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Different Crises Call for Different Responses

Just as you wouldn’t give your boo a Shake’N Bake coupon for Valentine’s Day (unless they really love that stuff) or bring a clown to a funeral (unless your loved one really loved clowns), there are certain things that are appropriate for certain situations.

It’s been a wild few weeks in terms of companies’ PR crises making the headlines. A crisis can be amplified to varying levels. For example, United Airlines and its pet death fiasco was national news across traditional and social platforms. And, on the flip side, there were undoubtedly some serious crises that never even made it to public light last week.

Why is this so?

Each crisis is unique and a crisis can come in so many different forms – natural disasters, health emergencies, rogue employees, workplace issues and so on. Vital to addressing and/or quelling a potential crisis is an effective and timely response.

Let’s examine two recent PR spectacles, the response and what went right/wrong:

  • KFC ran out of chicken. Pretty hilarious and should never happen, right? Well, it did in Britain and seemingly everyone went nuts. KFC lovers took to social media, blasting the fast food chain. People were even calling their local police stations reporting the lack of chicken (not a joke). The shortage boiled down to a shipping issue with DHL that both the shipping company and KFC quickly acknowledged. But beyond that acknowledgement, KFC took a clever approach to rectifying the crisis with fans. Within days of the shortage, the chain took out full-page ads in two of Britain’s largest daily papers, cleverly apologizing with a visual of a KFC bucket saying “FCK, we’re sorry.” The ad’s message was genuine, concise and resonated. The only rumblings that remain from the crisis are reflections of just how awesome the ad was.
  • After four days of silence, Facebook addressed its Cambridge Analytica data mining scandal. British firm Cambridge Analytica has come under major fire as of late for its questionable business practices, particularly related to the 2016 U.S. election. A big part of the controversy: how Facebook user data was unethically extracted and ultimately utilized to sway voters. With the news breaking, headlines and speculation only grew with each ticking minute, particularly surrounding Facebook’s response and thoughts. The company took four days to respond – its CEO posted a note to Facebook and also sat down for an interview with CNN. While the message may have been there, the timeliness of the response was questionable and drew deserved criticism. The lesson? Timing can be everything and every business – small or as big as Facebook – needs to be prepared to act (and act quickly).

To develop or refine your business’ crisis plan, contact The Firm Public Relations & Marketing at 702-739-9933 or

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Urgency, innovation, compassion and collaboration are Three Square’s core values that are surpassed by The Firm’s performance and responsiveness. We value their expertise in media relations, as well as their dedication to bring public awareness to Three Square’s mission of pursuing a hunger-free community. The Firm is much more than a vendor; they are partners with a team of innovative people who really care about their work. They are not only an extension of our team – they are truly members of our team.

Michelle BeckChief Development OfficerThree Square Food Bank