The Public Relations Strategist

CEOs and Their Crisis Counsel Can Benefit From the Following Guidelines

Publication Date: 2011, Summer

Source: SO02 Public Relations Strategist
Product Code: 6K-031103
Organization/Author/Firm: Peter Morrissey
Specialization(s): Crisis Management / Leadership / Reputation Management
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  • Think visually. Most stories lead with text, but powerful visuals send more direct messages. Strive to accompany stories with video. If you do not provide a video, the opposition or social media pundit will be circulating a funnier or more embarrassing one before you can get your message out. To avoid playing catch-up, have a good media library ready.

  • Think globally. In the past, it may have been convenient for U.S. CEOs to only consider how a story would play to the folks back home. But today the whole world is the audience. Understanding culture, traditions and taboos demands thorough and current counsel. Successful CEO communicators will be fluent in several languages and have visited many countries to help shape his or her perspective.

  • Think technologically. If your CEO is not tech-savvy, then surround him or her with people who are. If a crisis hits, then your CEO must be able to access information and deliver a response from a mobile device. Tech illiteracy is a distinct disadvantage when you are up against an inspired and committed cyber jockey with a social media platform.

  • Think ethically but on a global scale. We all share universal hopes, dreams and rights. While business may be global, we are all individuals from local places linked together in a global society. Your actions, words and deeds form your reputation long after the crisis has occurred. Being understood, as well as having an understanding for doing good, has never been more important.

Peter Morrissey is associate professor at Boston University’s College of Communication, where he teaches crisis management and conflict resolution. He is also CEO of Morrissey & Company, a reputation communications agency in Boston.


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