Denver PR Blog


Lack of Research Gives Chili’s Black Eye in Autism Flap
April 7, 2014, 10:58 am
Filed under: Crisis Communications

Restaurant chain Chili’s is playing some defense after it apparently failed to conduct its due diligence before agreeing to support the National Autism Association, a non-profit group that has linked vaccinations to autism in some cases. Chili’s announced on its Facebook page that it has canceled the fundraiser that would have donated 10 percent of today’s proceeds to the NAA.

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GM CEO Credited for Handling of Recall Crisis
April 4, 2014, 10:03 am
Filed under: Crisis Communications

When General Motors named Mary Barra its first female CEO three months ago, who knew the biggest hurdle she would likely face would be trying to undo the damage done by her predecessors? For all of her business acumen, it may simply be her likability and sense of trustworthiness that determines whether she survives.

Forbes, among many others, gives her credit for navigating the crisis with aplomb:

… Ms. Barra struck exactly the right tone: calm, in control, honestly sympathetic, yet not going to be pushed into a statement she did not want to make. She was unfailingly polite, and seemed dedicated to finding out the truth, and then to addressing it head-on. She did not grandstand nor was she flustered; she did not defer nor did she deflect the criticism, but she did stand up to her questioners when they were not clear, in a way that was neither angry, nor defensive, nor subservient.

 



PR Debacle of the Day
April 3, 2013, 12:29 am
Filed under: Crisis Communications

Last December, Rutgers University officials – including its President and Athletic Director – watched this video of its head basketball coach verbally and physically abusing players and thought a three-game suspension and fine was appropriate punishment.

Now, the world has seen it, and it is only a matter of time before Rutgers fires the coach. The question is how long they will allow their brand to twist in the wind before they finally do it. Free PR tip: quicker is better.

UPDATE: Rutgers made the classic public relations mistake of only dealing with part of the issue when it fired the coach on Wednesday morning. Had Rutgers also fired the athletic director who knew about the abuses months ago and did little, it would have dealt with the issue in one swift moment. Instead, the attention will now turn to the athletic director instead of simply dissipating.

UPDATE II: It took 24 hours for Rutgers to fire the coach, and an additional two days for the athletic director to “resign.”



Lance Armstrong is a Terrible Person
January 15, 2013, 5:32 pm
Filed under: Crisis Communications

Lance Armstrong’s confession to Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs will air tomorrow Thursday, and the speculation about what he said has become the media story of the day.Screen shot 2013-01-15 at 5.17.03 PM

The coverage is taking a lot of different angles, but there is at least one singular truth about his story: Lance is a terrible person. A tremendous athlete, but a terrible person. And not because he used PEDs, but because of how he tried to ruin anyone and everyone who dared to speak the truth.

Sometimes terrible people do good things, maybe even because they need to cover up the fact that they are terrible people. And those good things can offer enough cover that blind loyalists continue to believe. Richard Nixon created the EPA, Mussolini made the trains run on time, and Lance created the Livestrong Foundation.

But I don’t think for a second he founded his foundation because he truly cared about his fellow man. Lance reveled in the money and fame that came from being a world-class cyclist. And he was perceptive enough to recognize that Greg LeMond’s celebrity dried up the second he quit cycling. So Lance did everything he could to make his celebrity last.

First, he took PEDs so he could remain competitive, and then when he realized even PEDs would not keep him relevant forever, he founded the Livestrong Foundation. It brought him an entirely new source of fans and endorsement money. A source he thought would last a lifetime.

Lance has received world-class PR counsel over the years, and until recently it allowed him to stay in front of the rumors and accusations. But, for the moment, it has all caught up with him. Lance is a survivor, literally and figuratively, and I wouldn’t bet against the comeback for which he is desperately trying to position himself. But if his reputation does survive, don’t ever forget the one true thing about Lance: he is a terrible person.



Great Moments in Crisis Communications
July 19, 2012, 8:45 am
Filed under: Crisis Communications

Burger King is playing some defense after this photo was posted online, allegedly by a Mayfield, Ohio, employee.



The Freeh Report
July 13, 2012, 8:29 am
Filed under: Crisis Communications



Are Companies Moving On From PR Fiascos Faster?
April 4, 2012, 8:07 am
Filed under: Crisis Communications

The Wall Street Journal investigates and concludes they are.




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