Inside the Crisis Issue; Silver Anvil Awards

July 25, 2016

Welcome to our latest crisis-themed issue of The Strategist.

With this edition, we address some timely topics, starting with cybersecurity. Verizon’s annual Data Breach Investigations Report shows a 230 percent increase in the number of reported cybercrime incidents over the past three years.

As Scott Farrell, president of global corporate communications at Golin, writes: “If your current risk assessment and crisis plan do not address how your organization will manage stakeholder engagement in the event of a data breach, put that task at the top of your to-do list today.” Turn to Page 6 for more of his insights.

Next, Heidi Sullivan, senior vice president, product and managing director, Canada, at Cision, outlines four steps you need to take to build your social crisis communication plan.

“With nearly two-thirds of American adults on social networking sites, your brand needs to cast a wider net with its communication — or risk being swallowed whole by a crisis,” she writes on Page 8.

We also explore how two communities responded after deadly shootings, rising above the tragedies. On Dec. 2, 2015, 14 people were killed and 22 were seriously injured in a terrorist attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, Calif.

On Page 12, C.L. Lopez, the San Bernardino County Human Services communications officer, talks about that day, and how her agency managed the aftermath of this tragedy. “[O]ur Human Services Communications team has navigated this painful chapter with the skills from our years of crisis communications training, and we leaned on one another for support,” she says.

Meanwhile, Rick Chambers, APR, explores how leaders in Kalamazoo, Mich., brought the community together after a gunman shot and killed six people in that city this past February. 

“No agency or brand expert mapped out Kalamazoo’s response to the shootings,” Chambers writes on Page 18. “Restoration grew from within a community that believed it was better than one malevolent act — a belief that didn’t wait for a crisis to form.” 

Stars and Stripes

Elsewhere in this issue, we take an in-depth look at this year’s Best of Silver Anvil recipient. On June 9, at New York’s AXA Equitable Center, PRSA presented the prestigious award to the U.S. Air Force for its communication strategy after Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone and two friends thwarted a terrorist attack while on a train in Europe last August.

Starting on Page 19, Renée Ruggeri, our editorial assistant, talks with team members, including Brig. Gen. Kathleen A. Cook, director of Air Force public affairs, about the multi-faceted campaign.
In a bonus video interview, Cook shares her thoughts on crisis management today. You may view it here.

“You may be put into a situation that is totally unexpected, but you have to have some thought and be ready, because there’s always someone out there taping, there’s always someone ready to pick up an iPhone,” she says. “It’s part of our world today.”

John Elsasser

John Elsasser is the editor-in-chief of Strategies & Tactics. He joined PRSA in 1994.



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