Crisis Communication Reflection Find a current eventwithin the last yearthatinvolved a crisis or scandal.Givea brief synopsis of the company and

Crisis Communication Reflection
Find a current event,
within the last year,
that
involved a crisis or scandal.
Give
a brief synopsis of the company and the issue, and then answer the questions below:
What was the companys communication approach to the crisis?
Do you feel the companys communication approach was effective? Why or why not?
What would you have done the same and what would you have done differently?
Week 7 Discussion Starter PostCOLLAPSE
Class:
This week we will be discussing crisis management communications. Any business, large or small, at some time will have to respond to a crisis that has affected the organization. You will learn this week that the key is being prepared.
A few tips for this week’s Discussion Post:
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1. Find a crisis that occurred in the last few years (Examples: Boeing, Starbucks, United Airlines, Equifax, Facebook, etc.).
This can be about a company in the news or a crisis within your own company.
2. Describe the crisis you are selecting with a short synopsis in your own words about what occurred.
u202f Describe the company and the issue that affected them. Is it a public company, private, your company, etc.?
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Besides the reading and video material for this week, here are two additional resources for you as you consider crisis management discussion post:
“13 Golden Rules of PR Crisis Management” https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2017/06/20/13-golden-rules-of-pr-crisis-management/
“Ted Talk: The Secret to Crisis Management in the 21st Century” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQGEPEaEWtg
3. Make sure to consider these questions in your post:
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What was the companys communication approach to the crisis?
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Did they use social media?
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Who in the firm responded?
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How quick were they to respond?
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Did they follow up with new information?
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Do you feel the companys communication approach was effective? Why or why not?
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Do you think the response was well-thought-out and planned, or just reflexive?
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Did the story change? For better or worse?
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Was it effective with the public (audience) or did it antagonize the situation?
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Did they appear transparent and candid?
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Did the public appreciate the response?
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What would you have done the same?
What would you have done differently?
Put yourself into the position of the companys spokesperson and make sure you never take things from “bad to worse”. Explain how you will anticipate, plan, and put into effect your crisis management plan.
As always, please include your references and in-text citations.
I look forward to you incorporating all the material from this weeks readings and videos.
Have a great week everyone.
1 Response
RE: Week 7 DiscussionCOLLAPSE
Hello Professor Paulson and Classmates,
Fundamentally, GE follows the principles mentioned in the “Crisis Management” chapter of The Real-Life MBA (Welch, 1).

We often refer to ourselves as having a bullseye on our monogram (the GE Meatball).
We know that any crisis will be bigger and deeper, secrets (true and false) will be told, how we handle it will be portrayed as bad, internal changes will be one of several results, and we will survive.
For the 128 years GE has been in existence, it has been known as an easy target with deep pockets.
Our PR department is viewed as an essential part of our business and remains busy throughout the year to try to be proactive and get ahead of stories as mentioned by Forbes in the 13 Golden Rules (Forbes, 2).
GE was slow to get into social media but once it decided to do so, the process in place has been very focused on preparing for crisis and responsiveness.
Our main social media presence exists on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.
The crisis situation in this case is based on the rumors surrounding our X-ray team being relocated to China.
The negative news described our $1B business move from the Wisconsin area to China, taking jobs away from the United States in order to take advantage of cheaper labor.
For background purposes, Wisconsin is the first headquarters location for this business unit.
There are approximately 6000 employees in the southeast Wisconsin area and another 4000 GE retirees.
Moving from Wisconsin anywhere was big news in that region.
Unfortunately, it didn’t stop there.
The story spread fiercely across the nation and examples of other business units moving jobs and work outside of the United States became the negative theme.
This led to the accusation that GE doesn’t pay taxes and so on.
Our PR department answered each accusation immediately and prepped the senior leadership for any upcoming press opportunities.
Internally, communications were sent to our email addresses as well as our intranet site with facts and directions not to speak with any press.
The PR lead name and contact information were shared for any and all inquiries.
This was completed at every business unit and our GE corporate intranet site as well.
Social Media was used via press releases and Twitter links to press releases in less than 24 hours.
There wasn’t as much activity on LinkedIn, and Facebook and Instagram were not deemed appropriate.
The truth was, only four employees were moved from the Wisconsin area.
GE has grown its non-US presence over the past two decades unapologetically.
While headquartered in the US, the expectation is that non-US presence will continue to rise and deliver over 50
% of GE’s total revenues.
GE, like many other corporations, benefits in tax breaks, this is publicly known and documented.
Some years, more is paid in taxes; some years, less is paid.
The follow up was not very consistent but another crisis took the headlines away from this one.
The accusations regarding tax payments is often mentioned.
Overall, the explanation regarding the roles being moved seemed to satisfy the fury in Wisconsin, but it wasn’t the last time the US press provided backlash on the globalization efforts of GE.
It was effective in that the answer pointed out the actual numbers which were so low; it quieted the noise.
The response was more reflexive but based upon a well-planned PR process for these types of incidents.
The only change to the story is more employees have been hired in Wisconsin and the X-Ray team continues to grow.
Recently, articles and social media highlighted some new product introductions from this well-developed team and the challenges of keeping up with the orders.
That’s definitely a change for the better!
For this particular team, the public sees the positive and appreciates hearing about the Wisconsin led team.
We hear this from our healthcare professionals and we see it in our orders.
Once the negative story was published by the press, the candor was required. Providing simple facts was a win for the PR department.
Equipping the employees across all business units is the best practice for crisis management that should remain the same.

If GE had publicized and made this a positive story, transparency would receive higher points.
By creating a positive and proactive story around the move, this could have been less impactful initially.
The jobs held in the Wisconsin area is always a very touchy point, especially in the Midwest.
Eventually, because the individuals were US citizens, their ex-patriot contracts returned them to the US after two years.
This should have been part of the story and follow up on the transition, culture, learnings, and return would have made the story more interesting and inclusive.
The root cause of this particular crisis was a lack of communication to the PR department regarding the upcoming move of the four individuals.
In this PR position, it is essential that HR and the respective PR team are in lockstep to prepare, plan, and put into effect a strong crisis management plan.
It was no secret that the local community would be upset about the movement; however, the leader and the HR team must consider PR a partner.
Building a partnership with the HR lead would be my first step.
Creating a positive theme or story around this scenario would have been the next step.
By creating a team to assess the situation, get ahead of the media, and prepare responses, communications (internal and external) and announcements would be included in my crisis management plan (Forbes, 2).
Additionally, the ongoing story is key.
This could have been a “filler” story as the four individuals progressed over the 2-year period—an opportunity to spread the good things we bring to life at GE.
References
Welch, J & S.
The Real-Life MBA.
New York.
HarperCollins Publishers.
2015
Forbes Agency Council.
“13 Golden Rules of PR Crisis Management”. Forbes.
2017.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2017/06/20/13-golden-rules-of-pr-crisis-management/

 

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