Your Destination for Answers Fri, 22 May 2015 22:33:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Duggars-Where was Crisis Management? Fri, 22 May 2015 21:56:00 +0000 Crisis Management and Josh Duggar

Todd Murphy Vice President Universal Information Services news monitoring and PR measurementBy Todd Murphy, Vice President, Universal Information Services


In the fast moving world of reality TV, where family fortunes can be made overnight, a simple news cycle has the ability to bring all that to an end. No doubt you've been exposed to the controversy regarding the Duggar family. One of TLC Network's flagship programs, 19 Kids and Counting, has come under strong criticism since Josh Duggar revealed he has sexually molested underage girls, including some of his sisters featured on the show.

PR Crisis Management and Josh Duggar

To a lesser extent, another TLC show suffered when John and Kate Plus 8 exposed a very complicated and public divorce. It is no stretch of one's morals to understand how the Duggar controversy is much more damaging, and at the very least much more reprehensible. But beyond the stomach churning nature of this issue, there are key lessons to be learned on how to kill a brand. In this post I'll point out how crisis management public relations can play a role and steps that should be taken.

Do note, my perspective as a media monitoring and measurement service provider comes from the perspective of what the public sees. Our products and services allow us to watch all the media mentions related to a topic, then measure the impact for those stories. In a case like 19 Kids and Counting, there is very little positive news, but how that news is handled can often determine outcomes.

  1. Where was TLC with an early comment? This is the most common problem in crisis management and reputation work. PR Professionals must get out in front of an issue as early as possible. And in cases where someone is harmed, whether or group of people or individuals, leaning towards a swift and definitive decision comes across in the media best. Even if it is to say we are taking this news very seriously but want to look into all the facts before we make an official statement. Bottom line: Show that you care, you have transparency, and plan to do what is right.
  2. If you are responsible for programming or content, communicate immediately with the programmers. As reported by the San Jose Mercury News, "It didn't help that TLC ran a marathon of "19 Kids and Counting" only hours after the news about Josh Duggar broke." Could the timing have been any worse for TLC? Probably not, but I do believe programming rooms have phones. Someone from the communications team should have a direct line to program in order to make last minute decisions. Pulling the marathon could have saved them some additional embarrassment.
  3. What are you pretending not to know? This is true for networks and business owners. As the facts evolve in the Josh Duggar case, it appears that several people close to the show were aware of the allegations. Their delay in acting, or at worst hiding the issue, can only compound the problem. Anyone who has public exposure must make sure they are not hiding from a known issue that could do their organization harm.

So it appears the Duggars are done. TLC has dropped the show amid "a heartbreaking situation". I'm sure those who were molested will not shed a tear over this, nor will those who advocate for the safety of our youth. Beyond the scandal, offense, and potential crimes, how this was handled from a public relations perspective reminds us of three key points. There are many more issues to consider when managing a crisis, but these three are at the top.

  1. Time is not on your side. Quickly gather preliminary information and give something to the media, or stakeholders. You don't need to divulge all the details or speculate at the outset, but in a vacuum the media will fill in the blanks for you. PR Measurement and Crisis Management from Universal Information Services
  2. Assume the allegations could be true. You don't want to go on record denying something that only later is proven to be true. Gather what you know, reveal what you can, and understand the urgency of the situation. The art of crisis management is truly a job for a professional. If this is not your skill set, hire someone who can do it.
  3. Have a plan. Crisis management is not something you do when a crisis occurs. Crisis management is the plan you execute when a crisis occurs. As they say, failing to plan is a plan to fail. Don't let this be you. Seek professional PR support if needed.

What other crisis management tips do you have in your plan, or counsel your clients on. Please share!

