Volume 1 | August/September 2018
Welcome to GroundFloor  Media & CenterTable's  Crisis Communicator, from the leaders of our Crisis & Issues Management practice. In this issue, we discuss:
  • The important role of social media monitoring in responding to PR crises
  • Real-world lessons learned from our recent “Get Connected: Viral Nature of Crises” panel discussion
  • Recent media coverage of crisis and issues management stories 
  • Recent GFM & CenterTable Crisis and Issues Management blog posts
For more than 17   years, leading companies and organizations in Colorado and across the country have relied on GFM to help prepare for, manage and recover from crises and business-interrupting issues. Today, our crisis and issues management practice is led by  Jeremy Story  and  Gil Rudawsky and supported by a Rapid Response team of nearly 20 communications and digital marketing pros who have worked with some of the world’s most recognizable companies over the course of their careers.

If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our website .
Social Media Monitoring: Effectively Responding to Crises  
One of the most noteworthy parts of a crisis is the speed at which it plays out. Time and again, we hear clients say they wish there had been more time to strategize and respond. That sentiment has been true for decades, but it is even more pronounced in today’s digital age.
The key to moving from defense to offense rapidly is understanding what is going on in real-time and using that knowledge to predict where an issue is going to go. Social media monitoring is by far the best tool to gauge what the public is saying and what impact it is having. While there are a number of platforms you should monitor ranging from Facebook to Instagram, we find that Twitter is the best barometer of what the general public and media are seeing real-time.
We partner with the social media experts at our  sister  digital agency   CenterTable whenever we help clients respond to a crisis. Their expertise at aggregating and interpreting social media data using sophisticated listening tools helps us craft custom responses that blunt or even change the narrative about an issue before it spirals out of control.
At a recent panel discussion focused on crisis communication, Chris Arnold, former public relations director for Chipotle, noted, “High-quality monitoring for social media is key. There are a lot of social media platforms, and we can’t wait around for someone to tell us something has happened. We need to recognize it in near-real-time so we can address it before it  explodes.
We couldn’t agree more.
Lessons Learned from the Viral Nature of Crises
GFM and CenterTable recently hosted one of our Get Connected events focused on “The Viral Nature of Crises.” The session examined how social media use by media, consumers and advocacy groups has exponentially increased the speed and intensity of crises. Among the observations our panelists offered were:
“Pay attention to everything online. It will let you develop instincts about what is going to be a problem and what may not be. Not everything that is said online warrants a response, but when it does you should make it happen quickly.”

– Chris Arnold , former Director of Public Relations, Chipotle
“If you are going to respond to a crisis on social media, you have to acknowledge and respond to media and consumer questions that come back to you and answer them completely and accurately.”
– Dana Coffield , Senior Editor, the Colorado Sun
“Things that you tell your public relations agency are not privileged and could be disclosed during litigation. If you can, have your lawyers engage the agency directly to help bolster privilege.”
– Jim Leonard , Partner, Faegre Baker Daniels
“Practice and prepare. Watch others in your industry when they have a crisis and apply key learnings to your crisis plan. Speed is critical in a crisis, and approval processes for things like official statements can be a speed-killer. Have pre-approved statements ready to expedite your response.”

Carissa McCabe , Vice President of GFM and Co-founder of CenterTable
“Two things: first, even though it can be tough in the moment, taking the high road is always a good idea. And, second, take control of the story. People want to hear news directly from you, even if it is negative. Sharing your side of a negative story directly can insulate our audiences from having a worse reaction when they hear about it from others later.”

– Nancy Mitchell , former Chief Communications Officer, Denver Public Schools
What We're Reading
The New York Times
“Papa John’s is preparing for a fight against John Schnatter, the pizza chain’s founder and former chairman, by adopting a so-called poison pill defense to protect itself against a hostile takeover attempt. Mr. Schnatter, who resigned as chairman this month after a report that he had used a racial slur in a comment about black people, owns 30 percent of the company’s stock, making him its largest shareholder. Mr. Schnatter has said since stepping down that doing so ‘was a mistake’ and that he was pressured to leave by board members acting on ‘rumor and innuendo’.”
Los Angeles Times
“The first onboard passenger fatality in Southwest Airlines’ history cost the Dallas-based airline about $100 million in revenue… Federal aviation inspectors say an engine fan blade failed and broke away during the flight, sending shrapnel into the fuselage and shattering a window. Jennifer Riordan, a bank executive and mother of two who was sitting next to the window, was killed.”
Harvard Business Review
“Over the past five years, we have studied dozens of unexpected crises in all sorts of organizations and interviewed a broad swath of people — executives, pilots, NASA engineers, Wall Street traders, accident investigators, doctors, and social scientists — who have discovered valuable lessons about how to prepare for the unexpected. Here are three of those lessons:
  1. Learn to stop 
  2. Do, monitor and diagnose 
  3. Know something about everybody’s else’s job” 
Recent GFM Crisis & Issues Management Blog Posts
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