What to learn from United #3411

This will not be exclusive. Everyone with an interest in communications and crisis communications, in particular, will write (or has already written) about what has happened in Chicago on United flight #3411 before heading to Louisville. In short: A passenger was forcefully pulled out of a plane by the airline. The brute force used by the security staff was well documented on several videos which went viral within minutes. The reason for what United later described a “re-accommodation” was not an overbooking, but the fact that they wanted to put four United employees (non-revenue passengers, that is) on the plane, instead of paying customers. This alone is already crying out for a massive “shitstorm”. But it was just the beginning. Read more

Why many media training tutorials may have to be rewritten soon

A few days ago I came across an interesting article in politico.com, the Washington-based political publication covering the U.S. Congress, lobbying, media and the presidency. Founded in 2007 by two former Washington Post editors, it’s today seen as the leading source for analysis of the political arena in the U.S. (since 2014, they also have an EU edition, politico.eu).

The piece written by Ronald Klain, former senior advisor to Hillary for America and chief of staff to Joe Biden, focussed on the question that is (and should be) on many people’s mind right now, especially of those who make their living with consulting politicians or CEOs on their dealings with media and the broader public: How does Trump get away with breaking basically every rule media trainers teach since years, including this one: Never pick a fight with a person who buys ink by the barrel. In his recent press conference, he turned this rule upside down.

“Never pick a fight with a person who buys ink by the barrel.”

Maybe he has never heard of this rule or nobody dared to tell him, or he just doesn’t care. Whatever the reason behind is (and my sentiment is it’s the latter), it seems to be a matter of fact that many of his game-changing ways of communicating have been very effective on his way to the seat in the oval office.

Back to the column I mentioned in the beginning: it summarizes perfectly how disruptive Trump’s way of communicating is, so I recommend to read the piece in whole and reflect on the five rules Trump did turn upside down. Whether or not the Trump-style is going to be sustainable, time will tell. But if it turns out to be the case, a lot of media training tutorials need to be rewritten. That’s the good part about it: PR never goes out of business.

photo credit: swanksalot Trump PEEOTUS via photopin (license)

Six inconvenient truths about today’s media world. And what it means for communicators.

A few weeks ago I spoke at the European Communications Summit 2016 in Brussels, on invitation by the European Association of Communication Directors (EACD). During the conference, a lot of talking was delivered about social acceptance and the “license to operate” for corporations, issued by the general public, whoever that exactly is. It’s a catchy phrase, but if you nail it down, it all comes back to the communicative behavior. My presentation was on “Crisis Communications in Times of Social Media” and blended in quite nicely, so I thought I’d share my two key charts with you. The first one was portraying the current landscape we are acting in.
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Parts of this post will unsettle you…

German Federal Minister of the Interior, Dr. Thomas de Maizière, is well-known for his verbal slips, which make him a frequent “guest” in late night comedy shows and such. But even he was able to one-up himself, when he gave a press conference on November 18, 2015, on the cancellation of the football match between Germany and the Netherlands in Hannover, five days after the horrible IS attacks on Paris. The decision was made based on intelligence about concrete threats to the security of fans and the public. Everybody was understanding. Everything was fine. Until the press conference…

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