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Michael Levine…A Thought For Consideration Fri, 22 May 2015 21:12:23 +0000 Michael-Levine-A-Thought-For-Consideration-featured













Those of us who used to love Starbucks were attracted to the brand in large part due to the "third place" concept attached to the chain. The "third place" concept was some place that you could go that wasn't home, wasn't work but a friend, meet a first date, visit, discuss, restore. Today, I fear, our Starbucks friends are in the process of declaring war on their own "third place" concept turning it rapidly into a "to-go coffee shop with good lighting." Evidence? Couches gone, chairs going (rapidly)- replaced by a massive number of stools that I invite the United Nations to investigate as torture devices. People are noticing. The other night at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood, a popular stand-up opened his act by sharing the new Starbucks slogan with the audience—"Welcome to Starbucks— now get the f**k out!" ------ Michael Levine is a best-selling author of 19 books on business and communications. His latest book is “Broken Windows, Broken Business” (Warner Books).





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Nintendo Just Showed Us: The News Release is having a Moment Fri, 22 May 2015 15:00:49 +0000 Nintendo News Release-featured

Vilan-Traub-headshotBy Vilan Trub, Business Wire

Half a million views in a single day, and counting, is no easy feat. A news release from Nintendo this week accomplished just that, and every communications pro should take note of the basic reasons that led to such grand visibility.

Before the digital revolution, a hero was born by the name of Mario, and this hero had a nemesis named Bowser. Bowser started off as a Koopa King who breathed fire, but much has changed. On May 20th, 9am Eastern Time, Nintendo of America announced via a Business Wire distributed news release that Doug Bowser was named as the new Vice President of sales in America. Clearly the two Bowsers are not one and the same, but the irony was not lost on Golin, the PR agency handling Nintendo’s communication management. They identified and utilized the humorous angle that presented itself and converted it to visibility gold. Over 500,000 views, including over half a million views alone of just Doug Bowser’s photograph, is making this an industry defining news release.

Nintendo Bowser Infographic


Especially significant is that 60% of the traffic is stemming from social media. People are actively sharing this content, driving awareness through the roof. Doug Bowser is now a star and Nintendo can be seen almost everywhere online. The press release is having a moment right now, but why?

Journalists, media professionals, news consumers, they are all eager for interesting and relevant content. Golin found a way to satisfy their target market’s needs by understanding the basic elements of a release. What could have been a regular announcement about a new hire was instead turned into a story. The story was about the irony of a company hiring a man who shares his name with a notorious character the company is known for. The headline didn’t read Doug Bowser as New VP of Sales.

[caption id="attachment_73196" align="aligncenter" width="237"](Doug Bowser, VP of Sales, Nintendo of America) (Doug Bowser, VP of Sales, Nintendo of America)[/caption]

The decision to omit Doug was a conscious one aimed at waking the reader up by tapping into their sense of humor. The announcement was professionally written but maintained a lightness, playing on the intended readers’ nostalgia and lingering interest. The release included multimedia, both Nintendo’s logo as well as a crisp headshot of Doug Bowser. Readers could see what a real life Bowser looks like, and they did, over half a million times.

Nintendo set a precedent with this release but it doesn’t mean other companies need to start developing video game characters then hiring employees with the same names. The lesson learned here is that every release has a story and the process of writing an announcement needs to start with identifying a story that can grab the reader’s attention. That story is your company’s story and if it connects with readers, it will be shared and reshared all over the internet.

If Bowser can be VP of sales at Nintendo, maybe Coca Cola can find a Draper to run creative.

The Nintendo release had significant coverage by mainstream media. Some examples include:

[author]About the Author: Vilan Trub is a copywriter for Business Wire focusing on printed collateral, web content, sales presentation, digital ad creative, white papers and more. He has written for media outlets such as the,, Manhattan Review and AccessGroup Holdings, where he was a pivotal member of their launch. Vilan is a graduate of Queens College with a degree in History and began his career as a writer developing concepts and scripts for projects ranging from digital media to feature films culminating in a position as post-production supervisor for 50 Cent on his directorial debut Before I Self Destruct.  [/author]

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Trending This Week 5.22.15 – So Long Mad Men; Top 10 Summer Office Fashion Faux Pas; Be Magazine and Magazine Media Bolder Fri, 22 May 2015 03:59:25 +0000 CommPRO-Trending-This-Week

CommPRO-Trending-This-WeekToday’s Executive Briefing features a post from Linda J. Luca, Adjunct Instructor, Fordham University about saying So Long ‘Mad Men’ – You Taught Us Well.  Also featured is a presentation that features the Top 10 Summer Fashion Faux Pas: What Not to Wear to Work.

