Thursday, December 20, 2007

Someone is Talking about YOUR Brand

Used to be, in the "good old days," it was pretty easy to keep track of who was saying what about your company or product. Sign up for one of the national clipping services, wait a few weeks for the old women up in Maine to read the papers, cut out the story that you were mentioned in, and -- Voila! -- you had a pretty good idea of where you stood.

Nowadays, with the Internet and the proliferation of blogs, you don't have the luxury of waiting weeks for an envelope chock-full of clips.

The fact is, you probably need to sign up for Google Alerts. Better yet, familiarize yourself with one or more of the social bookmarking sites like

Technorati is currently tracking almost 113 million blogs and over 250 million pieces of tagged social media. Try a Technorati search -- you may be surprised what you find!

Here's the bottom line: If someone is talking about your brand, it almost necessarily means others are listening. And you need to know what they are saying.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Build Strong Media Relations Well Before You "Need" the Media

I am constantly amazed at how bitterly people complain about the media. Typically, they "don't understand" why the media doesn't report their "news" when they believe they have something important to tell.

This state of affairs is especially acute during a crisis situation, when communicating through the media is often vitally important.

One way to ensure some control over perceptions in these situations is to build strong relationships with the local media over time before the crisis ever happens. This ensures that when a crisis does occur, your media contacts are likely to be more respectful of, and potentially responsive to, the range of issues you are trying to address.

Establishing close media relations well in advance of when you "need" the media can add substantially to your credibility -- you don't want to be viewed running to the media and asking them to carry your water after ignoring them for years.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The News Never Changes, It Just Happens to Different People

I'm often asked for my opinion of the very best example of crisis management. Everyone expects me to cite the Tylenol product tampering case of 1982.

In what is now a legend in crisis management circles, Johnson & Johnson, the makers of Tylenol, came out of the crisis even stronger, through an unprecedented and extraordinarily aggressive campaign that was marked by the speed with which they responded, the candor with which they communicated, and the profit-be-damned commitment to public safety that they demonstrated at every turn.

Unlike the Exxon Valdez oil disaster, or the Firestone tire fiasco, Johnson & Johnson didn't think first about lost profits. The reason that J&J was able to rescue a high-profit product that at the time commanded a whopping 35% of the OTC analgesic market, was that they immediately ordered a massive recall of more than 31 million bottles (with a retail value of more than $100 million), which assured the public that J&J had put the public's health and best interest first.

But surprisingly, the Tylenol product tampering case is not what I consider the "best" example of crisis management.

The best crisis management cases are the ones you never hear about.

Mostly, the reason you never hear about them is that the company (and most likely their PR agency) realized that a crisis can happen to anybody, at just about any time, and they prepared for how to act and respond when it inevitably does happen.

Here is the short version of what you and your company should be doing NOW, in advance of the inevitable chaos and scramble that a crisis will bring on:

1. First and foremost, agree that managing your organization's reputation is always "Job One." Hold close to your heart the admonition of Warren Buffet who once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to lose it.”

2. Conduct a "Vulnerability Assessment." What are your greatest risks? (make a list). Ask your CEO what keeps him or her awake at night? Identify and prioritize worst case scenarios.

3. Then fix what you can in advance.

4. Assign responsibilities and contingency accountabilities now, while cool heads can prevail, and outside of the glaring spotlight. Hash out any potential differences now with lawyers (who often want to immediately take over and stonewall the media -- which is almost always disastrous). Remember that somebody has to keep flying the plane (in other words, you still need to be able to do business while the crisis unfolds). Make sure you that you have someone at a high enough level whose job it is to NOT be immersed in the crisis, but to make sure that business continues as normally as possible.

5. Identify your media spokesperson, and have a back-up in case that person is unavailable. Then make sure they are professionally trained in how to best communicate with and through the media. (I often say that dealing with the media is a lot like playing golf. Virtually ANYBODY can do it, but it takes a fair amount of talent and a good deal of practice to shoot under par.)

6. Develop a briefing book with background materials and "talking points" for potential problems.

7. Like it or not, your employees are front line – get them ready. Publish policies that proscribe their speaking about the company with the media, but also put measures in place to communicate with your staff, giving them as much information as you can.

Almost all crises have consistent elements, which you can -- and should -- plan for in advance. In today's world, the media cycle is down to seconds. The Internet has made widespread communication almost instantaneous. Blogs allow rumors spread by your competitors.

