A Crisis of Confidence

Photo: Claire ThompsonA 2016 global survey report by Deloitte,  A crisis of confidence, reports a notable gap between real and perceived crisis readiness in the eyes of board members and the large companies they direct.

The report looked at board members’ confidence in their organisations’ crisis-related abilities, how well companies are addressing perceived vulnerabilities, and whether the board knows what to do before, during, and immediately after a crisis.

They defined crisis as an event or events that present a severe threat to strategic objectives, reputation and viability. (And noted that not every crisis appears on the news.)

The (very US focussed) 2016 Holmes Report identified their twelve major crises sufferers of 2015 – and many seem to have taken calculated risks or created their own problems.  The classic crisis cause in this list is claiming to be something you’re not: VW claimed cleaner emissions; Chipotle built its reputation on great food handling.

Volkswagen’s software ‘defeat device’  helped cars pass emission tests. It was a deliberate attempt to mislead and cost them 5% of car sales.  I’m amazed they haven’t suffered more. As governments wake up to the opportunity to reclaim lost emissions revenues, and actions are taken by consumers and regulators, this crisis may drag out further. Ironically, the emissions cover up seems unnecessary. How many people buy VW on green credentials? From the outside their reputation was primarily built on reliability and product quality, meaning that this was probably a completely unnecessary risk to take, and the consequences include damaged trust.

(As a footnote, I would also be surprised if VW was alone in ‘fixing’. Watch this space. If I was leading a car company right now, I’d be looking at my practises and coming clean PDQ – BEFORE someone does it for me.)

Chipotle, by contrast, built it’s reputation with food handling and quality a key part of its brand promises. It needed to take zero risks in this area, so when poor food handling hit the headlines, it was unforgivable. This is a governance and operational issue that could easily have been identified in a basic crisis preparedness audit.

The FIFA and Petrobras cases in the Holmes Report involved bribery risks. There are clear rules on bribery, and the Read more »

Does an analyst relations programme still matter?


ChimpI’m often asked if analyst relations programmes add any value?

My answer? In a word: yes!

Some view analyst relations as old hat. I beg to differ, although I acknowledge that the market has changed vastly. Of course there are provisos on usefulness, depending upon the sector you’re in, budget, and who your customers are, but like any other PR tactic, it’s relevance depends on what your PR campaign aims to achieve.

Analyst opinion counts with certain groups of people. And if those people matter to you, an analyst relations programme is a sensible investment – a ‘no brainer’. They are key ‘influencers’, although be warned – some PR people only apply the term ‘influencers’ to the online World, with influence measured by online noise levels (which does have it’s place, but is a different topic altogether).

“We have Google,” I hear you cry. “Why would anyone not just surf for information?”

Google makes no claims to only serving accurate information – it makes no moral judgement or qualitative decisions about what’s being presented. Key in a minor rash and before you know it you have a rare disease or need to spend hundreds on the latest superfood.

Analysts live and breathe depth of information. They understand their sectors and know which questions to ask, and spot (if you’ll excuse the expression) BS at ten paces. They study, define, refine and analyse information, well beyond what’s available as a Google source, providing an informed, impartial resource and it’s for this that they are paid.

Where lots of money will change hands, there’s a lot at stake, and it’s therefore no surprise that analysts remain a popular source for many decision makers. Making an investment in informing theses analysts can prove an invaluable exercise – some of them may have a direct line into your customers, some to the media.

Most industries, from aviation though to healthcare, have someone who watches – and advises on – the market and the people who serve it.

Financial analysts, for example, serve their role in reaching investors, and having a PR consultant equipped with the right skills and contacts is vital. (It’s not my personal area of expertise, it’s one I refer to financial PR specialists).

Technology analysts vary hugely, and which to engage will depend upon your goals. Some reach corporate IT departments. Some partner with other technology companies. Some reach channel partners. And some write for technology publications.

For start ups through to mid-sized businesses, an analyst relations programme can look like an expensive exercise. But a good PR consultant, one with an eye on your business success, will be able to tell you which, if any, analysts can help you reach your business/organisation goals, and include them in your PR programme.

Because PR, contrary to common belief, doesn’t simply stand for ‘press release’.

If you think an analyst relations programme may be useful for your business, I’d be delighted to talk you through what this involves and whether I’d be a good partner for you. Call Claire Thompson, Waves PR, M: 07771 817015.

A couple of new articles

It’s my client work that pays the bills, and my client work that comes first when it comes to blogging time.

Which is a crass way of saying sorry that I’ve not blogged a lot of late. Or just an excuse. You choose!

But then, like buses, these blogs come along together – or at least one does: Start up PR: Heaven follows Hell which I published on LinkedIn, just to mix it up a little.

The other blog I thought I’d flag was an article that quoted me – it’s a detailed piece of work, useful mostly to SEO types but also to anyone flitting on the edges of PR in a digital role – The Converging Worlds of Digital PR and SEO by Hannah Thorpe.

Combining LinkedIn and a ‘How to…’, and in an effort not to be self serving and think about what you might find both interesting and useful, I’m hoping you’ll enjoy this Linked In article by Guy Clapperton: (Most) Journalists aren’t Out to Get You. Enjoy!




Physician heal thyself!



Happy New Year one and all – I hope you’re now back in the swing of things.

This little blog has been abandoned for far too long- it’s always the way, isn’t it? You’re doing so much for other people that you run out of resources to do it for yourself.  The cobblers new shoes. Physician heal thyself. There are a million and one sayings to cover what it basically procrastination. This syndrome is particularly true when you freelance. I refuse to make a New Year’s Resolution. Let’s just call it resolutely getting on with an overdue task in the gentle post-Christmas lull.

It may not be obvious yet, but I am having a major tidy up on this site, so if there’s content missing, bear with me – some of it had been there for so long that it was embarrassing, and making navigation impossible. I probably should just have made the pages private – because my next job is, of course, to sort out broken links.

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