Posts Taged media-management

New report reveals companies failing to plan for communications response


How valuable is your reputation? Well, it seems to be low on the list of priorities according to a new report – Cyber Aftershock – from insurance broker Lockton. In its Cyber Security Report 2017, only 26% of companies involved their PR and communications teams in planning the response to a cyber breach.

While looking at cyber incidents, the key messages from the report apply equally to any sector or industry which is outward facing or who values their reputation.

You only have to look at reputational damage caused by recent high-profile cyber incidents, as well as computer failures, to see why it is important that boards and technical teams embrace the fact that PR and communications need to be involved in the response planning.

Bringing them in after an incident is too late as it immediately puts you on the back foot. Just as the IT and HR departments will have a plan, there needs to be a PR and communication strategy in place covering aspects such as stakeholder and customer responses, key communication channels and agreed messaging.

This makes sense when the report cites that fact that just under half of all UK business in the last year had at least one cyber breach rising to 66% for medium sized and 68% for large businesses. When a breach happens the regulators will ask about your response and how you communicated so it is important to have a fully integrated strategy.

As you never know when a crisis will strike, CM Consultants is experienced in offering practical advice in preparing your communication response and running scenarios to ensure you can give a robust response should an incident occur.

Our experience team, based across the UK, can provide a 24/7 response to support existing teams or become your media team while you concentrate on responding to the business challenge an incident has caused.

British Airways’ torrid weekend gives valuable lesson for crisis media management


“You can’t put a price on reputation” was how the BBC’s transport correspondent Richard Westcott ended his report into the IT meltdown suffered by British Airways over the Bank Holiday weekend.

The journalist’s point provides a valuable insight for any public facing organisation about how it should manage a crisis when it hits.

Watching the events unfold over the weekend it seemed as if BA had learnt nothing from the media drubbing it took when the opening of Terminal 5 turned to chaos in the face of a luggage system failure.

Over this Bank Holiday weekend no senior executive of the airline faced the media to explain the problem with reports repeatedly saying that “No one was available from BA”.

There was a short statement put on YouTube from the chief executive which should have been supplementary to facing the media. In fact it was not until Monday, that the BBC noted that BA’s chief executive had “broken cover three days after the problems started”.

It seemed as if the company was not in control of the situation and it became a major element of the news story that they had recently moved the IT support offshore while making most of the UK-based IT team redundant. The media also relied on anecdotal stories from travellers who also made it seem as if communication within the company had failed.

In these situations, no matter how difficult, a senior member of the management team should be made available to the media and appear to be transparent in explaining the problem and the steps being taken to get travellers on their way. It almost felt as if there was in fact no crisis media plan in place. For the media, the story became about how communication within the company had failed.

When Talk Talk suffered its data breach in 2015, CEO Dido Harding appeared frequently across all media to explain the problem and update on progress. It was showing leadership that she was prepared to face media scrutiny at a difficult time but realised the need to allay fears in order to protect the reputation and brand.

BA will have been severely damaged with compensation claims reported to be likely in the hundreds of millions. With more than 75,000 people affected and millions more watching and reading the news who will probably think twice about booking with the airline, the question posed about the price of a reputation will play out over the coming months.

What can be said is that a more proactive media response by BA could have minimised some of that cost.

Trump gives a masterclass in media mismanagement

press conference

The first 48 hours of the Trump presidency have been a masterclass in how not to handle media relations.

With an already fractious relationship between the media and Trump, the rapidly called press conference on Saturday by his Press Secretary, Sean Spicer has now set what is likely to be an unbridgeable void.

At the press conference, Spicer read a prepared script where he dismissed the story that there had been fewer people at Trump’s inauguration than at Obama’s despite there being incontrovertible evidence to the contrary. After making the statement Spicer left the room refusing to take questions or provide further evidence to rebut the media stories.

This conference came at the end of a day when after Trump’s first visit to the CIA he said of the media: “They are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth.”

This gives three key lessons about working with the media:

Don’t alienate the press.

Spicer’s first appearance before the White House press corps should have been one of reconciliation after a fractious campaign and period between the election and inauguration. Instead he took a position of “we are right you are wrong”.

Don’t give facts that can’t be substantiated.

Pictorial evidence and figures from the Washington transport authorities instantly contradict Spicer’s claims. What he didn’t do was provide a basis to his rebuttal and what was the source of his claims. No substantiation was given and the media has continued the narrative which has kept the topic on the agenda.

This was compounded on Sunday when Trump advisors went on TV to justify Spicer’s action and say he was presenting ‘alternative facts’. That was generally derided as meaning ‘untruths’.

Don’t lose credibility

The main question is will the media trust Spicer? That is a question which will be answered in due course but Spicer’s credibility has been damaged and is likely to lead to more problems in the long-term. How will the media respond when there are more important issues to debate such as at times of crisis which with the nature of the job are sure to come.

Much of Trump and Spicer’s behaviour also appears to be a knee-jerk reaction when they feel they are not in control. Like any crisis or reputation management scenario there is a need to deal with the basics first and by doing that the outcome is much more likely to be more pleasing than the alternative we have seen.