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Posts Tagged ‘crisis communications’

Is Your Company Really Ready for a Crisis?

September 22nd, 2017

A recent survey of corporate board members by Deloitte, an international risk management firm, exposed a large gap between the perception and reality of their company’s readiness to handle a crisis.

More than three-quarters (76%) of surveyed board members believe their companies would respond effectively if a crisis struck tomorrow. But less than half (49%) of their companies have taken steps to be truly crisis-ready.

At Anton Communications, we ask potential clients a series of questions to determine their company’s preparedness level.

  1. Who is on your crisis communications’ team?
  2. Have you identified all stakeholders, their specific concerns and how best to reach them?
  3. Are there established notification and monitoring systems in place?
  4. Do you have a written crisis plan in place?
  5. Is it driven by specific risk scenarios?
  6. Does it prepare you to handle a range of potential financial, legal, product, administrative, operational and infrastructure-related crises?
  7. Have you recently conducted any exercises to test its practicality, flexibility and effectiveness – and your readiness?
  8. Is your spokesperson media trained?
  9. Do you have templates for emergency holding statements, news releases and Q&A’s for various scenarios?
  10. Do your employees know exactly what to do if a crisis hits?

If a client can’t answer these questions, or most of the responses are “no”, then we know they need assistance creating a professional crisis plan.

This is where we come in.

Anton Communications Inc. is a Southern California-based strategic public relations firm serving a broad list of clients regionally and nationwide. Our broad range of public relations and marketing specialties include PR services, crisis communications, issues management and media training. Our experience team will customize your crisis communications plan based on the issues most likely to arise in your industry, which stakeholders might be affected and what messages to communicate while you are working hard to solve the crisis.

If you would like to find out if your company is crisis-ready, contact us at or 714.544.6503.

A GIFT FOR YOU:  Below is a link to an easy-to-digest infographic summary of Deloitte’s “A Crisis of Confidence” survey.

Deloitte Survey

How to Handle a Social Media Crisis

June 5th, 2017

Once a crisis breaks out on social media, you should first identify your influencers as they are most likely to impact the conversation. All people in social and digital are not the same, so make sure you know which people have the ability to shape decisions about your company. Here are the top 10 tips on how to handle a social media crisis.

  1. Avoid the information vacuum. Information spreads as soon as it’s available, regardless of its veracity.
  2. You can’t have a press conference every other hour; you have to release news in real time.
  3. Own your brand in social media before someone else does. People are actively stalking and brand jacking. You should know not only your corporate entity’s brand, but all of your subsidiary brands.
  4. A majority of journalists use Twitter for sources. Journalists are getting their news from Twitter in real-time before verifying the source of the story.
  5. Make sure to include people, not logos, on your social media accounts. No one wants to engage with a logo, especially in a crisis. We want to talk and hear from someone.
  6. Integration is key. It is critical to integrate your crisis communication plan across all channels.
  7. Know what you are talking about. Once you lose the credibility, it is really tough to get it back.
  8. When you blow it, own up to it quickly.
  9. When all else fails, don’t forget humor. When you have really gotten in too deep, the best way to recover is humor.
  10. Have clear employee rules and training for social media engagement.


The 10 Commandments of Communications Under Pressure

February 13th, 2017

Facing the news media can be nerve-racking even under the best conditions. Now imagine yourself in a crisis or emergency situation facing hostile reporters who want answers to their tough questions. What would you do? What do you say?

Below are 10 basic commandments for answering tough questions from reporters:

  1. Be yourself; be comfortable and confident – take a deep breath and relax: remember that you probably know more about your subject than the audience.
  2. Be honest: if you don’t know the answer to a question, admit it rather than jeopardize your credibility.
  3. Be brief; be human: don’t be afraid to be yourself – it will look genuine.
  4. Be personal: use personal stories and anecdotes to convey an idea or concept.
  5. Be positive and consistent: set your goals for the interview and keep them in mind, controlling and focusing your material toward them.  Establish your SOCO (Single Overriding Communication Objective) and state it, over and over again.
  6. Be attentive: concentrate, listen carefully to questions.
  7. Be energetic – without going over-the-top: use gestures, subtle facial expressions and appropriate body language to add vitality to your words.
  8. Be committed and sincere: don’t be afraid to pause.  Avoid, or respond appropriately, to the “buzzwords” that reporters use to get interviewees to react, such as:  Why are you lying?; Are you embarrassed by …(your job, your company, your company’s position/record/etc.)?
  9. Never repeat the buzzword in your answer: Do not restate the allegation or negative statement used against you.  Rather, just replace it with your positive response or SOCO.  Don’t waste valuable media time saying what you don’t do or what you are not.  Just say your SOCO.  Always be positive.
  10. Don’t attack the media: be respectful and kind.  Don’t play into the attack game.