Remember the old saying, "The news never changes, it just happens to different people." A crisis can happen any time and to any company. If you aren't prepared to tell your story, it is entirely probable that someone else will do it for you. Can you really afford NOT to be prepared?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Taking Offense With the Princeton Review, part 1

The Princeton Review, which bills itself as "a leading provider of test preparation and educational support services" has a wonderfully Ivy League-sounding name. After all, what parent or prospective college student doesn't want to be considered "Princeton material?"

Turns out, The Princeton Review pretty much exists to prepare students to get better scores on their standardized tests. Which is fine. I have no problem with that. What I DO have a problem with is how they describe potential careers to young, impressionable students. In particular, the over-simplified, unsophisticated and dumbed-down information that they perpetrate about my chosen field -- public relations -- has me hopping mad, and (since I have this blog to blow off some steam) I feel the need to respond.

Here's how it begins: A public relations specialist is an image shaper. Their job is to generate positive publicity for their client and enhance their reputation. If you are a PR pro, you probably stopped and puked when you read "image shaper." If you speak the English language, you either had a little chuckle or just shook your head about the antecedent problem with the penultimate word. If you are writing this load of crap for The Princeton Review, you probably have no idea what I am talking about.

But worst of all, if you are a high school student thinking about making a monumental life decision by choosing a career, you are probably thinking that PR is a fluffy job with no real accountability for achieving solid, measurable results -- one big "truth-be-damned, let the good times roll" kind of a job.

It's time we as PR pros let people know just what it is that we DO for our clients. Here's the short version (pay attention Princeton Review): Public Relations is about communicating and building relationships. We build relationships for our clients with all of their important audiences and stakeholders. These relationships help our clients to do what it is that they do, better, more efficiently, and more effectively. Often that means helping them to sell more products or services. Just as often, it means communicating their vision and direction with their employees, so that they, in turn, see that they have a stake in the client's success, and are motivated to help the client to do more, do it better, and do it more effectively.

Our success usually depends on us developing relationships for our clients with their customers. This is often accomplished as a result of relationships that we have fostered with the press. These days, we can often encourage relationships and engage directly with customers, through social networking sites and other Internet venues.

Is "image shaping" a part of this? Of course it is. But calling PR pros "image shapers" is pretty much akin to calling doctors "pill prescribers." In both cases, those tasks are essential to our ultimate goals, but hardly the goal in and of itself.

I could go on and on for hours on this topic. Oh, and notice that I've only taken issue with The Princeton Review's opening sentences. There is more -- much more -- that I can say (that part about telling lies? Putting a "warm and fuzzy spin on a company's latest oil spill?" AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!), but it will have to wait for another day.

Friday, November 9, 2007

How to Launch a New Company or Product

Here is a link to an article that I authored on how to launch a new company or product. It appeared in the November issue of New Jersey Business magazine. Enjoy.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Another Point of View about Facebook

I just stumbled upon this interesting article from Daniel Lyons at Forbes. It's worth a read, especially if you are over 40 and somewhat stressed about either pulling the trigger on creating a Facebook page (that would be me, by the way), or wondering if your friends and business colleagues will see your existing page and somehow think less of you.

Buried within this somewhat whimsical and well-written piece are three facts that have just convinced me that I need to set up a Facebook page. They are:

- Facebook adds 200,000 new members every day.

- The site is one of the most popular destinations on the Web, with 54 billion page views per month.

- In May Facebook opened its site up to outside software developers, and now there are 3,000 additional applications created just for the site.

What does it all mean? Well, as Arlo Guthrie put it in "Alice's Restaurant:" (Again showing my age. And by the way, complain to Arlo about the non-politically correct language if you feel the need):

You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he's really sick and they won't take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may think they're both faggots and they won't take either of them. And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in singin' a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. They may think it's an organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said fifty people a day walking in singin' a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. And friends they may thinks it's a movement.

It seems to me that we have a movement on our hands. And I'm joining it.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Social Media: It's here. Get used to it

"Social Media," one of the key components of the Web 2.0 revolution, is rapidly gaining strength and momentum, and exhibiting tremendous staying power. Not that it is a be-all/end-all, nor is it replacing the "traditional media," but nowadays if you don't have a strategy for incorporating social media into your marketing communications plan, you are missing a very large, very important and rapidly growing boat.

