When Financial Advisor magazine asked for my perspective regarding a recent social media hailstorm, I was happy to provide a few comments.
As is normally the case whenever any of us submit comments, we should never expect everything to be included -- but we do need to provide enough context for the reporters to understand our position and, most importantly, to provide a few "quotable quotes" that are simply too good not to use.
This is the PR logic we teach all of our clients here at Impact Communications. Even a small media mention is a good media mention -- especially if you are quoted in a prestigious industry publication such as Financial Advisor.
And so, in the spirit of "walking our talk" here is what I submitted (below) + you can see what was used in the article by looking at the graphic above. We also encourage our clients to use any good content "left on the cutting room floor."
Copy of full comments submitted
What a sad and unfortunate incident for all concerned -- especially the clients of the financial advisory firm.
From a PR standpoint, LPL has done a very good job with its simple, concise statements on social media. I would expect nothing less from a respected financial services firm with professional communicators and leaders at the helm. All good PR teams have a crisis communications plan in place so that they are ready with 'holding statements' and a strategically chosen, media-trained spokesperson who can communicate clearly and stay on message under fire.
Here's an article I wrote and had published in June on the importance of having a crisis communications plan with steps every company needs to consider as we navigate today's highly charged, digital world:
The reality is that nothing is really private anymore. Comments can be captured and shared on social media, via texts and emails. Smartphones are everywhere and anyone who takes issue with a comment or demeanor can capture video or audio and create a hailstorm like the one we are seeing now.
Ms. Cure made the mistake of using Skype to scold her staff about topic that is highly sensitive these days. Perhaps her comments were taken out of context, but they are harsh. It appears that from what I've read so far she is a demanding boss. So am I -- however, I try to be kind and deliver measured, calm comments to staff and colleagues. I'll always have a conversation in person or over video chat on a system that I think is secure if I am communicating something that could be taken out of context or spark a fire. Allowing time for two-way or group dialog, versus simply delivering a mandate that seems sharp and tone-deaf, is a good practice to adopt.
We are all known by the company we keep and what other people say about us -- not just to our faces and behind closed doors but increasing now via leaked information to traditional media outlets as well as posts on social media, Yelp and Google reviews, etc.
It could be that Ms. Cure had the company's employees and contractors sign NDAs. A good non-disclosure agreement can serve as a deterrent to leaked information, especially if the person leaking the information has a bone to pick with the boss.
There are many good precautionary lessons to be learned from this debacle. Every business owner and executive team should take note and formulate their own plan for a potential crisis like this.
I'm not an attorney, of course, but I've been a business owner for the past 28 years and it's my job to not only guide my company to a successful future but to help our clients (all of whom are working within the financial services world) general positive perceptions.
A good reputation provides invaluable benefits to companies and individuals. Recovering from a hail storm like this is extremely difficult -- not to mention the total disruption and very real costs that are in motion now for this particular business owner.
The full article is available here: