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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

CommCore’s Top 5 Blogs of 2013

Our top blogs of 2013 gave insight and advice on dealing with Crisis missteps, information leaks, and operational crises. For 2014, two suggestions – one for Crisis prevention, one for reputation enhancement: Reactive: organizations need to shore up brand monitoring and protection, due to the speed with which information can spread across social media. Proactive: storytelling and content creation will continue to be proactive mantras, essential for your essential for your organization’s message and reputation.

by Jerry Doyle
Jerry Doyle reviews the Forbes article about the many useful ways to use storytelling as a strategic leadership tool. 

by Dale Weiss
Dale Weiss looked at the leaked email rant from a University of Maryland sorority sister.  The profane-laced letter quickly went global and became the subject of memes, photos, videos, and other social media chatter.                                                                                         
3.  NFL Should Throw a Penalty Flag at
     Its Crisis Response
     by Andrew Gilman     
      Remember the super bowl? We were all
      literally in the dark as to what caused the
      blackout at the New Orleans Superdome.

by Dale Weiss
A&E got caught in a real dilemma this month, involving one of the highest rated shows on cable.  There is no simple solution to this mess.  
1.  What Pasta Will You Buy This
     by Daiva MacKenzie     
      We created an Infographic to capture
      highlights of the Barilla Pasta crisis. Barilla 

      was one  of many examples in 2013 of the power of social media to turn one misstep into a
      full  blown PR crisis.

To get the latest insights from CommCore, check out our content on FacebookTwitter and Observer.

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Video: Executive Clip Critique by Jerry Doyle for PR News

“You Can’t Use That!”

In our second edition of Clip Critique for PR News, we see the CEO of RIM, Inc., Mike Lazaridis telling a BBC reporter what he can and cannot ask.  He goes on to explain that the issue the reporter raised is not an issue at all, but then explains that he will not answer because it involves a national security issue!  So, which is it Mr. Lazaridis? There were actually some seemingly valid and reasonable messages spoken during the course of this short interview, but they will surely be lost under the presumption that RIM is not managing their issue well and their CEO doesn’t want to admit it.
And finally, when he doesn’t get his way, Mr. Lazaridis ends the interview and tells the reporter he “can’t use” this video.  Whining and telling a reporter his job will never sway him.  This strategy – if you can call it that – nearly never works – particularly on video. 

Watch and let us know if you agree...

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Truing up “60 Minutes”

”60 Minutes,” the flagship news magazine on CBS is currently in a reputation trough.  Recent stories about its bad reporting on Benghazi , the Amazon puff piece that broke the drone delivery news, and now  a soft story about the National Security Administration have momentarily dimmed its traditional luster.

While praising “60 Minutes’ for its legacy, longtime New York Times media critic Bill Carter takes them to task in a very balanced piece. This is type of commentary/opinion written by a serious journalist is very valuable.  As a former journalist who always tried to improve my craft, I appreciated good editors and critics. Of course, it’s a profession full of fairly thin skinned folks with strong egos, but that’s no excuse for not paying attention to well-intentioned and constructive feedback.

Look for “60 Minutes” to bounce back from the current lapses and return to its prior high levels of strong investigative news magazine reporting.

It’s an understatement to say that CommCore clients don’t usually like being profiled by “60 Minutes,” which continues to provide more probing journalism than most other broadcast and cable news programs. We would counsel them that its recent lapses in accuracy and adversarial tone likely do not indicate a long term softening of “60 Minutes’” standards. As Carter concludes, “’60 Minutes’ is a calling, not an assignment, and the program should not be the kind of outfit that leaves its skepticism at the door to get inside.”

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Only 500 Twitter followers??

I’ll bet a few days ago former PR executive Justine Sacco thought that having only 500 twitter followers was a safe way to stay under the radar.  After all, there are almost 150 million people who follow the combined Twitter accounts of Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, and Lady Gaga.

In case you hadn’t seen any news lately, Sacco’s tweet on Friday read ‘round the world said: "Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!”.  She sent it just before boarding a vacation flight to South Africa.  It went viral, garnering countless re tweets and eliciting thousands of angry responses.  Her employer, IAC quickly distanced itself and then fired Sacco within hours.  She has since apologized. But too little, too late.

The moral of the story:  In the old days (five years ago), a small or local communications blunder would most likely fly under the radar.  Now there’s no such thing as local news.  As Ms. Sacco can attest, having only 500 twitter followers can lead to a fast and worldwide career disaster.  A company’s reputation can suffer the same fate because with the viral nature of social media, bad news travels at the speed of light.

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Friday, December 20, 2013

A&E Can’t Duck This One.

Is anyone really surprised that Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson gave an interview bashing the gay community?  The real story will be how A&E handles the backlash coming from all sides.  The LBGT community is praising the network’s decision to suspend Robertson for his comments.  However on the other side,    Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal expressed support for the "Duck Commander" patriarch, as did former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, conservative talk show host Glenn Beck and others.  In fact there’s a Facebook page demanding Robertson's return with more than 600,000 "likes".   #StandWithPhil is spreading across Twitter.

A&E is caught in a real dilemma involving one of the highest rated shows ever to appear on cable.  There is no simple solution to this mess.   We advise clients caught in this type of trap to continually monitor all social media channels for trends that can appear within minutes.  In addition they need have their crisis team ready to respond as needed. 

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Lessons From the Year's Worst CEOs

Dartmouth College Business Professor Sydney Finkelstein's 2013 annual rating of the worst CEOs is illuminating on several fronts.

Turnarounds of ailing companies are high-risk propositions for Chief Executives. Whether it's making the wrong moves like J.C. Penney's Ron Johnson, acting like nothing is wrong like Blackberry's Thorsten Heins, or having no understanding of his new business sector like Sears' Eddie Lampert, failure will be second-guessed by all internal and external stakeholders.

Steve Ballmer's prior successes as the number 2 at Microsoft didn't spare him from criticism for too many "me-too" Windows products that didn't do well against more exciting and cutting-edge Apple and Google products.

At CommCore we know that no amount of communications skills can compensate for a CEO’s poor leadership and disappointing results. But we also know that a strong communicator can positively leverage his or her image as the face of the company or the brand:
  • Be visible and transparent with all internal and external stakeholders, whether the news is good or bad. Results are the ultimate bottom line, but credibility and trustworthiness are valuable currency.
  • Know your Achilles Heels, and fix them. Self-awareness of one's leadership style is a crucial characteristic of a successful Chief Executive.
  • If you understand the news media, you can project leadership in difficult times and perhaps buy yourself more time to correct the situation.

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