Just this week, Google's stock price raced through 700, due in large measure to anticipated demand for and use of new social networking applications. And last week, Microsoft handed over $240 million for a 1.6% stake in Facebook -- which works out to a perceived value of $15 billion (yes, that is BILLION with a "B") for Facebook.

The big boys are taking notice, and what they see is a very lucrative "the sky's the limit" market for the continuing surge of social media.

Need more proof? Take a look around at who is blogging these days. Around here at R&J, it's not only the old guy (me), but one of our up-and-coming superstar Account Coordinators, Crystal Decotiis. Take a look at Crystal's blog here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fake News is Bad News

Is there ANYONE who thinks that FEMA's fake "press conference" last week was a good idea?

The staged press conference (story here) was called in haste (they knew that the media would need more than the 15 minutes' notice that was provided in order to attend), and actually carried live by MSNBC and Fox News who picked up FEMA's provided video feed (proving that both the left and the right are just as easily duped).

This odorous "event" has been blasted by everyone from the White House on down, including the Secretary of The Department of Homeland Security. Keith Olbermann summed up what most of us think about it on his "Countdown" program.

FEMA is in place to help coordinate a national response to natural disasters wherever they should occur in the US. Too bad they also seem to be manufacturing their own "man made" disasters as well.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Big Time Ad Man Sings PR's Praises

Need more proof that PR is the communication vehicle that will drive brands and move consumers in the 21st century? Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP Group, one of the largest ad agency groups in the world, had to go before analysts last week and report on his firm's sluggish earnings. The bright spot? WPP's Public Relations and Public Affairs groups, which bucked the trend and reported strong growth. Seems even Sir Martin himself can read the authoritative, credible PR writing on the wall (and on the blog, and on Facebook, and yes, even in traditional media).

These days, just about everyone who speaks authoritatively about marketing communications sings the praises of PR over advertising.

Thanks to my friends at O'Dwyer's for bringing this story to light, and for reporting it so well in their blog.

And welcome aboard the PR bandwagon Sir Marty!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Joe Torre - Class Act

Anyone who saw any of Joe Torre's "farewell" press conference yesterday has to be impressed by the class, dignity and honesty of this great manager. He handled himself wonderfully in a very difficult press situation -- answering honestly, and deftly demurring when asked questions that he was not yet ready to answer.

The point? Anyone who has to engage with the media would do well to watch a tape (or segments) of this press conference, to get an object lesson in how to handle a very difficult situation.

No doubt Torre will manage again -- he's earned that. And no doubt he will be fired again in the future (remember, he had three previous managerial jobs before the Yankees; Torre knows that managers are hired to be fired). But there is absolutely no doubt that when that day comes, he will go out on a high note, and, once again, handle himself as the class act that he is.

This is one Mets fan that has the greatest admiration for Joe Torre.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tooting Our Own Horn

R&J Public Relations received five first place awards and one second place award for excellence in communications during the 33rd annual JASPER Awards presented by the Jersey Shore Public Relations & Advertising Association. The awards ceremony, held at the PNC Bank Arts Center, recognized programs and individual works of creativity and excellence by companies throughout the state of New Jersey in the communication and advertising industry.

We’ve had many opportunities to develop and execute inventive, comprehensive and effective communication campaigns on behalf of our clients throughout the past year. It is an honor to be recognized by our peers in public relations and advertising, and I am very proud to see our employees’ hard work rewarded.

These awards mark a very successful completion of the 2007 "Awards Season," which saw R&J PR take home a PRSA Bronze Anvil (if you're not in PR, trust me, this is a big deal), a national Healthcare Marketing Gold Award, the "Best of Show" award from the New Jersey PRSA Chapter, along with seven Jersey Awards from the NJ Ad Club, and five Pyramid Awards from NJPRSA.

View our Bronze Anvil award-winning Video News Release here.

See our First Place JASPER award-winning Public Service Announcement on inhalant abuse education here (60 second version) or here (30 second version) or here (15 second version).

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Slings and Arrows

Usually I can absorb the slings and arrows of outrageous ignorance when it comes to the views of so many in the general public about the public relations profession. But sometimes I can't. Today is one of those days.

