Category Archives: planning and prevention

Active Preparedness for Active Shooter

Recently, I joined a client for an “active shooter workshop” organized by the Department for Homeland Security. Some of the workshop leaders were pleased to see reputation managers in the room.

Echoing the Mos Eisley Cantina Bar, one said “We don’t see a lot of your kind here. But we should. The role of communicators is critical for siteemergency management, and reputation management is a key piece of the recovery process.”

So the question is posed — why aren’t more communicators and counselors attending these sessions?

The DHS and local emergency response protocols have been updated substantially after the horrific incidents seen in Newton CT, Aurora CO, the campus of Virginia Tech, the mall in Maryland, etc. If on-site emergency communications plans don’t reflect these changes, it could retard progress to resolve an incident. And if reputation management plans are out of synch, it would be an “unforced error.”

I won’t provide details here on workshop specifics, but there are great tips provided in several areas, including: prevention, establishing on-site “go bags” for responders and other preparedness activity, establishing relations with local responders in advance, drills, on-site emergency communications templates and procedures (critical!) and more.

University campuses, retailers, site management companies and operations with large on-site personnel should strongly consider these workshops. And bring the PR guys…the DHS officials would love to see more of you.

If you are interested in future workshops, please contact Or check the free resources available on their website.

FWIW, this is my first, and LAST post completely composed on iPhone to take advantage of a travel delay. Not worth the effort. WordPress interface is yucky.

Also, I’ve been favoring “microblogging” through Twitter lately, so please remember to follow me there for more timely posts and discussion. — J.D.

Who Owns Crisis Management?

I hope this is an obvious point — reputation management is just one facet of broader strategic crisis management.

Communications pros play an important part in the broader system, along with those in business continuity planning (BCP, which is a focus on minimizing business disruption), risk management (often a combination of insurance, legal, regulatory and fiduciary risk), and incident/security management (typically a focus on environmental, health, safety and security risks).

Which discipline should supersede and own this process?   Well, none.

A company’s senior leadership is ultimately responsible for a crisis – they own the system, whether they like it or not.  Sadly, far too many of these leaders adopt crisis management systems that cover only one or some of these disciplines. Continue reading Who Owns Crisis Management?

Don’t Die on the Vine

I’m far from being a technology early-adopter, but I think that Twitter’s Vine might catch on.  The service allows users to shoot only six-second audio/video clips, which are looped and can be shared through social media.  Its ease and forced brevity makes sense, since I believe people prefer a six-second update on some things, versus a longer YouTube clip.

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, well then a Vine must be worth 6,000.  Marketers, media  and celebrities are already swinging on the Vine.  Agencies like Ketchum are providing guidance.  And clever members of the public are already showing how artistic the medium can be.

Will the service spread and menace like kuzdu, or become an irritant like poison oak?  Time will tell.  Either way, the service may already have implications in accelerating crisis management situations and helping manage these situations.

In the spirit of the service, here are only six quick examples: Continue reading Don’t Die on the Vine

Online Crises: Only Six Social Solutions?

There is a lot involved in the decision-making process to determine how to manage a social media threat.   But for all of the required complexity, there’s typically only six solutions to choose from:  delete it, ignore it, monitor it, redirect it, respond to it or engage deeply on it.  

For a deeper perspective on this, check out my article placed in the Fall edition of The Public Relations Strategist, the quarterly publication of PRSA. Continue reading Online Crises: Only Six Social Solutions?

Prize-rigging can undermine online promotions

There is a growing industry of “prize-riggers” (my term) who band together to manipulate the results of online contests, giveaways and sweepstakes.

In this blog post on PRSAY, the official blog of The Public Relations Society of America, I categorize different types of prize-riggers and offer tips for PR pros to consider.

Go to the link and check it out.  And if you have comments, you can share them there or below.