/05/13/he-who-lives-by-twitter-dies-by-twitter/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/2011/05/13/he-who-lives-by-twitter-dies-by-twitter/#comments Fri, 13 May 2011 11:44:43 +0000 Duncan Gallagher http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/?p=454 If a week is a long time in politics, the past seven days must be a record for the media.  With the dust barely settling on the Royal Wedding and the killing of Osama Bin Laden, the media got its teeth into what it really cares about, freedom and privacy.

The creation of the Twitter account, on Sunday afternoon, allegedly listing at least six of the people who have taken out Super Injunctions, was quickly followed with ironic timing by the defeat of Max Mosley’s case calling for the media to notify people before they are due to appear. These two events re-opened the whole debate of who is entitled to privacy and to what level.

Then, just as all of us in media land where mustering all the energy we could to struggle through the first five day week in what seems like months (well some of us, my colleagues today are all out working with Age UK for our company wide charity day) the God of news dropped the Facebook/Google/Burson-Marsteller story nicely in our laps.

Now I am not naive enough to comment directly on the tribulations of a fellow PR agency (especially as we share the same owner) but having looked back over these seven days there is one common theme that links of all this: our growing demands for transparency. In all of these cases, it wasn’t really the actions (footballer slept with a Big Brother star, someone has an affair, really? How dull? A middle-aged man getting spanked by some prostitutes) that mattered. Frank Bough has been there and got the paddle marks 19 years ago and as for B&M, I think the issue here is execution not motive.

What is clear is that for everyone, from humble celebrity to global tech giant, the media now provides us with a level of access and insight never dreamed possible 15 years ago. This week has demonstrated that this new found power needs to be handled with a great deal of care because decisions and action on how we respect and protect privacy, while still providing freedom, access and transparency could now have some far reaching ramifications that we could all be paying the price for in the future.

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http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/2011/04/15/451/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/2011/04/15/451/#comments Fri, 15 Apr 2011 17:16:33 +0000 Peter Roberts http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/?p=451 BP held their annual general meeting yesterday. It was their first since the Deepwater Horizon tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico. The one image that dominated the coverage was that of a syrup smeared Diane Wilson. She’s a protestor and the syrup looks convincingly like crude oil. Wilson was one of many protestors locked out of the meeting at London’s Excel Centre, and subsequently proved to be the focus of much of the media’s interest.

BP did what any responsible business would be expected to do when it comes to protestors – keep them out. As a BP spokesman put it, “We have a responsibility to run an orderly meeting that allows our shareholders to vote on resolutions and engage with the board.” Quite so; BP is a big commercial enterprise and its priorities, it would appear, are with its key stakeholders. Well, that’s the way it reads. However, what price to the company of letting the same protestors into the meeting – a bridge too far? Probably for attending shareholders, but how about its own brand values – possibly? Yes, there will be heckling; maybe some commotion, but in its efforts to address its current corporate reputation such a move could be extremely productive; presenting a business that’s inclusive, accountable and understanding of broader concerns. It’s with such boldness that public perception will, albeit slowly, begin to change and it’s with such boldness that leads the ‘man in the street’ to start thinking that enough’s enough with these protests, let’s move on, instead of what many are probably now thinking which is these people have been hard done by.

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Hit or Miss? BBC rewrites EastEnders ‘cot death’ story after outcry – PR Week 14/01/11 http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/2011/01/13/hit-or-miss-bbc-rewrites-eastenders-cot-death-story-after-outcry-pr-week-140111/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/2011/01/13/hit-or-miss-bbc-rewrites-eastenders-cot-death-story-after-outcry-pr-week-140111/#comments Thu, 13 Jan 2011 14:09:04 +0000 Duncan Gallagher http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/?p=439 Our very own Peter Roberts, Senior Associate Director, issues and crisis management team (and a former BBC head of comms) provided his view on the recent story line change on this popular UK soap for our weekly PR trade title PR Week:

“Television’s so-called delicate issues, which includes mental health and sexual abuse is a real challenge for primetime programme makers; do them well and you’re demonstrating your public service credentials; do them badly, you’re a crass ratings chaser. I’m quite certain much consideration was given to the current storyline, but  the producers appear to have miscalculated the collective strength of feeling, which on a consolatory point is a testament to the programme’s high regard among its audience.

Clearly, it demonstrates maturity to listen to the views of your audience – and the BBC has demonstrated great progress in this regard, but it’s one thing to listen, but another to alter your story lines. In the short-term, the programme has enjoyed the extensive coverage and debate that comes with controversy, but I fear that the Eastenders  response may have set a precedent for other groups to have a disproportionate influence on their future content.”

