Ops, A Crisis Hit. Now What?

Ops, A Crisis Hit. Now What?

By Maira Manesco

Well, if you haven’t said this yet, at some point you will. The difference will be in what you do after you say this. Basically, there are two options: panic and have no clue of what to do or, as we hope that you will – be prepared and put your crisis plan into action.

A crisis, according to the dictionary, is a moment of disorder, followed by a search for a solution. In a corporate context, Luecke[1] says that a crisis represents anything which has the potential to cause subtle or serious damage to the employees, the reputation or the financial results of a company. In the latter case, a communications strategy manages to interfere very little. However, when it comes to internal crises and image crises, a well planned and well structured communication is of extreme importance.

In this blog, we have already discussed a couple of different types of crises, including one that is quite common these days, the social media crisis, which impacts directly on the image of an organization. Apart from this, we have commented on how to avoid external crises generating internal problems, by communicating, before anyone else, the employees.

Now, returning to the main point of our discussion, before confronting a crisis, we need to be prepared for it. In other words, we need to know how to do crisis management before the crisis hits. That is acting strategically!

The first step is to analyze, through a macro perspective, the direct and indirect processes and procedures, both conscious and subconscious, within the company. This will help identify where potential crises hide. After having done this, it is time to study what types of aids are necessary to improve the management of a crisis, from a perspective of both efficiency and effectiveness. Now, we have the basis for crisis management, but much more is required.

It is necessary to analyse the main executives of the company and assess their posture in situations involving a lot of pressure. For example, a very shy person will most likely have difficulties positioning him- or herself in relation to employees or the press in a crisis situation.

Having defined these pillars, you can initiate the production of a crises manual, where all the important information brought forward during the analysis are explained with its solutions and different stages. Moreover, the selected executives need to participate in a media training focused on crises situations, learning this way how to respond in these types of situations. This process might seem simple, but is it essential that companies have access to  communications professionals who are specialized in crisis management and are able to translate the training into truly strategic and practical knowledge, without letting anything slide.

 

[1]LUECKE, Richard. Gerenciando a Crise: Dominando a Arte de Prevenir Desastres. São Paulo: Editora Record, 2009.

Leia mais

The History of Corporate Communications in Brazil

By Thaís Muniz

Corporate communications is the term that refers both to internal– and external communications, that is, communications with employees, the public, partners and different institutions. It is therefore an essential aspect of communications that needs to be put into practice across the organization to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its activities.

Initially, corporate communications emerged in the United States in 1906, when journalist Ivy Lee decided to recover the credibility lost by the powerful John Rockfeller (who at the time was the country’s most hated businessman). Lee’s work for his client was successful in the press and public opinion and Rockfeller went from being a “scary boss” to a “benefactor of humanity”.

A few decades later, the concept of corporate communications activities arrived to Brazil in the 1950s, attracted by the advantages offered by the government of President Juscelino Kubitscheck. And, in the 1960s, Antônio de Salvo (one of Brazil’s best-known communications professionals) began to visit newsrooms in São Paulo. He did the job of persuading editors to publish news about the activities and products of the company where he worked.

Since then, the activity of corporate communications has gained strength in the country. And that’s how press conferences and the traditional New Year lunches emerged, when companies bring together reporters, editors and newsrooms’ directors to announce the results of the year that ends, the plans for the new year and the distributed gifts to each one.

Corporate communication is today an essential tool with a strategic value. Its main objectives are to motivate, convince and inform the internal and external public. Therefore, it continues to be concerned with the analysis of the environment in which the company is inserted, identifying and understanding its different stakeholders and publics.

Leia mais

COMMUNICATION AT THE SERVICE OF COMPANIES – THE ETHICS DILEMMA

By Rogério Artoni, Executive Director

Ever since the beginning of corporate communications, the discussion regarding the ethics of, or lack thereof, this work, has been present. The perception and rumour of this business has, among the public, for decades consisted of the idea that it is a dishonest business, which prospers by helping corporations making fortunes by avoiding inconvenient truths, especially as it many times includes lobbying. In other words, a portion of the population believes that communications professionals who operate on this market are people who explain to corporations the best way to lie to the public, whenever considered advantageous.

Although I am certain of that the clear majority of you who are reading this don’t agree with this view (and neither do I), it is still noticeable that the communications and lobbying industry suffer from this negative image. Hence, it is an image that we, as professionals from the area, need to worry about. When I speak of lobbying, I would like to make it clear that it is an ethical, law-obeying and transparent lobbying that I am referring to.