A columnist in the local Gannett newspaper chain here in New Jersey, Michael Riley, was offered a job in PR. He wrote about his horror at the thought of coming over to what he certainly perceives as "The dark side of the force" in today's column.

I just had to respond. Here's the email I just dashed off to Mr. Riley:

Mr. Riley,

I’m (usually) a big fan. In fact, just this morning, I roused my 16-year-old son from “my chair” at the kitchen table, specifically so I could “read Riley.”

That said, where do you get off denigrating the public relations profession? Your ignorance about what PR is, what it does for so many people, and the contributions the profession makes to society and the economy is, frankly, astounding.

In the spirit of full disclosure: I’ve been in PR for over 20 years, and I own a mid-sized PR agency in Bridgewater. Let me tell you just a few of the things that my agency has done over those years, and I’ll try to avoid unnecessary adjectives and adverbs like the “horribly terrible bubonic plague of olden times.” (No, I didn’t miss the slight). Here are a few:

- We mobilized a grass roots campaign that moved the New Jersey state legislature to change an antiquated law that was resulting in the unnecessary deaths of babies in need of heart transplants.
- We conceived and orchestrated a national educational effort on the dangers of teen and pre-teen abuse of inhalants, or “huffing” as they call it.
- We helped to bring about regulations that are now protecting at-risk populations (the elderly, the profoundly handicapped, etc.) through the mandated installation of fire sprinklers in residential settings.
- We have given voice to the needs of those recovering from the ravages of substance abuse, resulting in programs and regulations that are keeping more and more off drugs and in good, taxpaying jobs.
- We helped to overcome decades-old political opposition so that people in three suburban New York counties can now receive life-saving cardiac care without having to leave the state or travel to Manhattan.
- And yes, we have helped companies sell things from cameras to air horns, helping to keep a lot of people well employed, and able to feed their families.

I could go on, but I’m hoping you get the point.

Sure, there are some amateurs in public relations. But, by and large, most of the people I know in PR are real pros who know communication, and who take great pride in their work. You could do a hell of a lot worse than to “take such a job.” In fact, many journalists do successfully transition into PR, and go on to live happy, fulfilled lives. I know because some of them work for me. And not a week goes by that I don’t get a resume from a journalist seeking to go down “that particular rabbit hole.”

So, Riley, lighten up, and c’mon down off your high horse. But if you still want to go “toe-to-toe” on how journalism is somehow more noble than public relations, I have two words for you and your profession: Britney Spears.


John Lonsdorf
R&J Public Relations, LLC
Bridgewater, NJ

Friday, October 5, 2007

The "most effective advertising medium"

Thumbing through the morning paper, I came across a full page ad with the headline, "What is the most effective advertising medium in New Jersey?"

Much like Claude Rains in Cassablanca who was "Shocked -- SHOCKED -- to find that gambling is going on in here," imagine my utter surprise to learn that the New Jersey Newspaper Network thinks that newspapers are the "most effective" way for companies to advertise in New Jersey.

Don't get me wrong -- I LOVE newspapers (remember how this post started? With me reading the morning paper). But I also love the radio in my car. And TV. Magazines, too. And the Internet.

So, I would ask, why not have them all? (Spoiler alert: here comes the "commercial" for Public Relations.)

PR firms routinely target all of those, with the most audience-appropriate messages, and in the media that will best reach decision makers. Our clients regularly find themselves in newspapers, trade and general interest magazines, on television news, on the radio, and liberally distributed all over the Internet. Moreover, their message is delivered far more credibly and believably than ads, which people tend to look at with a jaundiced eye.

Almost EVERY successful major new product introduction in the past decade has been launched via a public relations campaign. There is a reason for this. PR works. It's credible. And it can deliver your message in the widest variety of media.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Powerful messages in the least expected place

Those of us who have been following the ordeal of Lisa and Les in the comic strip Funky Winkerbean have been given an object lesson in just how effective and poignant communication can be in even this most simple and unexpected place. We all know the fate that inevitably awaits Lisa, who is in the final stages of a losing battle against cancer, but we still pull for her, and are moved on a daily basis by the little things that point to a life well lived. With few words and simple pictures, we are drawn to these people, and feel their pain. And it touches us deeply.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Welcome to the Blogosphere, O'Dwyer PR

Our friends at O'Dwyer PR have joined the blogging revolution. Welcome Jack, John, Kevin, Greg, and all of the OTHER new PR bloggers.

