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The Scout Lesson: If Trump Comes to Speak, Be Prepared (for Anything)

[By Bruce Hennes, Hennes Communications] Since the 1920’s, the president of the United States has had a standing invitation to attend and address the Boy Scout Jamboree, held every four years.  And most presidents have accepted that invitation, using the occasion to deliver similar messages about God, apple pie and reflect on the Scout’s Code […]


Cats Sleeping With Dogs: How Lawyers and Crisis Communicators Can Work Together

[By Thom Fladung, Hennes Communications] At Hennes Communications, we often tell clients that they have an attorney for the Court of Law. But they have us for the Court of Public Opinion. And those two courts often require different – and at times conflicting – strategies. Attorneys have persuasive arguments for tailoring a strategy completely around […]


How Activists And Populists Now Control Your Corporate Brand — And What You Can Do About It

From our colleague, Richard Levick: “Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times.” – Niccolo Machiavelli C-suite executives and board members often ask if their corporation needs a new Facebook strategy or a better way to communicate on Twitter. As pleased as I am that they’re exploring ways to institute change, I […]


Avoiding Social Media Turbulence and PR Disasters: Airline CEOs Speak Out on Crisis Communications

No one knows more about disaster and crisis communications than the airlines. That’s why we have little doubt in our minds that the CEO of United Airlines, in the immediate aftermath of Dr. Dao getting hauled off the plane by police officers a few months ago, was indeed given the right advice by his crisis/PR […]


Don’t Get Too Obsessed with Recent Airline Customer Service Incidents – There are Bigger Sharks in the Risk Waters

Chris Britton writes: Target is a great place to shop. I love going there, and I bet many of you do too. But I also find the company fascinating because over the past few years it has provided huge debating points for those of us who make a living managing issues and crises. Until United […]


In Its Response to Sex Abuse Allegation, Sidwell Friends Joins Other Private Schools in Pursuing Transparency

Unfortunately, one of the fastest growth areas of business – and amongst the saddest – are the calls we receive at Hennes Communications with allegations of sexual misconduct.  For scores of years, the prevailing wisdom was ignore, obfuscate, transfer and protect privacy and reputations at all-costs. Like so many pendulums, times change, and it’s now […]


Why ‘Sorry” is Still the Hardest Word

From Michael M. Grynbaum at the New York Times: “I’m sorry.” Two simple words, not so simply said. On Wednesday, the public representatives of two embattled American institutions — United Airlines and the White House — found themselves on national television grappling with a delicate and increasingly common ritual of the corporate and political worlds: […]


Apologies, Non-Apologies, Fauxpologies, Conditional Apologies & Past Exoneratives

By Stan Carey: Writing in 2012 about the nature of apologies, I said that being sorry is about more than just saying the words, “but the words, as an explicit admission of wrongdoing or shortcoming, can be an important part of reconciliation.” With a non-apology the aims and effects are wholly different. The person delivering […]


Did American Airlines Profit from United’s Poor Example?

[By Nora Jacobs, Hennes Communications] This past weekend provided the crisis communications profession with a Petri dish-like opportunity to study the way two almost identical organizations managed two almost identical situations less than two weeks apart. If we had devised an experiment using the scientific method, we probably could not have created a more precise […]


Shooting Your Reputation in the Foot: Self-Inflicted Crisis Management Lessons from United Airlines

[by Howard Fencl, Hennes Communications] A video recently removed from Facebook shows law enforcement officers violently removing a passenger on a United Airlines flight from Chicago to Louisville right before takeoff. The flight was overbooked, and a United crew of four needed seats so they could get to Louisville, where they had a flight to work. Passengers […]


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