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Crisis Communications: The Definitive Guide to Managing the Message

Book Description

The Definitive Guide to Communicating in Any Crisis

“When facing an already difficult crisis, the last thing a company needs is to make it worse through its own communications – or lack thereof. As one who has lived through a number of [business] crises and served as an independent investigator of the crises of others, I consider Steven Fink’s book to be an excellent guide to avoiding collecting scar tissue of your own by learning from the scar tissue painfully collected by others.”—Norman R. Augustine, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Lockheed Martin

There are few guarantees in business today. Unfortunately, one of them is the inevitability of a crisis having a potentially major effect on your business and your reputation. When your company finds itself in the midst of a crisis, the ripple effects can disrupt lives and business for the foreseeable future if public opinion is not properly shaped and managed.

Skillfully managing the perception of the crisis determines the difference between a company’s life or death. Because in the pitched battle between perception and reality, perception always wins.

Fortunately, there is a solution. Crisis communications and crisis management legend Steven Fink gives you everything you need to prepare for the inevitable—whether it’s in the form of human error, industrial accidents, criminal behavior, or natural disasters.

In this groundbreaking guide, Fink provides a complete toolkit for ensuring smooth communications and lasting business success through any crisis. Crisis Communications offers proactive and preventive methods for preempting potential crises. The book reveals proven strategies for recognizing and averting damaging crisis communications issues before it’s too late. The book also offers ways to deal with mainstream and social media, use them to your advantage, and neutralize and turn around a hostile media environment Steven Fink uses his decades of expertise and experience in crisis communications to help you:

  • UNDERSTAND AND MANAGE THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PUBLIC
  • PERCEPTION AND REALITY
  • CHOOSE THE BEST SPOKESPERSON FOR THE CRISIS
  • PROTECT YOUR BRAND AND REPUTATION THROUGH CRISES LARGE AND SMALL
  • MAKE WISE, VIGILANT, AND DEFENSIBLE DECISIONS UNDER EXTREME CRISIS-INDUCED STRESS
  • TELL THE TRUTH NO MATTER HOW TEMPTING IT MAY BE TO MISLEAD
  • USE SOCIAL MEDIA OUTLETS TO COMMUNICATE DIRECTLY TO THE PUBLIC ABOUT A CRISIS

The explosion of the Internet and, especially, social media, has added a new layer to the business leader’s skill set: the ability to handle a crisis quickly and professionally within moments of its occurrence. Livelihoods depend upon it.

With in-depth case studies of Toyota, BP, and Penn State, Crisis Communications provides everything you need to successfully lead your company through today’s rocky landscape of business—where crises large and small loom around every corner, and the lives of businesses and management teams hang in the balance.

PRAISE FOR STEVEN FINK’S CRISIS MANAGEMENT
“Every major executive in America ought to read at least one book on crisis management. In this way, he or she might be better prepared to deal with the disasters striking organizations at an ever-increasing rate ... The question is: ‘Is Steven Fink’s book one that busy executives ought to read?’ The answer is a resounding yes.”—LOS ANGELES TIMES, FRONT PAGE SUNDAY BOOK REVIEW

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Crisis Communications: THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO MANAGING THE MESSAGE
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Dedication
  5. Contents
  6. Preface
  7. 1. You Can’t Make This Stuff Up
  8. 2. Defining Our Terms
    1. THE ROLE OF PERCEPTION IN CRISIS PLANNING
  9. 3. What BP Should Have Said
  10. 4. Attitude Adjustments
  11. 5. Toyota: On a Slippery Crisis Communications Slope with No Brakes
  12. 6. Understanding Your Crisis
    1. IDENTIFY
    2. ISOLATE
    3. MANAGE
    4. THE KEYSTONE CRISIS
    5. YOUR CRISIS IS UNIQUE
    6. YOUR CRISIS IS SUBJECTIVE
    7. ANATOMY OF A CRISIS
  13. 7. Shaping Your Crisis Communications Message
  14. 8. Spokespersons
  15. 9. Social Media and Digital Communications—or, Truth/Lies at the Speed of Light
    1. HOW?
  16. 10. Shakespeare Was Right: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”
  17. 11. Protecting Your Brand
  18. 12. Telling the Truth
  19. 13. Say It Ain’t So, Joe!—The Penn State Crisis
  20. 14. Dealing with Death: Fatality Communications
  21. 15. Crisis Communications Strategies
  22. 16. The Good, the Bad, the News Media—or, Juggling Chain Saws
  23. 17. Senior Management: Your Own Worst Enemy?
  24. 18. Take Your Own Pulse—or, What Were They Thinking?
  25. 19. Internal Crisis Communications
  26. 20. External Crisis Communications
  27. 21. Reputation Management and Reservoirs of Goodwill
  28. 22. Issues Management
  29. 23. Crisis Communications for Publicly Traded Companies
  30. 24. Crisis Litigation
  31. 25. How to Break Bad News
  32. 26. The Blame Game
  33. 27. Crisis-Induced Stress
  34. 28. Making Defensible Decisions: Decision Making Under Crisis-Induced Stress
  35. 29. Apologies: Shakespeare—Still Right After All These Years
  36. 30. Crisis Advertising: Does It Work?
  37. 31. Crisis Communications Plans
  38. 32. The Failure of Business Schools
  39. 33. Speed Is of the Essence
  40. 34. Rising to the Occasion
  41. Notes
  42. Acknowledgments
  43. Index