Archives for October 2017

Issues Management & Crisis Communications PD Event Report.

Introduction and Examples of Crisis in the World

–      Dove campaign of different bottle sizes to reflect women’s body shapes. Horrible. Didn’t focus test so campaign was a total flop.

–      Examples of United Way and #notguilty.

–      Karen talked about how journalists cover topics what they believe will be in the public’s interest.

–      Amber alerts require media and law enforcement relationship to work together.

–      Public interest is high in crisis situations, which is why journalists push for getting this information.

–      United Airlines fiasco led to a bigger conversation for all airlines – should overbooking happen?

–      Maple Leaf listeria (2008) – Public safety and accountability. ML apologized and went above and beyond of what was required of them to do in that crisis situation.

–      XL Foods e-coli (2012) – hid for a while and didn’t want to talk about this crisis.

–      The difference is that XL Foods had to close their operations down but Maple Leaf only saw sales drop for 2 months then went back up to normal. Maple Leaf didn’t suffer long-term implications because of how they communicated after their crisis hit. They got in front of their story and told it before anyone could fill in the blanks for them.

–      Karen: “Mistakes are going to happen – it’s how you handle it (that matters).”

–      Karen: “If that one story sparks a conversation – other stories will arise around it.”

–      Confirmation evidence.

–      Mary-Lynn: “It’s easy to blame the media. People get mad in crisis situations.”

–      Saskatoon has a bigger appetite for international news than Regina. Regina really likes crime stories.

–      Mary-Lynn: “No comment doesn’t work in the time of a crisis.”

–      People will then think you’re not trustworthy or the crisis is worse than it is.


The Golden Hour

–      The Golden Hour: From Awareness to Action.

–      Get prepared, pull your crisis plan out and get going.

–      Who is going to speak? Figure out who you’re spokesperson is. Prepare them for the media.

–      Run your crisis plan through legal ahead of time.

–      Mary-Lynn: “We call it the Golden Hour but it’s really the Golden Minute and a half. It flies by!”


Digital Media

–      Digital media gives us lots of Freedom, but also incredible responsibility.

Five positive aspects of digital media for communications

1.    Digital media is great for communicating directly to your audience.

2.    Convey instructions/reassure (have predetermined messages).

a.    Prewrite your tweets and Facebook posts in your crisis plan.

3.    Listen to external sources for information.

a.    Case in point: Las Vegas tragedy

4.    Post content/respond in a timely fashion.

a.    Red banner site takeover on website when something happens – very good strategy.

5.    Control the narrative, avoid the void.

–      Dan: “Know your spokesperson – don’t get Bob down the road to talk to the media.”

–      Dan: “You need to control your story. If you don’t someone else will tell it.”

–      Focus on getting your story out on Facebook first.


Five negative aspects of digital media for communications

1.    Rumour/misinformation

2.    Not updated

3.    Automation – Switch off your marketing pieces during a crisis.

4.    Poor security

5.    Leaks


–      Dan: “Communications has 2 sides – positive (marketing and why give back) and negative. If you go quiet during the negative – the positive won’t matter.”

–      Check your sponsorships, media buys and ads during a crisis.

–      Most senior person in the organization speaks in a crisis.

–      If Maple Leaf incident happened today, would it have the same result? Social media 9 years later. MCC believe that they would have handled the situation as well now. The fundamentals are the same and it’s just the timescale and additional tactics that would come in to play. As they took it seriously back then, they would surely have an effective plan now.


Thank you to Martin Charlton Communications for delivering this session to the IABC Saskatoon members.

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