PR Crisis Bible: How to Take Charge of the Media When All Hell Breaks Loose

Overview

You're the CEO of XYZ Worldwide. CNN has reported today, based on an unsubstantiated Matt Drudge report, that a female board member is engaged with you in insider trading of XYZ stock. And that she's rumored to be your lover. Camera crews and reporters are gathering in the lobby.

What do you do?

Ten years ago-even five-all an executive had to do was slip out the back door. But to survive in today's business world, where executives' personal ...

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Overview

You're the CEO of XYZ Worldwide. CNN has reported today, based on an unsubstantiated Matt Drudge report, that a female board member is engaged with you in insider trading of XYZ stock. And that she's rumored to be your lover. Camera crews and reporters are gathering in the lobby.

What do you do?

Ten years ago-even five-all an executive had to do was slip out the back door. But to survive in today's business world, where executives' personal lives (like recent Presidents') are no longer out of bounds, CEOs have to take responsibility for such stories, and have to respond immediately to the media with a credible explanation. Most executives simply don't realize that this is what they must do. Their careers are at stake.

The PR Crisis Bible is the only book to protect a CEO's reputation by stopping the problem where it begins: in the mind of the CEO. It's the first book that shows CEOs how the new media rules have changed the world. It demonstrates the right ways to respond to today's instant scandals, unsubstantiated reports, Internet rumors, and other crises. It pinpoints the reasons why CEOs get themselves into trouble, and shows how to turn a disaster to advantage. Today, CEOs must avoid the "seven deadly sins of handling a crisis" because even if they had nothing to do with a problem, it ends up in their lap. The buck always stops at the top.

Robin Cohn strikes a masterful balance between fear, the most powerful of motivators, and humor. Her cautionary tales of executives on the receiving end of adverse media will strike a chord with all decision-makers and leaders. The author's message? You can be prepared. But you must know the drill before a cyber-disaster strikes.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Managing potentially damaging business news has become trickier in today's fast-paced television and Internet news environment. Cohn, who runs her own public relations firm specializing in crisis management, offers solid advice on avoiding the PR sins that can sink a company. Among the most common mistakes--often made by experienced executives--are believing that disaster will never strike, shifting blame and responding "no comment" when confronted with a difficult question. Drawing on familiar news events to prove her points, Cohn shows how, for example, personal problems can become company problems. When chief executive Gary Wendt battled his wife in a bitter divorce, his employer, GE Capital, was scrutinized in the media. William Agee's career at Bendix was hurt when his affair with associate Mary Cunningham was made public. In another telling example, she recounts how a well-known business reporter once stopped an executive in the hall to ask for directions to an office and, when the man quickly hurried away muttering that he had no comment, was spurred to dig for a story. While Cohn presents some useful pointers on sidestepping the "seven deadly sins" of PR crisis management, her book would have been stronger if she had expanded and systematized her recommendations instead of offering only brief nuggets of advice. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312252304
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 11/11/2000
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 7.04 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Meet the Author

Robin Cohn is a nationally recognized expert in corporate public relations who set the standard for handling crises when she directed the response of Air Florida after the fatal crash of its Flight #90 in the Potomac River in 1982. In addition to being a compelling writer, she is a dynamic speaker and media promoter. She lives and works in New York City.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2000

    Advance Preparation Helps You Gain from Predictable Crises

    This is the best book I have read on how to prepare for and handle public relations crises. It is incredibly up-to-date and timely, featuring material in its introduction about the public relations aspects of the currently occurring recall of Firestone tires being used on Ford Explorer vehicles. Business has become one of the favorite whipping boys in the media to provide temporary diversion from the usual stream of personal scandals, talk show confessions, and entertainment releases. Do a good job, and you will seldom appear. Be remotely connected to something harmful, controversial, or threatening, and the world is at your door. Ms. Cohn does a very effective job of explaining why this is, and how you can influence it. The book is organized around 7 deadly sins in a public relations crisis. These sins are really mindsets that are mistaken and will usually prove harmful: It will never happen here (chances are it will) I don't care how it looks (the more you ignore it, the worse you make things, up until the day that everyone involved is fired) Let them eat cake (describing things inaccurately just draws more wrath and personal jeopardy) It's not our fault (customers and the public aren't looking to find out who's at fault, they want to know who's going to take responsibility so they can feel confident again) Just say 'No comment!' (people will assume you are hiding something and more attention will come your way) Just numbers on a balance sheet (the source of all the damaging material will probably come from current and former employees -- good internal communication is most critical) React first, think later (you can step into a mess from which you cannot extract yourself) These sins and the stallbusting solutions for them are detailed in each fascinating chapter. These sections are enlivened by a wide variety of former crises handled unsuccessfully (Exxon Valdez) and successfully (J&J's Tylenol recall). Almost all of them will be familiar in general, but you will get added detail to help you understand why a company did or did not do well. Ms. Cohn herself is very experienced in this area and draws on personal examples in many cases, especially the crash of an Air Floida jet in Washington, D.C. The basic lessons revolve around the concept of establishing crisis scenarios and practicing how to handle those scenarios before they occur. This benefits of this type of simulation training are spelled out well in The Art of the Long View, which you may wish to read as well. The book is filled with an enormous quantity of do's and don'ts. I found it hard to keep track of them all as I went along. I was pleased to see many of them summarized on pages 329 and 330. You might find it easier to absorb the material in the book if you began by reading the introduction then went to these two pages and returned to the beginning of the book. The management process described here would work well in any problem-solving environment. Although the author does not make that point, you should be sensitive to it. You have a lot more to gain by studying this book closely than you realize. Remember that an ounce of prevention can often be worth much more than a pound of cure!

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