There will be no Executive Briefing on Monday in honor of Memorial Day. We will return on Tuesday.

As we enter this next phase for CommPRO I’d like to take a moment to thank our loyal readers and partners for their continued support. We hope our new readers enjoy CommPRO and welcome your feedback and suggestions so we continue to provide a unique and relevant service. You can reach me at:

Click here to view today’s post.





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Australia’s Most Mentioned Issues in the Media (May 16 – 22) Thu, 21 May 2015 22:56:48 +0000 Australia-Flag

Federal Budget Cools Down as State of Origin Heats Up

Editor’s Note:  Welcome to this weekly recap of Australia’s news, powered by iSentia

australia-news-may22Over 3,000 Shiite paramilitants have been deployed to Iraq’s western Anbar province, after Islamic State militia overran the provincial capital Ramadi. The US-led coalition conducted 19 air strikes in the vicinity of Ramadi over the past 72 hours at the request of the Iraqi security forces, according to the ABC. Prime minister Haider al-Abadi signed off on the deployment of Shiite militias to attempt to seize back the area, a move he had previously resisted for fear of provoking a sectarian backlash. About 500 people have been killed in the fighting and thousands have fled.

The State of Origin starts next Wednesday at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, with Queensland Maroons coach Mal Meninga confident that Billy Slater will be fit to play in the opening match after a shoulder injury. QLD’s Daly Cherry-Evans has been ruled out of the first match, also due to a shoulder injury, and replaced by North Queensland’s Michael Morgan on the interchange bench. New South Wales Blues players have been fitted with high-tech patches that will track stress and anxiety levels during their training sessions in the lead up to the match.

Cardinal George Pell has strongly denied being involved in an alleged child sex abuse cover-up within the Catholic church, after the Royal Commission heard claims he bribed a victim. He also denied ignoring another victim’s claim that a now-convicted sex offender was abusing children at St Patrick’s College in Ballarat. It was revealed that Pell was allegedly part of a Catholic church clerical group that decided to move the convicted sex offender between parishes for no recorded reason.

Agricultural Minister Barnaby Joyce made global headlines for reinforcing Customs policy, after it was revealed US Actor Johnny Depp avoided quarantine for his two pet dogs by flying into Australia via private jet. Depp was in Australia for the filming of the Pirates of the Carribean movie franchise. Joyce gave the dogs a 50 hour window to leave Australia and they returned to the US with Depp’s wife.

The $20,000 instant asset tax write-off for small businesses, announced in last week’s budget, seems to have been extremely popular, with reports that up to one in five voters will take advantage of the offer. It applies to small businesses with an annual turnover of less than $2 million. Retailer Gerry Harvey and banks are expecting a lift in purchases and borrowing respectively.

Quote of the week: “The Blues won’t win. At least, I hope they don’t, because if they do… I will streak down Pitt Street. That’s how confident I am” – Channel 9’s Today Show host – and staunch Maroons supporter - Karl Stefanovic on Thursday morning.

[author]iSentia is the Asia-Pacific region’s leading business intelligence company, providing over 5,000 clients with media information, analysis and advice 24/7/365. iSentia has more than 1,200 employees across 15 countries filtering information from over 5,500 print, radio and television media outlets and over 250 million online conversations per month. Our talented people, innovative search technology, comprehensive coverage and expert research provides the tools and insight to allow our clients to manage media relationships effectively, track and analyse issues of interest across all media, and discover and share valuable insights that drive smarter decisions.[/author]

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