How Social Media Turned United into the Biggest Story in the Country.. and even China.

August 12th, 2016

After a passenger was forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight, the company has trended on social media — in the worst possible way.

Where did it all go wrong for CEO Oscar Munoz, who last month was named PRWeek’s Communicator of the Year?

United needed to immediately shift into crisis mode. A crisis plan should include a heartfelt apology, release of a specific plan for addressing the mistakes, clear communication with front-line employees and a statement sent to frequent fliers and loyal customers.

United must make amends for its gaffe on a plane and immediately start the process of rebuilding trust among fliers and the general public.

Read this article from the Washington Post for a blow-by-blow account of the United crisis.

Anton Communications: Issues Management & Crisis Communications

August 12th, 2016


Issues Management & Crisis Communications: It is paramount that an organization emerges from a crisis with its message and reputation intact. We help you prepare for a crisis, and when it happens, we’re there to handle the media spotlight. We know how to work under deadline pressure and make smart decisions quickly.

We work closely with a client’s general counsel and law firms to anticipate and mitigate, potential media coverage of litigation, regulatory investigations, labor disputes, public protests and many other legal challenges.

We provide strategic communications support to legal counsel in support of their criminal and civil case objectives. Our services include:

  • Message strategy development
  • Case-related media relations
  • Communication and argument assessments

Litigation Communications:  We work closely with law firms or a client’s general counsel to provide strategic communications support at all stages of civil or criminal cases. We can help you develop strategic messages, assess the public response to legal arguments and communicate effectively with audiences outside the courtroom. We anticipate and mitigate potential media coverage of litigation, labor disputes, protests and other legal challenges.

How to Identify Risks to Your Business

January 20th, 2016

Almost every day, a crisis hits our nation, our businesses, our lives.

By understanding potential risks to your business and finding ways to minimize their impacts, you will help your business recover quickly if an incident occurs.

The types of risk vary from business to business, but preparing a risk management plan involves a common process. Your risk management plan should detail your strategy for dealing with risks specific to your business.

The following steps will help you get started with drafting your risk management plan.

• Think about your critical business activities, including your key services, resources and staff, and things that could affect them, such as power failures, staff changes and illness.

• Assessing your business will help you work out which aspects you couldn’t operate without.

• Ask yourself: when, where, why and how are risks likely to happen in your business? Are the risks internal or external? Who might be involved or affected if an incident happens?

• Ask yourself what if: You lost power supply? You had no access to the internet? Key documents were destroyed? Your premises were damaged or you were unable to access it? One of your best staff members or CEO quit? Your suppliers went out of business? The area your business is in suffered from a natural disaster? The services you need, such as roads and communications, were closed?

Are you prepared if a crisis strikes?

If you’re not sure, we can  help you create a crisis plan for your company.

Contact us today to find out how our crisis management training can help you be ready to save your company’s reputation!

crisisteam @

News Media Do’s and Dont’s

December 15th, 2015

Never take a cold call from a reporter

Even if you know the topic cold and you feel you can handle the questioning, you need time to prepare yourself for the interview; you need to go into battle with a game plan.

Be prepared with a message

Research the situation, gather all the facts, develop key message, anticipate tough questions, practice your responses.

Don’t lie to the media

Never lie, mislead or manipulate the media. Don’t underestimate a reporter’s ability to find out the truth. You are never their only source of information.

Never say “no comment”

This is loaded word that to most people means you’re hiding something. If you plan to comment later, say so. Or politely tell them you are not going to answer that question.

Exude honesty and confidence; don’t appear defensive

Good interview preparation will allow you to speak with confidence. Control your emotions so that you neither attack or defend.

 Show empathy or compassion where appropriate

Particularly in crisis situations, emphasize that your first priority is taking care of the people involved, not pointing fingers or assigning blame.

 Do not speculate about the motives or opinions of others.

Reporters often do this to bait you into making antagonizing remarks about your adversary or competition. Politely tell reporters to ask them instead.