Take a look at the O'Dwyer PR blog here:

Monday, September 24, 2007

In defense of PR people

All too often, PR people get a bad rap. The insipidly stupid "Jim Mike, PR Manager for the US Women's Soccer Team" is just the example du jour of PR-bashing.

In my experience, most PR people are real pros, who know how to handle a rough situation with poise, tact and professionalism. Take for example this piece (link below) from YouTube, where some prankster somehow obtained the cell phone number for YouTube's own PR representative, Julie. Sure it's funny. Sure he's "punked" her. And sure, it makes for entertaining watching.

What it also does is point out how totally unflappable, how truly professional and how incredibly patient she is. If public relations is all about connecting with people, Julie flat-out has it down. Take a look:

Remember Julie and her performance under extremely strange circumstances the next time some under-informed or ignorant person calls a PR pro a "flack" or "spin doctor."

(By the way, the "Jim Mike" thing aside, I am a HUGE Rainn Wilson fan, and absolutely love "The Office.")

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Note to Jack O'Dwyer:

Jack, you make many very valid and insightful points regarding management of PRSA, and how they serve (or don't serve, as the case may be) the rank-and-file of the PR industry. That said, your refusal to use the "A" in PRSA comes across as a hissy-fit from an obstinate old man. Give it up.

But, please, Jack, don't give up on your quest to have PRSA better serve its members, to adopt more open policies, to employ PR professionals to do "PR for PR," and to implement sound and accepted fiscal and accounting policies.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

August off

Just a note to let you all know that I took August off from the blog, but hope to be back semi-irregularly in September. I've been thinking about some things, and will be sharing them with you soon. Stay tuned...

Saturday, July 28, 2007

World’s Largest Advertiser Demonstrates PR’s ROI

Procter & Gamble, the world’s largest advertiser with over 400 well-known consumer brands, recently concluded an in-depth, 18-month study of their marketing tools and tactics. The result yielded a bit of a surprise. P&G found that public relations more than any other discipline provided the best return on investment within the company's vast marketing mix.

P&G developed the study to measures its PR efforts in the context of, and in relation to, all of its other marketing efforts such as advertising, sponsorships, promotions, direct response, and merchandising. The study incorporates detailed analysis, including information on cost, scope, audience, geographic markets, and possible synergy with other marketing tactics.

The result? P&G’s findings showed a greater ROI from PR than other marketing discipline in four of the six brands tested.

Given the difficulty in measuring PR’s effectiveness (this is an age-old problem and a good subject for a subsequent post) it is gratifying that a sophisticated marketer like P&G has finally put their analytical muscle behind what we in the PR field have known for a long time – that pound for pound, PR is the most effective way to market a product or service.

As always, I'm happy to hear your feedback on this article. Post your thoughts, or email me at

Monday, July 23, 2007

Advertising People are Finally getting on the PR Bandwagon (What took them so long?)

Ask any advertising “creative” person who the hot agency du jour is, and they will most likely answer Crispin Porter & Bogusky, the irreverent Miami-based firm that brought you the Burger King making a tackle in an NFL game, the Slim Jim “Snagalope” and Volkswagen’s “German Engineering in the House” campaigns.

Leaving aside the relative merits of those campaigns, what CPB’s CEO had to say last week in announcing that his firm had opened a PR division spoke volumes. Here are his words, as reported in the July 16 issue of PR Week:

“In truth, we have probably believed in PR more than advertising in terms of its power in the marketing mix. Everything that we’ve been a part of that has had any element of success has had large collaborations with PR.”

Virtually every major business book on marketing in the past several years has touted the power of PR. The most famous, of course, is the Al and Laura Reis tome The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR. A real sea-change is taking place in the marketing field. Smart marketers – including those with a stake in selling high-priced advertising campaigns – are joining the revolt. Will you get in before it has become a full-scale revolution?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Take Steps to Ensure That Your Brand is the One That You Want

When speaking to many marketing people on the subject of branding, I often hear an exasperated response along the lines of, “We don’t do any branding, and as a matter of fact we don’t even have a brand!”

I try to remind them that, of course they have a brand, because a brand is, by definition, a mark of distinction that is representative of how your product is perceived by its intended target audience. Like it or not, every organization and every product out there has a fundamental “brand” in the eyes of its consumers.

