Taylor Hayes is the former publisher of the Ky New Era with more than 40-years experience. Working with the media requires understanding what the reporter needs are and what your role and responsibilities are. Mr. Hayes provides insights in this 7:30 video. #PayItForward #CrisisLeadership #CrisisManagement #MediaRelations #Workingwithmedia #UnitedAmerica #TeamTybeeStrong @DoctorDarryl http://www.ldarrylarmstrong.com FB – ArmstrongPublicRelations
Interview with Jim McCamy, a 30-year crisis, and emergency management professional provides you perspectives and insights from his experience and to update folks on what is going on in North Alabama. We have been fortunate to have built a successful consulting business in the past 25-years. The crisis communications and planning advice at this site may help you as a small business, or non-profit that is struggling to communicate with your employees and customers. If you find it helpful, please share it through your social media sites. Let’s all, “pay it forward.” http://www.ldarrylarmstrong.com – L. Darryl and Kay Armstrong #UnitedAmerica @DoctorDarryl #Crisiscommunications #Crisisleadership #Crisismanagement
Your company has just killed 23 people and 57 others are deathly ill, some critical. Your production plant is dead in the water and more than 5,000 unique media stories have been written about your crisis.
What you do and how you communicate in such a situation literally will make or break your reputation and can lead to bankruptcy or rebirth. Perhaps, you think this is just one of those table-top worse-case scenarios and that it just couldn’t happen, especially not to your organization.
The Canadian firm Maple Leaf Foods most likely thought the same thing in 2008; however, listeria bacterium contaminated a number of its food products at its plant in the Toronto area. Suddenly the firm had a 100 percent brand recognition rate among Canadians and many Americans, and it was the sort of recognition you would rather not have.
Dr. Randy Huffman, senior vice president operations and chief food safety officer for Maple Leaf Foods, doesn’t mince his words when speaking of this crisis. He frequently starts his presentations by saying he works for a company that took the lives of 23 Canadians.
When the listeria crisis erupted, Huffman was president of the American Meat Institute (AMI) Foundation. Maple Leaf Foods contracted with Huffman, as an external consultant on food safety, and after working with the senior leadership team during the crisis, he joined the company’s safety and quality assurance programs primarily because he was so impressed with the company’s values when it came to handling the listeria outbreak.
Eight years later, he remains dedicated to the constant improvement of food safety standards. He and the other members of Maple Leaf’s senior leadership team continue to talk about the event that so drastically changed their organization because they believe others need to learn from that tragedy.
“We keep it real and alive,” Huffman said in an interview for Ivey in November 2014. He explained that, in the orientation video for Maple Leaf staff, from top level executives to middle management to temporary plant staff, the seriousness of this event is always emphasized in all trainings.
“I can guarantee you, you won’t find any other major corporate training videos that show a hearse,” he said, emphasizing that it’s important for new staff members to understand why the organization continues to raise the bar of food safety standards.
Few organizations get accolades for handling a crisis; however, Maple Leaf Foods is lauded time and time again for how well it handled this tragedy through open and transparent and timely communications.
There was no complex communications strategy. There was not a huge PR crisis team.
Instead, the company chose to keep a handle on the crisis within its management leadership team and strictly adhere to its company’s values. The strategy worked. The team did a number of things well to manage its crisis; Huffman emphasized three vital moves company officials made:
n They acted with urgency.
n They held themselves accountable.
n They were open and transparent from the outset.
CEO Michael McCain and the entire senior leadership team immediately accepted accountability and responsibility for the mistake once investigators pointed to the Maple Leaf products. They didn’t shift blame to food safety standards, or equipment manufacturers, or individual employees, or deign that they needed more time for investigation. The CEO simply owned up to the breach of standards at the organizational level and continually apologized throughout the event.
“Our values said to do what’s right, be transparent, open and honest,” Huffman said. “So that’s what we did.”
Once investigators linked Maple Leaf Foods to the outbreak, McCain immediately went to the media and told the company’s side of the story.
The company acknowledged the seriousness of the problem right up front. The homepage of the Maple Leaf Foods website featured a full-page update with information from the company along with links to information on the recall.
McCain personally apologized for the tragic incidents in a video that played on mainstream TV, and that the company posted to YouTube. Later the various social media platforms carried the video repeatedly.The company immediately moved to recall all 220 packaged meats produced at the affected plant.
