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crisis management

On a recent webinar about COVID-19 communications, an audience member asked, “how will leaders know when it is ok to go back to business as usual?” If I was to read between the lines, another way to ask this question could have been, “what the heck are we supposed to be telling our people when we have no clue what will happen or when it will happen or how it should happen?” Looking at jobless claims, small...

To follow up on “Navigating COVID-19: A Briefing for Leaders,” which we posted last week, we’ve created two downloadable, printable references to keep handy as you prepare communications related to COVID-19. The first, a COVID-19 Lexicon, contains a list of key terms related to COVID-19, including self-quarantine, isolation, lockdown, and others. We’ve also outlined the difference between coronavirus, COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2, so you can be sure you are using the right terms about the virus and the disease that it causes. Also available is a tip sheet...

By Mike Kuczkowski Around the globe, we are navigating unprecedented territory. In response to the coronavirus 2019 pandemic, borders have closed, Main Streets have shuttered and millions of people are working from home—many alongside their children, who are figuring out how to go to school via teleconference. The constant stream of information on this emergent disease—the rising number of diagnoses and deaths, the uncertainty of disease incidence due to lack of testing and the evolving public health response—has introduced...

By Mike Kuczkowski   It’s been awfully quiet on the Orangefiery blog. Too quiet. Fifteen months since our last post? That’s outrageous! All we can offer is a typical excuse: We’ve been really busy. It’s true. Business is good and growing. We’ve got a dozen clients and eight team members. The work we’ve taken on has been challenging and rewarding. The creation and development of Orangefiery has been an intense and fulfilling journey.  Fifteen years ago, when I joined Edelman, I...

Photo by Chris Potter, courtesy of http://www.stockmonkeys.com/. Used under Creative Commons license. By Mike Kuczkowski   It was, according to Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli, “a great business decision that also benefits all of our stakeholders.” Not so fast, buddy. Shkreli was referring to his company’s decision to raise the price of Daraprim, a treatment for toxoplasmosis it had recently acquired, from $13.50 to $750 per pill. Some 60 million Americans carry the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, but most people are unaffected...

Tom Brady, who is implicated in an NFL investigation into whether his team intentionally deflated footballs used in the AFC Championship Game in January. Photo by Keith Allison. Used under Creative Commons license. By Mike Kuczkowski In Week 7 of what was a tough 2014 NFL season, Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady was ticked off. It was halftime, October 16. Patriots v. Jets. At home. New England was up 17-12, in a surprisingly feisty matchup. At the time, the Patriots...

By Mike Kuczkowski Last month, Silicon Valley was abuzz with the unfolding saga of Ellen Pao’s gender bias case against venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers. A former junior partner at KPCB, Pao, 45, alleged that male partners there engaged in a pattern of discriminatory behavior against female junior partners. Pao, who worked at KPCB for seven and a half years, also said she had been sexually harassed by a former partner and that the firm...

By Mike Kuczkowski The first move for anyone facing a lawsuit is to get a good lawyer. The second move: get a good communications counselor. In Pao v. Kleiner Perkins, (see The Reputational Costs of Litigation), both sides put significant resources into communications. Pao lunched with reporters from Reuters and re/code. (Note: registration required for access.) The Wall Street Journal took an in-depth look at crisis communications firm Brunswick’s efforts on behalf of Kleiner Perkins. (Ditto.) I’ve been on both sides of...

By Mike Kuczkowski The two weeks between the AFC/NFC Championship games and the Super Bowl is usually devoted to celebrating the success of the two teams who have made it to the Big Game, examining their strengths and weaknesses, pulling together Super Bowl party menus and generating some excitement about one of the few remaining mass cultural events in America. We’ve spent the past two weeks talking about, ahem, New England’s balls. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock,...

By Mike Kuczkowski That ESPN and the NFL each face criticism for their handling of employee discipline underscores the unpredictable nature of the modern crisis, and how important performance in the face of unexpected events has become the measure of crisis response. The league has botched a series of incidents of domestic violence and child abuse involving its players. Most notably, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had to backpedal aggressively in the wake of criticism of his suspension of...