 Forget about “off the record”

This is not a legally binding agreement, but a technique the media uses to get sensitive information. The rules aren’t always clear and your protection relies entirely on the integrity of the reporter.

 Don’t joke or make wisecracks

Saying something in a joking manner never translates well in print, and sometimes not even on camera.

Remember, you don’t have to answer every question

  1. If you don’t know, say so: “I don’t know the answer to that, but I’ll try to find out and get back to you.” Then do it. You don’t have to talk about your personal life, pending litigation or competitive information.

Social Media and Crisis: The First Steps

November 25th, 2014

During a crisis, social media can spread information quickly in a positive light, providing info to a large audience, such as parents, police and news media. Also, social media can spread misinformation just as quickly. Writing a press release or media statement should be seen as just as important as writing a social media message. The following are the first steps to take before drafting a social media message during a crisis.

• Research your subject/talk to experts.

• Know your target market/audience; what knowledge do they have about the subject?

• What is the best way to reach your target audience; which social media network should be used? Not all people are on social media.

• Don’t forget about your older audience; use telephones/direct mail or post office.

• Always monitor social media to see what is being said about the crisis; make sure your an expert of what you were audience is saying about your company on social media.

• Always have your audience in mind; ask yourself questions as if you are the reader.

• What is your objective when writing a social media message? What do you want to have happen?

• Make sure that you have all your facts confirmed before writing your message

• Short and concise messages

Five Critical Steps to Handling A Communications Crisis

October 30th, 2013


  1. Preventing a Crisis Before It Happens:  The most important first step in crisis management is to prevent a crisis in the first place. Take a hard look at your company, and examine potential vulnerabilities from every angle, and seek out issues or situation that could result in controversy, damage control or full-blown crisis situations.
  2. Designate a Crisis Management Team:  Who should be appointed to the crisis team? Who will speak to which audiences? Make sure you know how to contact everyone at any time.
  3. Develop a Crisis Communications Plan:  What to do in the first hour of a crisis. Get the facts first. What do you need to know? What will the potential reactions be? How to respond to the media. Who’s in charge and how do you reach them? Drill it in with practice.
  4. Implement a Company-Wide Media Policy:  Develop written policy guidelines on how to handle media inquiries, make sure everyone in the company knows about it and do this BEFORE a crisis hits, or it could backfire.
  5. When a Real Life Crisis Comes:  If the worst should happen, don’t panic. Take a deep breath, and collect your Crisis Team. Examine the situation quickly, choose your approach and determine the message you want to send to the media, your homeowners, your employees and the public in general. List the most important rules for handling any crisis.

Crisis Management: Salvaging the Reputation of American Suzuki

March 5th, 2013

This post is part of a series on how good public relations can help businesses make a name for themselves, promote their products & services, land speaking engagements for executives, influence public opinion or handle crisis situations.

When Suzuki entered the U.S. market in 1988, its Suzuki Samurai was tested by the staff at Consumer Reports, a trusted source of consumer advocacy. But when the magazine published its findings, the Samurai was rated a “Not Acceptable” safety hazard because it allegedly rolled over in turns. The cover story decimated sales and damaged the reputation of American Suzuki Motor Corp. and all of its new vehicles for years. Consumer Reports continued to exploit the Samurai evaluation over time for financial and promotional gain until 1996, when Suzuki filed a product disparagement lawsuit alleging that the testing was rigged and the magazine staff so biased that it force the vehicle to tip over and maliciously published the false results.



The public reputation of Consumer Reports was so high that Suzuki hired Gladstone International, a crisis management firm in Southern California. We were brought on as media consultants to help Suzuki present its case to the public, prepare for media challenges and provide compelling information about Suzuki’s side of the story. We produced a video with enhanced audio that revealed incriminating comments by Consumer Reports staff, a lengthy Q&A to prepare for media interviews and a 12-piece media kits. We coordinated a news conference in Washington D.C. when the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court. And we engaged long-time Samurai owners and fan clubs to defend the vehicle’s safety record in a viral online campaign..


Our efforts generated coverage from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times to the BBC and a special on CBS-TV’s “60 Minutes” where Suzuki’s general counsel appeared to challenge the publication. Although Suzuki settled the lawsuit in 2004, our efforts contributed to the restored reputation of the carmaker and media analysis showed media references to the Samurai as a dangerous vehicle virtually disappeared as a result.


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