A sense of urgency, being proactive and open and transparent from the outset of the crisis allowed Maple Leaf to rebirth itself and prosper instead of landing on the heap of bankruptcy, and the lessons learned apply to many organizations looking for guidance during a crisis.
38 Important Questions to Answer Before You Invest: Body cameras are just part of a complex audio and video documentation puzzle
(The Chicago dashcam video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Zz03rvyhIk) of the shooting of a 17-year old released last evening 11.24.15 raises many of the questions that must be answered prior to purchasing body or in-car video/audio cameras.)
Let’s face it in law enforcement these days whether it is on campus or in the city, county and state LE groups the issue of outfitting officers with body cameras has become a national focus with many LE organizations rushing to get the grants and funding to purchase equipment. One in three police departments in the U.S. are using body cameras for at least some of their officers, according to a 2013 study conducted by the US Department of Justice.
President Barack Hussein Obama has proposed a three-year, $75 million investment that could help purchase 50,000 body-worn cameras for law enforcement nation-wide. The goal is that these cameras will increase accountability for the police and civilians.
However, there are questions and issues to consider before making decisions on audio and video equipment that LE personnel would be wise to answer and resolve in advance of making such significant investment.
Let’s consider how will the purchase of a body camera lead to an all-inclusive system of audio and video recording?
As a crisis communications professional, when debriefing and investigating clients’ situations and how well they handled their crisis, I want to understand the complete context in which an action or reaction to a situation has occurred. Video obtained from body cameras is only one piece of a complex puzzle and only provides a glimpse into the overall event.
If we are to successfully either prevent or manage an organizational crisis, then we must understand from outset to completion how the incident came to be and how it evolved so that a time-line can be generated to see how and why decisions were made during the incident. Simply, this means that you need the audio 911 recording from the minute the incident starts at dispatch and the entire audio and video dialogue between dispatch, command and patrol until the incident is resolved.
I believe that simply reviewing video of an incident as it evolves or erupts even with audio from the scene can be presumptive without overall context and can lead to less than accurate interpretations by command, the media and the public.
Simply, when doing crisis investigations and reconstructions without pre and post context you are severely handicapped in determining how and why certain decisions to act or react were made.
In other words, body cameras are just another tool in the documentary arsenal. When selecting audio and video equipment consider these factors and answer these questions in advance of any purchase:
- Does your body or in-car camera have as good an audio recording capability as it does a video capability?
- Does the video and audio recording begin immediately or is there a delay?
- Does your 911 system have a dedicated audio recording system that has the capability of backing up files for quick future reference, ease of use and rapid association with the video capture?
- Is the quality of the audio recording systems for incoming 911 calls and your body cameras the best available?
- What is the quality of a night recording on the camera?
- How easy is the body cam system you are considering for an officer to use?
- Does it have an on and off switch or is there the capability for an immediate on using other activation parameters?
- How much work will be required of an officer to download videos from the camera, label them and store them in a secure database or video management system? How often will they be required to do so? How easy is the download process to learn and use?
- How durable are the audio/video hardware systems for the weather conditions under which they must operate in your community?
- Have you vetted the durability and reliability of the equipment through other LE departments that have experience with them?
- Have you investigated the cost of operation/maintenance based on other LE departmental experiences? What are the annual costs of repairs and replacements for departments of a similar size?
- Is the system comfortable to wear and reasonably unobtrusive?
- Where will your officers wear these cameras i.e. chest, shoulders, on helmets or eyewear? Different mounting positions come with different challenges. A chest-mounted camera view could be blocked by an officer’s arms when in a shooting stance. A shoulder-mounted camera will not follow the officer’s line of site when peering around a corner with the officer’s back against a wall.
- Do you and your officer understand and are you willing to accept that wherever you place the camera it still won’t capture 100% of the actions, which is why audio capability is equally important.
- What is the length of the video and audio that can be captured on the camera?
- Does the camera only support a proprietary rather than a standards-based video format?
- Is the video format the same as current cell phones in the market place? Using such a format will help eliminate complicated video analysis issues later on because of the need to convert the footage to a standard format, which can also impact the actual video quality.
- Does the camera provide date and time visuals and other possible environmental conditions?
- From the moment of capture to storage does the camera encrypt the data so that it cannot be altered?
