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Crisis Management Today

April 1, 2017

In The Headlines

Why Buying Forgiveness Doesn’t Work

Several large companies have taken out expensive ads apologizing for bad behavior. Though one-way communication might seem like a good short-term solution, long-term brand perception shows otherwise.


I Studied How Journalists Used Twitter for Two Years. Here’s What I Learned

Twitter is just a new gadget in our tool box. It has expanded our reach, but it has also fueled the flood of propaganda masquerading as news. It has amplified the political discourse, sometimes in very ugly ways.

When the Friendly Skies Suddenly Turn Hostile

It only takes one employee, in one moment, to make one decision with the potential to create a HUGE reputational threat for the employer. Even if an innocent mistake, in the world of Twitter, few wait for the facts to come out.

Our Perspective

True or False? It Depends.

People tend to believe facts supporting their personal points of view while rejecting similarly legitimate facts that run counter to those beliefs. Here’s why that provides fertile ground for the rampant growth of fake news.

Corporate lawyers are not expected to provide legal PR advice alone.  The ABA and the Supreme Court have repeatedly stated that in today's modern, complex, regulated marketplace, providing adequate legal representation is not a solitary task.  For this very reason, the work product doctrine was created and communications between attorneys and third-party consultants are sometimes protected by the attorney-client privilege.  Thus, attorneys can and should, in certain circumstances, consult more with internal and external PR specialists when deciding which legal strategies to pursue.

Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics


4/5   Toledo Bar Association
4/13  Alabama State Bar Association
4/13  Warren Averett CPAs & Advisors
4/14  Alabama League of Municipalities


4/18  Queen's County (NYC) Bar Association
4/21  Lake County Safety Council
4/25  Cleveland Council of Independent Schools
4/27  OH Atty Gen's Conf for University Atty's


Nisi Pro Advocatorum

As almost any general counsel of a large, publicly traded, consumer-oriented company will tell you, legal controversies today are tried in the Court of Public Opinion — at least as much as in any Court of Law. Every organization has much to gain (or lose) by the way a legal controversy is positioned in the media. Because the value of a company’s reputation is immeasurable — and perhaps its largest uninsured asset — the organization loses when the brand image is tarnished, even if the corporation technically wins at trial.  Furthermore, since most legal controversies are settled prior to trial, the Court of Public Opinion has arguably become the most important battleground affecting not only good will and market share, but legal bargaining power and settlement negotiations. Managing this battleground, therefore, has become integral to many corporations’ legal strategies. 

                        Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics

“An attorney’s duties do not begin inside the courtroom door.” 

                         Gentile vs. State Bar of Nevada 

In these days of 24/7 instant news, where Twitter and Facebook exponentially amplify crisis situations, organizations simply cannot wait until a legal decision is rendered.  They must be prepared to vigorously defend their position in a wide variety of venues, as well as media outlets. 

Hennes Communications regularly works with and for outside and general counsel for corporations, government agencies, non-profits, schools, hospitals and educational institutions, helping them communicate their way through legal and reputational challenges ranging from criminal charges and claims of medical and professional malpractice to labor and employment issues, food and product liability issues, ownership and transition disputes that threaten the very existence of an organization. We are practiced in the art of working with attorneys and, in fact, are frequently brought in by attorneys who recognize the value we bring to the table. 

Crisis Mgmt. vs. Issue Mgmt.

If it hits you fast, it’s a crisis.  But it if you saw it coming days or weeks ahead, it’s probably an issue.
Crisis management requires fast actions, often without time for deliberation and consensus, making decisions on the spot.  Crises are time-consuming, disruptive, often off-budget - and often pose existential danger to your organization or job.
Issue management offers time for research and analysis, consensus and a cost-effective response.  Issue management is deliberative, with a greater chance to minimize damage and disruption to organizational efforts.

One way to discern the difference is with a Vulnerability Audit.  And the best way to handle both is to call the crisis and issue management specialists at Hennes Communications.


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