First of all – is there any truth, however small, to this reputation? Well, to be honest – yes and no. Just as with any business, there are questionable and dishonest professionals in the field. However, claiming that this is a problem typical to lobbying is, in my view, a mistake. Lobbying does not equal lies, tricks and deceit of the public. Quite the contrary. When done the right way, lobbying, together with the communications of the company or organisation, is about managing, selecting and providing the right information to the right person. It is about facilitating the flow of information between companies, organisations and entities, the media and the public. It is not about hindering this flow, despite what many might think (some professionals from the area, included). And perhaps it is here, in this misunderstanding, that the root if the problem lies. For, undeniably, every now and then, cases surge of companies and organisations that act questionably and afterwards use lobbying and public relations in a questionable manner to cover it up, sometimes with blatant lies.

This, however, I would argue, is not a problem of the communications area, but rather a problem of a dishonest organisation or, at least, of dishonest individuals. Now, this is where we, as communications professionals, consultants and advisors, need to take on the role of educators. It is fundamental that we consider it one of our main responsibilities to educate and train representatives of companies and organisations not only to deal with the media but also to serve it. Many leaders and spokespersons of companies view the media as an enemy and the communications consultants and lobbyists as weapons to ward it off.  Of course, in some cases, this might be true, but in most cases, it is not. The media ought to be viewed as an ally, a communications channel which enables a conversation between consumers, clients and other stakeholders and, also, where you can encounter valuable information about these groups.

Good relations between companies and the media create, in fact, not only a scenario that benefits one side, but one that benefits all three sides: the companies, the media and the public all reap the benefits of this relationship. The companies get the opportunity to get their messages across, the media receives valuable material and the public receives relevant information.

In other words – more than a reflexion of a dishonest industry, dishonest communications consultants, lobbyists and public relations professionals are reflections of the organisations which they represent. Communications, lobbying, media relations or public relations which are well-executed and correctly conducted are, independent of the subject which is being discussed, mediators. Without a structured communications area with lobbying, media relations and public relations, the media will have problems accessing information about the companies and entities and, consequently, the public will have the same problem. It is up to us as professionals, together with the companies that we represent, to make our industry as correct, ethical and prosperous as possible. Only this way will we change our image.

(Article orginially published in portuguese on the Aberje site.)

Leia mais

Navigate Response establishes partnership in Brazil

Navigate Response and Brazilian communications firm Race Communications have formed a partnership to enhance response capabilities for maritime incidents in Brazil and to strengthen the services provided to Brazilian companies in the maritime and oil and gas sectors.

Race Communications is a Brazilian PR agency with 15 years of expertise in corporate communications. The company specialises in media relations, crisis management, media training and social media management, and is among the 40 biggest communications agencies in Brazil. Race Communications works with clients of all sizes and in all economic sectors, including major international companies.

Navigate Response, headquartered at London’s Baltic Exchange and in Singapore at the very heart of today’s maritime industry, operates a global network of 35 offices in 25 countries around the world to provide 24/7 emergency crisis media response services to the global shipping, port and offshore industries. The addition of Race Communications to our network boosts our response capabilities for Brazil’s important resource and shipping sectors.

The Race Communications team includes journalists, graphic designers and public relations professionals with vast experience responding to crisis situations. Rogério Artoni, the Director of the agency, became its managing partner in 2005. Since then the company has expanded to provide services in several areas of corporate communications and has opened two new offices to better serve all regions of Brazil.

Navigate Response Director Mark Clark said:

“Our partnership with the experienced team at Race Communications gives us the local knowledge and connections to immediately respond to maritime incidents in Brazil and to incidents around the world that may impact Brazilian companies. The addition of Race Communications to our rapidly expanding network represents our commitment to maintaining the largest communications network for the maritime and offshore industries and provides added assurance to our global clients.

Race Communications Director Rogério Artoni said:

“Race Communications is an agency which works not only with Brazilian companies, but also with international corporations that have offices and operations in Brazil and Latin America. We already have partnerships with PR agencies around the world, and it is a big honour now to be part of the Navigate Response crisis communications network for the maritime industry. Expanding our global connections is an important part of our growth strategy.”

Leia mais

The importance of the mission, the vision and the value of a company

By Livia Caixeta

Strategy or strategic planning is practically the first step to a successful company. This is actually what allows all other plans of a team or company to work and reach the desired goal. Everything and every aspects of a business revolve around this definition, which is essentially defined by the Mission, Vision and Values ​​of a small, medium and / or large company.