Sadly, it may not be the brand they want!

It is important to realize that the branding of your organization is happening, with or without your participation. Perceptions of your brand are being shaped through experience, word of mouth, and every public act undertaken by the organization and its people. Even though you may not be actively shaping the perceptions of your brand in the marketplace, strong (and lasting) perceptions are still being formed.

This begs the question, if you are not actively managing your brand, then who or what is?

If you are not actively shaping your intended brand message in the marketplace, then you can be sure it’s being shaped either by consumer scuttlebutt, or worse, by your competition. Either way, are you content to let someone or something other than you determine what the marketplace perceives about your organization?

An appropriate analogy might be a car hurtling down the highway. The driver has chosen not to drive (he may be napping or is busy doing something “more important”) but that does not mean the car will not arrive somewhere – it will – we just don’t know where it will arrive, how suddenly it will get there, or whether we will need a tow truck, an ambulance or a hearse to clean up the mess.

The bottom line is you DO have a brand, and it is essential that you know exactly what your consumers’ perceptions of that brand are. If you are happy with those perceptions, then your next step is to develop a strategy to defend and enhance it. If, however, you need to change your brand perception, a strategic and comprehensive program to move public perception in your favor is in order.

Consider this: Strong brands are sought out by consumers, who are willing to pay a premium for those brands (studies show that strong brands command price premiums of, on average, 7% over lesser brands).

Let me know what you think. Respond or email me at

# # #

Saturday, June 2, 2007

jetBlue - Crisis Management

Let me tell you why I admire David Neeleman. While I feel sympathy for the CEO of jetBlue (who's surely been taking quite a beating in the press lately), and I wouldn’t have wanted to be in his shoes for the past few weeks, I can honestly say he’s one of my PR Heros.

Why? Because despite all of the bad breaks, despite a number of missteps, despite all of the bad press, and despite the ritualistic media pile-on that he continues to endure, his airline will be just fine, thank you. And (as I predicted) passenger volume is back to near-normal.

It’s not because he was flawless in how he handled the Valentine's Day stranded passenger crisis (no, far from it, in fact). It’s because from the day he started jetBlue in 2001, Neeleman knew the secret to success:

Managing your reputation is Job One for every business.

From the airline’s very first day of operation, Neeleman and jetBlue went the extra mile to build customer support and trust. They listened – really listened – to what airline passengers were saying, and provided the services, the amenities and the atmosphere that passengers wanted, but were not getting from the bigger airlines. As a result, jetBlue’s passengers are among the most loyal in the airline industry – an industry that notoriously lacks customer allegiance.

When the crisis hit – brought about by a Valentine’s Day ice storm at the epicenter of jetBlue’s main hub in the Northeast – jetBlue was initially slow to respond (they were in “Stage One - Denial” of the five stages of crisis management – a good subject for a subsequent blog post). However, once they realized the full magnitude of the situation, Neeleman got “out in front” of the cascading failure, acknowledged that jetBlue’s performance was intolerable, and focused on making it right. This included an industry-first “Customer Bill of Rights,” and Neelman's realization that the airline was more important than his ego.

A less-respected (and yes, less liked) airline might never have recovered from such a total systematic breakdown. But jetBlue was fortunate to have had a generous supply of good will in the “reputation bank” – the most important “capital” to have in any crisis. And they have continued to pursue a customer-centric approach.

The result: While jetBlue still has more to do to earn back its customers’ trust, one horribly painful week-long incident will be forgiven, exchanged for the storehouse of goodwill that Neeleman and jetBlue were savvy enough to accumulate over the short lifespan of the airline.

We provide a good deal of crisis planning for our clients. In fact, we insist that our clients have a crisis communications plan in place. No matter what your industry, crisis preparedness and a plan for a disciplined response is a necessity. How your organization behaves and communicates during a crisis can be crucial to your future. But as I say to all of our clients, the best crisis management tactic is to make sure that you are favorably positioned and regarded well in advance of the crisis.

R&J Public Relations’ Crisis Management Practice helps companies anticipate, prepare for and manage complex situations. We work with corporate management teams to identify vulnerabilities and develop strategies and protocols that help our clients seize control of crisis situations and manage communications to help prevent problems and issues from escalating and spiraling out of control.

Tell me if you agree with me or not. I look forward to your perspective. Email me at