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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Daa dahhh… my article, published in a new “must-read” book

When I entered my office today, I found a large envelope on my desk. Inside: A book! The first two copies of a book I contributed to. It’s a sampler with a number of articles, one of them being from me, which makes it a “must-read”… My apologies: the book is available in German only, so I’m happy to give you a quick overview about the book and – of course – my article. Full disclosure upfront: this post is pure advertising! Read more

What Periscope and Meerkat mean for crisis communications

When a bomb threat at the “Germany’s next top model” finals caused an evacuation on September 22, 2015, German BILD reporter Daniel Cremer whipped out his smartphone and broadcasted the situation live from the venue. Given the sudden nature of the situation, the broadcast was not advertised or promoted, but it got about 3,000 live views on Periscope. With this, he was clearly ahead of all other media reporting on the incident with significant delay and based on other “sources”. Here, Daniel Cremer was source, journalist, videographer, and editor in one.

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