Those three words (which are rarely considered by stakeholders and often cause shivers among employees of a company) say exactly in which position the business is in its segment and overall market. But what exactly do they define?

MISSION: the mission shows why the company exists. It defines which sector, clients and segment the company intends to impact. Generally, the mission focuses more on the product or service offered by the company.

VISION: is where the company wants to go, which goals it wants to achieve, in which industry wants to lead or what business it wants to be reference. According to great leaders of global companies, such as Steve Jobs, the Vision of a company is more important than the Mission, due to the fact that it explains what the business intends to be and what you want to accomplish.

VALUES: can be considered “institutional patterns of behavior in the company.” They represent a set of corporate priorities from planning procedures and sustainable goals that benefit a community or society in which the company operates.

What about communication? What communication processes have to do with all this?

They are intimately connected, especially with the view. It is the responsibility of planning communication and marketing to disseminate how a company “sees” the market. This happens through actions that release information, either by institutional content or by marketing actions. The vision will also determine and plan future investments. The result will be a conscious company growth, well planned actions and commitment of stakeholders.

In other words, a company without planning will hardly succeed, just as a service in communication without a plan will not work. And these two aspects depend on the positioning of the assisted in its segment in the market.

Who does not think strategically will never be able to create and manage business alone.

* Lívia Caixeta is a PR account manager in Race Comunicação

Leia mais

The media relations inserted in strategic planning

By Alan Mariasch

Investing in media relations does not mean getting good publications in relevant vehicles or developing relationship actions with important journalists. What then justifies all the efforts and investments in this type of external communication? The answer to this question lies in the strategic planning of each company, and where the PR can contribute to it.

Strategic planning is a process that makes the management of a company easier, assisting in setting goals and which are the strategies to achieve them. First of all, the vision and mission of the organization are determined.  Then, a diagnosis is performed with the analysis of the weaknesses, threats, opportunities and strengths in internal and external environments. Finally, the objectives and goals that the company wants to achieve, and what are the metrics used to check the results are defined.

The media relations operate in areas such as external release and management of the image and reputation of a company. Therefore, their role is vital in the strategic planning of most organizations today, especially in times of high competitiveness in which transparency and good relationships are essentials. Companies that do not like to give satisfaction about their activities and do not dialogue with its stakeholders are likely doomed to failure.

It is a mistake to think that media relations are merely operational activities, which only send press releases. It is about a very important area, inserted in strategic planning and helping the company to achieve its growth targets, profitability and talent retention. Can anyone imagine a modern company that does not worry about having a good relationship with the media?

* Alan Mariasch is PR at Race Communications

Interested in this topic? Click here to see more information about this and other services offered by Race Communications.

Leia mais

10 benefits of internal communication

By Filipe Andrade

The possibilities and internal communication tools are diverse just like its benefits inside an organization are also numerous, not only for the organization itself but also for people who are part of it.

Check out some of the (many) benefits of internal communication for a company:

1 – Credibility and Transparency

In the context of internal communication, official vehicles give more credibility to the message; also, the development of information channels with the team provides more transparency to the organization. Researches point that, in order to create a culture of quality in a certain company, regardless of the segment in which it operates, one of the factors taken into account by the employees is the credibility of the message, i.e., the more respectable is the source, the most valued the message will be. (Harvard Business Review, Abril, 2014 – http://hbr.org/2014/04/creating-a-culture-of-quality/ar/1).

2 – Fast and accurate information:

A new job, starting immediately, has to be announced! There is nothing better than enjoy the numerous tools to reach the largest number of people in less time.

3 – Knowledge of the organization:

As it happens with the general public through other channels of information, an efficient internal communication presents to collaborators the main activities and projects from the organization.

4 – Belonging to the team:

To inform the employee, firsthand, the positioning, policies and organization news generates an engagement team, which feels “an integral part of business”. (ABRACOM – Caderno de Comunicação Organizacional http://www.abracom.org.br/arquivos/ComunicacaoInterna.pdf).

5 – Opportunities of professional highlight:

Through internal communication activities, the company knows (and acknowledge) the employees who stand out in certain areas. Awards, promotions, welcome messages to new employees and life stories inspire and encourage other team members.

6 – Alignment and Motivation:

In any organization, the more knowledgeable are the collaborators on the mainly actions, goals and strategies of the company, the more motivated they will be to perform their tasks and more forces will be added to overcome these goals.

