Crisis Management: Listen Up, Toyota and Tiger Woods!

The recent string of high-profile public relations disasters is impressive. Consider these, to name a few:

  • The Tiger Woods sex scandal
  • The Toyota safety debacle
  • Kevin Smith vs. Southwest Airlines
  • NBC’s talk show wars

All of these situations have one thing in common: the brands — be they companies or, in the case of Tiger Woods, a hybrid (personal brand + corporate entity) — failed to get in front of their PR train wrecks and effectively manage the resulting fallout. A late response can get a brand back on track, but damage control becomes an uphill battle.

These entities and their advisers would do well to watch this video from Tom Peters. Peters, co-author of the classic In Search of Excellence and a string of other excellent books, argues that the reaction to the problem often becomes more of a problem than the foul up would have been if dealt with honestly.

Tom’s mantra: Come clean and come clean fast!

The problem is never the problem. The response to the problem invariably becomes the problem. Make those responses positive, quick, and overwhelming.

Toyota… Southwest… Tiger… NBC… Are you listening?

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How ConAgra Foods is Embracing Social Media

Here’s a presentation from Stephanie Moritz, ConAgra Foods’ Director of Public Relations. Moritz explains how ConAgra is embracing social media as a strategic opportunity to stir passion among its audience.

Her case study explains how the company is integrating social media across many aspects of their business, how they educated senior management through “digital immersion”, and how ConAgra uses five core elements to define their social approach. She gives an excellent overview of why and when a brand should use social media and how ConAgra successfully engaged consumers of its Healthy Choice products.


  • Social media is more than your marketing department. ConAgra approaches social media enterprise-wide, realizing opportunities not just in marketing, but also in HR, legal, and career development.
  • Teach executives about social media by offering them hands-on experience. Moritz’s team invited senior management to participate in “digital immersion” sessions to really experience social media.
  • Avoid the shiny objects. Moritz recommends ignoring the latest tools and networks and really focusing on your brand’s goals.

You see her live presentation and follow along with the accompanying slides below:

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