10 Steps To Take Now For Crisis Readiness

In the past few weeks, I have overheard discussion among students at BYU-Idaho about what public relations really does. One student tried to summarize the numberless “job descriptions” of a PR practitioner in two words: crisis management,

Though I do agree that professionals working with the image of companies and/or individuals have a lot of clean up in their responsibilities, I do not believe that they can be described by that oversimplified definition. However, crisis management is an important component of what public relations teams will inevitably encounter at some point during their careers.

One of the best ways to deal with crisis is to prepare for them before they come. PRSA recently identified the following 10 steps to take now for crisis readiness:

  1. Identify potential crises.
  2. Analyze your company’s state of readiness.
  3. Check the crisis readiness of your “bull’s-eye” team.
  4. Research your company’s record.
  5. Build the image of key leaders.
  6. Review your social media status.
  7. Examine and strengthen key relationships.
  8. Schedule media training sessions.
  9. Stage crisis readiness simulations.
  10. Update or create a crisis response plan, and name an ongoing crisis team.

Prepare now by taking these steps and be ready for the undesired fate that will eventually befall us all at some point in our line of work.

Read PRSA’s full article to gain further insight into each step.

Redefining An Industry

– #10 –

The Public Relations Society of America has been leading an initiative to modernize the definition of public relations. Discussions have been held through various venues to construct a definition that will highlight what public relations does as an industry.

On Sept. 29, 2011, PRSA hosted a one-day summit at its headquarters in New York to discuss the need for an updated definition and the process to undertake such an initiative. According to the official blog for the initiative, eleven organizations (in addition to PRSA) were represented at the summit or have since joined the effort, including:

Here is the current definition of public relations as stated on PRSA’s official site:

“Public relations helps an organization and its publics
adapt mutually to each other.”

According to the site, this definition was formally adopted by PRSA at the 1982 National Assembly.

What has developed from the summit held in late September was an agreement that the best definitions currently held by allied industries (e.g., advertising, branding and marketing) encapsulated four components:

  • Function
  • What
  • How
  • Why

Tied together in a single sentence, participants at the summit felt this would be the best approach to guide the process of defining:

Public relations [DOES WHAT] with/for [WHOM] to [DO WHAT] for [WHAT PURPOSE].

They also felt the modern definition should address two specific targets:

  1. How public relations drives business success; and
  2. How public relations protects and/or promotes the organization or brand.

PRSA extended an invitation to all interested in contributing to share their modernized definition on their blog.

How would you define public relations?

PRSSA National Conference Summary

Every October, PRSSA holds a national conference. This year, the conference was hosted by the University of Florida chapter. They beautifully organized the venue and speakers. All those in attendance would be hard pressed to leave the conference and take nothing of value back with them.

PRSSA National Conference
Here is our chapter’s executive board poolside at the lovely Renaissance at Sea World in Orlando, where the PRSSA National Conference was held.

Lauren Gray did a wonderful job of compiling highlights from the conference for all those who want a recap of the events or were unable to attend certain sessions. Here are my own summaries of the sessions I was able to attend with a link to the official conference recap for each:

  • Chapter Development Sessions – National Conference started off with some great chapter developments sessions. This is where chapters could go and learn best practices from other chapters who are excelling in an specific area.
  • Opening Session Keynote with Craig Dezner – Craig Dezern, vice president of global public relations for Disney Destinations, presented the keynote address at the National Conference.
  • Media Training Session – Dr. Joseph V. Trahan, III, APR, enlightened attendees with the “Three C’s of Media Relations” and media interview techniques, the most relevant and basic tips for young professionals.There was also another session where Rick Leventhal, senior correspondent with Fox News, discussed communicating with media contacts.