7 – Knowledge exchange:

One of the premises of any communicative action is the interaction and, besides bringing information to employees, internal communication enables team feedback, which assists in directing other actions in the future.

8 – Minimizing the effects of crises:

The more dynamic and effective internal communication is, there will be less negative impact in cases of crises – which can occur in any organization.

9 – Strengthening positive results

When properly structured, internal communication reduces negative effects of a crisis, but, on the other hand, it can promote and encourage the gains to the organization.

10 – Positive organizational climate:

The exchange of information does not occur in the context company-employee. Internal communication contributes to extend interpersonal relationships, creating a climate of cooperation and interactivity.

* Filipe Andrade is a PR account manager in Race Comunicação

Leia mais

What is an interview?

By Marianne Mitsui

An interview is the main activity performed in journalistic media in order to produce the necessary information to concrete a story. It is not only one of the most important practices but also implies caution and responsibility from the interviewee.

When it comes to interviewing a public figure or a spokesperson for a company, it is vital for the interviewee to undertake media training so that he/she has experience to behave properly in different places where the interview can take place, whether live on television/radio or in a press conference. The important is to have in mind the appropriate answers for each question and highlight the key messages.

In some cases, the interview can be via telephone or even via e-mail (these methods are common especially in online portals due to the constant demand for news). Anyway, it is through the interview you earn credibility in the media, strengthening the positive and transparent image of a company.

* Marianne Mitsui is a PR account manager in Race Comunicação

Leia mais

Image crises and reputation on the internet

By Beatriz Carvalho

When companies are more concerned with immediate profits than the quality of its products and processes, ignoring the critical ability of its consumers, corporate crises may be stimulated.

There is a vital characteristic associated with crises: its inevitability. In this context, any organization is likely to go through a time of crisis. The consequences that a crisis brings to the organization can go from the loss of credibility and trust, reputation concussions, decreased profits, layoffs, lawsuits, excessively negative media exposure to the closure of its activities.

However, many organizations are not worry at elaborating and maintaining a plan for crises management due to its high cost and choose to improvise, “putting out fires”, which often may cause irreversible damage to the company’s image.

The major access to information has helped people to know their rights and therefore to demand an appropriate posture from organizations. But when this does not happen, it is certain the interest in making public the institution’s misconduct, establishing crisis processes which can shake the organizational reputation. In this scenario, communication is presented as key element for managing these crises, and in some cases the PR.

If crises are seen as inevitable for a long time, imagine nowadays, when information reaches worldwide within minutes, and people or other technologies are potential generators of content, having even more access to the internet and cell phones capable of registering busted acts anywhere.

Throughout trade’s history, the consumers/costumes of an organization had limited access to a few feedback and communication channels. But the internet has come to break paradigms when it comes to communication. It is not only a new technology but also a tool that has created new ways of relationship.

The consumer generated media, or CGM, term created by the American Pete Blackshaw, highlights brands’ and products’ names. It is common for consumers/customers to use the internet exposing their opinions and their shopping experiences. This exposure can brings benefits since the experience is positive, but crisis situations when negative.

This way, the organization’s image is at risk, since the internet simply creates more exposure to organizations and brands. With this assumption, it is easy to understand that crises on the internet can easily establish and reach countless people.

Reputation is the most valuable asset of an organization and can be deeply shaken by crisis processes not managed properly. In these chaotic times, when public opinion on particular institution is negative, it is vital that skilled professionals manage the crisis, so that it has the lowest possible impact on the image and reputation of an organization.

* Beatriz Carvalho is a PR account manager in Race Communications

Leia mais

What is a LINK BUILDING?

By Rodolfo Zanchin

Link building is the practice of getting the most from publications of links referring to a website. This type of publication influences and improves the position at Google’s organic search, Bing and other search engines, which will result in a higher number of hits in the website.

Structuring the total external links for a particular website can happen in two ways: NATURAL, which is when other websites and webmasters like your content and share it. There is also an ARTIFICIAL way, when you expose your website through link exchange or registration in directories and social bookmarkings.

With the public relation’s work, the construction of the release may be associated with SEO techniques, and is a specialist in getting relevant publications on websites with great access, favoring your website’s link building. It is important to remember that search engines also consider the relevance of the website. Therefore, it is more important a link in a portal with great access than a link in small blogs. That is how the PR can help the companies with.

* Rodolfo Zanchin is a PR account manager in Race Comunicação

Leia mais