The recent battle of claims and data between Elon Musk/Tesla and the New York Times showcases a unique crisis communications situation. What's the best way to handle a crisis of "he said-they said" before it spirals out of control?
At some point in their career, every communications professional needs to handle at least a few crisis situations on behalf of a client. All things being relative - whether it’s a disaster like the BP oil spill, a trolling commenter on your brand’s Facebook page, or an executive giving out embargoed information too early – the way you initially respond will set the tone for everything that follows. It’s all about being prepared to the best degree, and then maintaining as much control as possible.
But in some cases, keeping a loose grip on that control and relying on trusted advocates to speak on your behalf can be more effective than any prepared statement.
An example of this recently played out between Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk and the New York Times. When Musk went on the attack against a negative review of the company’s East Coast charging station, first via social media, then by blog, and eventually (perpetually?) even further, his response quickly incited a crisis spiral.... Read more
"Homeless Hotspots" at SXSW brought up an issue that many well-intentioned campaigns encounter...when your intended conversation goes off-track and causes the need for crisis communications.
You may have heard about the Homeless Hotspots at SXSW Interactive...where an agency armed 13 homeless people in Austin with MiFi devices and T-shirts that read “I’m a 4G hotspot.” Handouts encouraged SXSW attendees to look for the hotspots (er, people) stationed around the city and were encouraged to “Introduce yourself, then log on to their 4G network via your phone or tablet for a quick high-quality connection."
Users of the hot spot connections were asked to donate $2 per 15 minutes of use to their hotspot host who kept 100% of the cash or payment made via PayPal. Each of the individuals was also paid $50/day for a maximum six hour shift. The agency worked with an Austin homeless shelter and said it was all part of an effort to make homeless people more visible and raise awareness of the issue, which was being discussed at SXSW.
Critics contend that rather than empowering and dignifying the homeless people involved, the campaign objectified and demeaned them. Since the project is not a sustainable solution to income for the homeless, and... Read more