- Can the camera’s audio and video be remotely accessed by command, viewed real-time and recorded at command central?
- What does the system you are considering cost in terms of hardware compared to other systems?
- What “unusual” and “unexpected” hardware issues have other departments had with the system?
- What will be the cost of training, technical support, video storage, software to analyze and manage the audio and video evidence?
- Does your department have Informational Technical (IT) support, or will training of each officer be required using the vendor’s training resources? Does the vendor provide a “train-the-trainer” program?
- Can the vendor provide IT support 24/7/365 and what will it cost annually? What is their turn-around time on a call for immediate assistance? Are they willing to come to you on immediate notice?
- What policies and guidelines need to be developed to ensure transparency and accountability?
- When can an officer record or not record an interaction?
- How long will you keep the video evidence?
- Do you have offsite backup (cloud) storage for long-term evidence needs?
- How will the data be shared externally?
- Do you know and understand the requirements in your state to consider before releasing footage to the media or public?
- What research and considerations have you made and integrated into your policies concerning privacy of the videos, as it relates to the public?
- Have these policies been vetted by your legal/public affairs team?
- Is it necessary in your state for you to redact (or visually blur) video frames of innocent bystanders, minors or witnesses?
- Do you need to purchase and have staff trained on how to do manual frame-by-frame redaction/blurring?
- Do you have the in-house resources and/or do you need a consultant as part of your review team to make sure the hardware fits your community’s specific needs?
- Will the vendor agree to allow you to run a minimum test and trial of the equipment for 30-90 days or longer with larger purchases of cameras?
- Have you investigated available grants at the state and federal level?
It will be necessary for your department to plan and conduct a “test-trial” of the hardware using table-top and field exercises to assess the audio/video quality of the equipment and to “test” your policies, procedures and communications and crisis plans under different environmental and work conditions. These exercises should be inclusive from the moment of 911 dispatch to resolution of the event.
Finally, it is essential that you collaborate with your public affairs officer and your crisis communications manager to develop, implement and test an inclusive and comprehensive communications plan to engage the media and public during your trial.
This exercise should include not only the traditional media (newspapers, radio and television); it also should include a well-defined and executable social media plan that at a minimum includes Facebook and Twitter. The use of exercise platforms such as offered by Nusura (www.nusura.com) can be helpful at this phase.
Remember the general public is divided between those that are concerned about privacy implications of body cameras and those that demand their use by police departments to increase accountability. Therefore, it is critically important that you demonstrate transparency and openness in all communications associated with the purchase and use of your body cameras and let the public and media know how you will address any issues that may develop from their use.
If you have questions or need assistance in developing a crisis communications plan please visit www.ldarrylarmstrong.com for free resource materials.
We are available to assist 24/7/365 by calling 1.888.340.2006.
Your feedback and comments are appreciated.
L. Darryl Armstrong PhD
L. Darryl ARMSTRONG and Associates
Behavioral Public Relations LLC
T’is the season, it must be for universities to be creating their own crises and failing to use some common sense!
The Rutgers coach is outed as abusive and the University officials decide to “suspend and fine” him. Now, after “pressure” he’s outta there.
First, we have a professor telling a student to “stomp on a picture of Jesus,” interesting that it wasn’t a picture of Buddha or Mohammed; and now, a physically and verbally abusive coach and in both cases I am sure the schools some how must have thought they would escape outrage?
In both cases, basic crisis management has been ignored.
These are developing stories and we will give you a complete analysis of what each school did right and where they went terribly wrong in a future post. Read more here:
This is a series of articles that will help you understand mind mapping crisis messages. This process when done appropriately and successfully will ensure you will succeed.
Article 1 in this series – Mind-mapping crisis messages – Learn to do it NOW!
Do you know what you will say when:
¡ You have an active shooter on campus
¡ How about 3-hours into the incident?
¡ A gas line leak causes you to evacuate a dorm
¡ A flood watch is issued and flooding appears imminent
¡ When power fails and an all out effort to restore power is delayed by a strike
¡ When a student is raped, kidnapped, or simply disappears into the night
¡ When workplace violence hits your organization
A crisis grows, changes, and often deepens over time. Like all things in life – a crisis has a starting point, a middle phase and an ending. What you choose to say, who you will talk with and how you will reach them in these days of social media will change at every stage of the crisis.