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Brand guardian or brand detractor: It’s a game of two halves http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/2011/01/11/brand-guardian-or-brand-detractor-it%e2%80%99s-a-game-of-two-halves/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/2011/01/11/brand-guardian-or-brand-detractor-it%e2%80%99s-a-game-of-two-halves/#comments Tue, 11 Jan 2011 10:18:38 +0000 Duncan Gallagher http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/?p=435 Thank the Lord for football, not only does it entertain, anger and frustrate in equal measures it regularly provides a perfect case study that neatly encapsulates a wider issue. Today’s lesson is brought to you by the creative musings of Ryan Babel, who currently dwells in Liverpool. Here we have the perfect example of an aggrieved employee deciding to vent his anger and personal views via his favourite social network, in this case Twitter.

The issue here is how much control can and will his club exert over him? He is facing an FA charge of improper conduct, at a time when the Club has more than enough problems of its own. Now there must be something about the internet up there on the Anfield side of the City, because the end of last year saw a player’s mum very clearly and succinctly express her views on her son’s new home.

As an employer, how do you handle this? How can you ensure your staff utilise their potentially large social network to support your brand? Now in Ryan’s case I am sure he is expressing a widely held view that was doing the rounds of the dressing room at the final whistle, but would the Club wanted those views shared with the world? Probably not. In the case of the ranting mum I can pretty much guarantee that those rants went down as well as Gary Neville popping into the Kop for a meat pie and a shandy at half time.

Away from the highly charged cauldron of football, these two extreme examples highlight the issue of an employee’s brand. How can organisations at best utilise this asset and turn them into a brand guardian and supporter, before they become at the very least another issue to deal with or at worst a vocal brand detractor?

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Searching for customer satisfaction http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/2010/12/08/searching-for-customer-satisfaction/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/2010/12/08/searching-for-customer-satisfaction/#comments Wed, 08 Dec 2010 11:35:57 +0000 Duncan Gallagher http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/?p=427 For many businesses the mantra that the customer is king can be found at the heart of their business. Such companies like John Lewis and Emirates (to name just two) believe that customer satisfaction leads to business success. We all have personal experience of those brands that don’t seem to value our experience as highly and as a result we are left feeling slightly unloved.

When we experience bad customer service we tend to act in a number of ways, but these ultimately boil down to suffering in silence, ranting to those people who unfortunately are nearest to us at the time, or venting our anger online. The latter reaction is where it gets interesting; Google have announced that they are going to penalise those brands with poor online customer relations. Up until now it had, believe it or not, been known for some brands to deliberately abuse their customers, prompting those customers to post (poor) reviews, resulting in a higher placing on the Google search engine!

With these changes, suddenly those unfavourable online reviews are going to carry a lot more weight. For brands spending a fortune on SEO, all that investment could be directly undone by poor customer service. In addition if Google starts displaying customer reviews and ratings next to search results, imagine the impact on customer decision making.

For those responsible for managing brand reputation, being part of the customer service process has just become even more important. After all, Google does rule the world, or to look at it another way, potentially just one bad customer comment or review could drop you from the first page of the search results to the Siberian wastes of the second page.

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Media time delay http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/2010/12/03/media-time-delay/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/2010/12/03/media-time-delay/#comments Fri, 03 Dec 2010 15:18:58 +0000 Duncan Gallagher http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/?p=422 While we all pick through the aftermath of our failed World Cup bid, the one glaring insight that arose yesterday afternoon was the huge time delay between the different media in play. Anyone following on Twitter yesterday would have known the exact result even before Mr Blatter launched into his long winded riff on the origins of football.

Here in the UK, Ashling O’Connor from the Times had already accurately posted the outcome on Twitter 21 minutes before the envelope was opened, which resulted in the TV broadcasters having to tentatively report the result while being stymied by FIFA’s own pomp and ceremony.

I look on yesterday as a clear demonstration of the media power of Twitter and as a warning for all of us involved in issues and crisis comms planning, underestimate its influence and impact at your peril. The race to be first with the news is well and truly hotting up and if you don’t have systems and plans in place to manage this, it could be you squirming in your seat wondering where it all went wrong.

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“I’m eating my cookie” http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/2010/11/25/im-eating-my-cookie/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/2010/11/25/im-eating-my-cookie/#comments Thu, 25 Nov 2010 15:05:46 +0000 Duncan Gallagher http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/?p=418   I won’t subject you to a long intro, instead sit back and enjoy this great clip. Senior executive media training should be compulsory.

 “I’m eating my cookie”

 Yes, he did lose his job.

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