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Crisis PR

This post originally appeared in Susan Kostal's Legal Marketing Bits & Bites Newsletter. Sign up for more content here.

When the news cycle isn’t consumed with all things Russian, it dips into pop culture to provide us with some relief. Watching the Oscars and the ensuing coverage of EnvelopeGate got me to thinking once again about crisis PR.

Each individual word matters in a company’s first statement following a disaster. PwC’s initial apology missed the mark, both in timeliness and word choice, and carries lessons for other professional service firms that find themselves in a pinch.

  1. Have a crisis PR plan. This can be as simple as who are the first responders and how decisions on a statement will be made. Include your firm’s general counsel.

  2. Study up on winning apologies. The WSJ ran a terrific blog post on the 10 best CEO YouTube apologies.

  3. Never minimize the error or accident. Yes, you need to balance what you say against the risk it could be used in litigation. But apologies and taking responsibility matters.

Practicing your crisis response plan with a hypothetical screw up is an excellent way to walk through your firm’s actions in a safe environment. Think about the worst that can happen and prepare for that. Want to learn more? Read my JD Supra post on the PwC crisis and its very unfortunate use of the word “immediately.” First responders can find additional tips on my blog, here, and in a post here, inspired by the tragic Germanwings Lufthansa crash.

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