Some of the worst mistakes are made by crisis communicators because they try to create the messages in the heat of the moment. Ineffective and hurried communications create major blunders and failures.
Simply, when the stuff hits the fan, stress levels are running to the extreme, managers and executives, administrators and supervisors are all uptight and tense, everybody wants to approve and contribute to the messages and if you are the crisis communicator you know you have an incredible feat at hand.
Over the next few blogs we will look at the seven stages of a crisis and how you can use a technique known a mind mapping messages at every stage from the early stages of warning, to assessing the risk, to responding, resolving and recovering.
If you take the time to learn the technique in advance you can create clear, concise mind maps that will help you at every one of the seven stages.
Here are the seven stages we will discuss and help you understand:
¡ 1. The advance warning and/or advance intel stage
¡ 2. Situation assessment – the stage where you assess pros/cons, good/bad/ugly
¡ 3. Communicating the response – how to communicate and to whom
¡ 4. Operational management – handling the operations to survive
¡ 5. Resolution and path forward prevention – resolving and moving forward to continuity
¡ 6. Business continuity – recovery – ensuring a recovery and ensuring continuous movement forward
¡ 7. Lessons learned – recalibrations – learning from what went right, what went wrong, the deltas needed and how best to recalibrate and be resilient
We will explain each stage over the next few blogs.
Strategic crisis communication planning and thoughtful preparation can help you deal effectively with those simmering, latent and emerging crises, disasters, emergencies or other unusual events that may cause unfavorable publicity or perceptions of you and your organization even if you have created the crisis yourself …
- Be prepared – Although emergencies by their very nature are unpredictable, unless of course you create the crisis either intentionally or unintentionally by your behavior, it is possible to list and prepare for those potential negative scenarios that might occur during chapter activities. It also is possible to set up a communication system that can be activated in almost any emergency situation.
- Do the right thing – In any emergency situation it is imperative that you put the public interest ahead of the organization’s and your personal interest. Your first responsibility is to the safety and well being of the people involved. Once safety has been restored, face the public and face the facts. Never try to minimize a serious problem or “smooth it over” in the hopes that no one will notice. Conversely, don’t blow minor incidents out of proportion or allow others to do so.
- Communicate quickly and accurately – Positive, assertive communication focuses attention on the most important aspects of the problem and moves the entire process forward to resolution, even in a negative environment or with an antagonistic news media. Understand that the main stream media representatives have an obligation to provide reliable information to their audiences, and they will get that information whether or not you cooperate. If you won’t comment on the situation, you can be sure someone else will. You maintain some control by making sure you are at least one of the major sources of media information in a crisis. Give factual information, don’t speculate.
- Use social media – If you have established electronic relationships via Facebook and Twitter in advance of the crisis, now is the time to use social media to shape the message and quickly correct any mis-information being relayed by other sources.
- Follow up – Make amends to those affected and then do whatever is necessary to restore your organizations reputation in the community. Change internal policies or institute new ones to minimize a repeat of the crisis situation. Also, revise your crisis communication plan based on your experience.
- Successful communication will depend, in large part, on the preparations and relationships you have established long before the crisis occurs.
There are some general principles that can positively affect your actions and communication in a crisis situation, whether you have created the crisis or the crisis has materialized from a simmering issue.
We recommend you consider following these key principles in any crisis situation:
• Bring the situation under control, if possible.
- Always protect people first and property second. Analyze the situation to judge its newsworthiness. Don’t create a crisis by jumping the gun. Many times the situation doesn’t warrant media attention.
• Gather the facts – who, what, where, when, why, how, what next.
• If necessary, activate your crisis management team.
- Act quickly; spare no expense to distribute the information you determine the media and others should have.
• Give the media as much information as possible; they’ll get the information (perhaps inaccurately) from other sources.
• Don’t speculate.
- If you don’t know the facts say so and promise to get back to the media as soon as possible. Then be sure to do so.
• Protect the integrity and reputation of the organization.
• Report your own bad news.
- Don’t allow another source to inform the media first.
•Remember we now live in a social media world. If you have sufficiently built your brand and credibility in advance of the crisis using social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook now is the time to use it to your benefit to get information out quickly and to correct mis-information. Remember you can’t control the message using social media, however, you can shape it.
