This is the blog post for the final talk of the academic year. This year has been one full of amazing speakers and events run by the PR Fraternity and I just wanted to take a moment to mention the team before getting into our final talk. Our President Gerda Pinciute , has been strong and determined to improve the fraternity and make it more social, and I believe she has succeeded in bringing the society together with socials. The events and fraternity would not have been as amazing if it wasn’t for the consistent help of our Vice President and our Events Officer, Hannah Stupar and Anastasia Grammatikopoulou. Without the updates from Samuel Sparks on Social Media, there would be no efficient way of putting our events and society on the university radar. Last but not least, a thank you to Monica Nunez, for her help as the Photographer at our events. I have had an amazing time writing blog posts for the PR Fraternity this year and being part of the PR Fraternity Executive team has been a great experience. So without further ado, here is a summary of Kate Steele’s talk.
Kate Steele’s talk on crisis management was interesting and eye opening to the different issues that she comes across on a day to day basis, as well as her advice if you plan to work in that sector. Her first point was how reputation is all about trust; how to maintain it, generate it and how keeping trust specifically with your stakeholders is key. Another tip Kate gave was try not to panic, as most of the time it is not necessary.
“Always look broadly at the bigger picture to stay informed”
Kate Steele said humans had two instincts. Instinct 1 was more of a caveman style, using the fight or flight theory, we react to what we truly want. Instinct 2 is more rational/civilised part of the brain, this is what we try to use to make decisions at work and is very important in crisis management. Advice for working in that sector was to think like a lawyer. Your job is to defend your client but keep it legal as well. Kate said detaching yourself emotionally is important in some situations. She has been in situations involving factory closures, job losses, data leaks and theft, product recalls and kidnapping, meaning keeping a moral compass as well as emotional detachment is vital.
Preparation is crucial
Always have a crisis plan in place and a clearly defined team with roles and responsibilities and make sure you have trained and tested through situations before they happen so that you do not look disorganised. Additionally, have resources in place already such as digital assists, media lists, a roster of third-party experts and influencers. And make sure there is relationships ready in place for example local and international politicians, officials,media, academics, online pundit, NGOs, emergency services, as it doesn’t look good to try and make new friends after trouble or bad news had already hit.
Organisations can work with media to build a strong repetitional/trust story…combining what the company stands for; what is does; how it engages…
Kate Steele suggested that everyone should learn about cyber issues even if that’s not the area you would like to work in. In her opinion, because so much is cyber these days, it will almost definitely be involved in your job.
The general population’s trust in all four key institutions- business, government, NGOs, and media-has declined broadly in the past five years. Also globalisation is seen to have failed many communities/individuals. However, there’s been a healthy mistrust of many institutions for years.
Kate went through the different issues that you can come across in crisis management and the different areas they can be in.
EHSS issues: fatal accidents/other accidents/emissions/pollution/fires/hazmat/sabotage
Employee issues: Labour disputes/executive departures/employee wrongdoing
Legal issues: Contract/intellectual property/improper payments
Cyber issues: Info security/data protection/ privacy/ DDOS/ Phising/ Hacking
Transactional issues: Reorganisation/restructuring/mergers and acquisitions
Associative taint: Broad industry issues
Overall, the talk was enlightening and incredibly interesting. After Kate Steele’s talk, we had the vote to decide next years PR Fraternity team (2017-2018). It was close but here are our new members of the Executive family!
Cheyenne O’Kane– President
Hannah Larsen– Vice President
Ellie Tyrrell– Digital Media Officer
Martina Della Maddalena– Photography Officer
Jess Voller– Events Officer
Megan Bakewell– Marketing Officer
Catriona McAllister – Secretary
Good Luck to you all next year, and I hope you create the same amazing memories my executive team have!