Stories by Deborah Hileman

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Don’t Feed the Trolls: Lessons about Online Criticism

August 15th, 2022 by

We cannot view social media as nothing more than a sandbox for Gens Y and Z. Instead, embrace how media technology has changed the company-customer dynamic. Once you do, start adapting strategy to leverage changes and build respect and resilience in the face of criticism.

Answer These Questions Before Taking a Public Position on Social Issues

May 17th, 2022 by

There is no shortage of PR pros and pundits offering advice about how companies should respond to controversial social issues. Company executives ask whether or not to take a public position. If so, should they speak proactively or only in response to media inquiries? Or, should they discuss an issue internally only, with employees?

Crisis Mitigation: A Two-Way Street for CEOs and PR Pros

February 15th, 2022 by

PR executives, collaborating with risk management, HR and other key functions, can play a critical role in identifying and recommending action to address external and internal threats (including toxic people). Unfortunately, organizations routinely underfund communication and related positions that can deliver intel that helps executives make better-informed decisions before they create a reputation crisis.

The Crisis Lessons of 2021: Truth, Empathy and Promptnesss

December 21st, 2021 by

We expected good things from 2021. Instead, it delivered large doses of frustrating virus protocols, political turmoil, mistrust, disinformation and reputation gaffes. Classic PR blunders generated headlines when leaders failed to learn from history. Here are a few cautionary tales as we look to 2022.

Crisis Leaders Need Emotional Intelligence

November 16th, 2021 by

Reading McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski’s ill-conceived comments about recent shooting deaths of two children in Chicago (including one in a McDonald’s drive-thru) prompted out contributor to write about the Emotional Intelligence Quotient, or EQ.

Attack, Deny or Accept? Facebook Pondering Best Path in New Crisis

October 19th, 2021 by

Like many social media platforms, Facebook is no stranger to reputation crises. How Facebook and other companies have managed them offers lessons in how to (and not to) address stakeholder concerns and shore up reputation when the proverbial excrement has collided with the rotating blades.

Disaster/Emergency Communications Prep Must Happen Year-Round

September 20th, 2021 by

Clearly, PR pros should update crisis communication plans to assure that weather and natural disasters are considered more likely, even in unlikely regions and at unexpected times of year. For organizations that lack a disaster communication or operation plan, there are free resources online that make planning much easier.

Companies Learned About Crisis the Hard Way in 2020

August 17th, 2021 by

Each year, the Institute for Crisis Management (ICM) tracks crisis-related news stories, classifying them as “sudden” or “smoldering” and putting them into one of 16 categories for its annual report.

Where DEI, Ethics and Crisis Communication Intersect

July 20th, 2021 by

Societal improvement can be frustratingly slow. As a business leader and communication professional, I find it painful watching organizations repeatedly fail to learn from their mistakes.

Crisis Prep Fails When Leaders Won’t Change

June 15th, 2021 by

One of the biggest obstacles to effective crisis management is denial: company managers refuse to believe there is a risk that needs attention.