- Perform an act of goodwill during or immediately after a crisis when appropriate and possible.
• Crisis communication planning can help you deal effectively with those unexpected disasters, emergencies or other unusual events that may cause unfavorable publicity for your organization.
More resources are available at www.ldarrylarmstrong.com
Colleges and universities along with businesses and organizations of all sizes are being forced to review their business continuity, emergency operations and crisis planning in light of recent tragic events.
To maximize such efforts, L. Darryl ARMSTRONG and Associates Behavioral Public Relations LLC proposes that the best approach to helping any organization review and renovate their plans is to first conduct a crisis audit leading to a step-by-step planning process. This process leads to the development of a comprehensive business continuity plan with sub-plans dealing with emergency operations, crisis and media and social media management.
Our approach takes the organization through a comprehensive process.
Within the crisis audit, six major areas are assessed:
- Information management
- Quality assurance
Crisis Audit, Assessment, Review and Plan Development
This audit then leads to a series of steps that leads the organization through a thorough self-inspection with the input from an objective third-party observer to enhance and improve existing plans and then to develop a comprehensive plan of action that provides pre, during and post operational plans .
This is accomplished by a phased process consisting of five distinct phases:
Phase One – Information gathering and reporting
- Collecting data and information from people in key positions;
- Conducting confidential interviews with management, staff and stakeholders;
- Finding and assessing operational and communication strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and;
- Reporting the results to the key decision makers on the management team, reaching consensus on the key areas in which planning is required or where planning needs renovation and securing recommendations for the candidates for a well-versed and representative planning team.
Phase Two – Team formation, training
- Appointing and announcing the planning team to address the findings and assist in the writing or rewriting of the plans of action;
- Conducting training sessions for the team members so they can participate effectively and efficiently.
Phase Three – Plan writing and consensus building
- Assessing known threats and anticipating actual crisis scenarios including relevant action plans, key messages and staffing needs;
- Drafting the plans for the key areas ;
- Presenting the draft plan to key decision makers in a facilitated workshop to secure feedback;
- Reviewing the feedback against existing and needed policies and procedures;
- Reporting these findings back to the key decision makers in a facilitated meeting to reach a consensus path forward and to reach agreement to alter any policy or administrative changes needed; and
- Finalizing the plan.
Phase Four –Plan exercising, recalibrating, finalizing
- Designing and conducting table-top exercises and quality reviews with key decision makers;
- Evaluating and recalibrating the plans as needed;
- Team debriefs and presentation of final plans to management;
- Team meets in workshop setting with key implementers and stakeholders to review plan and answer questions; and
- Any subsequently identified training or consultation needed in the areas of plan reconstruction, media relations, social media management, crisis and issues management planning, or presentation skills are scheduled.
Phase Five – Process evaluation
- Final plus Delta evaluation is conducted in a facilitated session with key decision makers and team;
- Key interviews to secure evaluative feedback; and
- Evaluation report presented to key decision-makers.
This 5 phase process is summarized here:
- Phase One – Information gathering and reporting
- Phase Two – Team formation, training
- Phase Three – Plan writing and consensus building
- Phase Four –Plan exercising, recalibrating, finalizing
- Phase Five – Process evaluation
|We have found in our 40-years of experience that these individual steps lead to the development of collaborative and comprehensive plans of action that have the necessary input and “buy-in” from all levels of the organization to ensure success when implemented.Dr. L. Darryl Armstrong has more than 40-years experience dealing with crisis and their management. He is a regular contributor to webinars at PaperClip, Inc. including webinars and training in such areas as:
Visit his website and check under “Resources” for valuable checklists and information at: www.ldarrylarmstrong.com
Introducing a New Webinar:
Campus Crisis & Social Media:
Preparation, Planning & Policies
Thursday, February 28th – 2 pm (ET)
Universities who have yet to establish a process to use social media during a crisis are at a significant disadvantage. No longer do campus personnel have the luxury of “deciding” on what their media statement will say in the minutes and hours after a campus incident.
Whether it is a sexual scandal, a campus shooting, a rape or robbery or a simple break in a water line, the campus and community will know about it within minutes via social media.
Join your colleagues from across the country for an interactive webinar where you will learn the importance of establishing social media processes, procedures and policies as a primary crisis management and communication information resource.