Crisis PR Preparation Protects Brand Values When Trouble Hits, says Brian Dobson of DobsonPR

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While building brands companies need to prepare to defend them during crisis

Preparing for crisis often identifies looming problems that can be fixed before they emerge as major trouble, said Brian Dobson.

Many companies focus on promoting brand values but not enough are ready to protect brands when crisis hits, said crisisPR and brand building expert Brian Dobson of Dobson Communications, online at Brand building requires aggressive offense, but must also include preparation to defend brand values when crisis hits, he said.

Dobson says five tips for CEOs to prepare for crisis include:
1.    Form a Crisis Committee of top officers with a public relations consultant for perspective.
2.    Prepare questions and answers covering the full range of possibilities that might develop. This will better prepare managers to deal with problems and will help fix them before they grow.
3.    Recognize the common elements of crisis. If your company enters a crisis, you’ll need updates and answers for consumers, media, regulatory agencies, employees, suppliers, distributors, retailers and more. If public, Wall Street may put your company “in play.”
4.    Keep lists of media, police and emergency, state and federal regulators, suppliers, distributors and retailers to be kept updated, along with other key stakeholders. In crisis, controlling news is vital.
5.    Be concise, consistent and clear in messages limited to the CEO or PR professional. Initiating news gets your message out as you want it stated and prevents you from having to chase news to clarify what others say.

"Preparing for crisis often identifies looming problems that can be fixed before they emerge as major trouble," he added.

In recent years crises have rocked companies such as BP with its massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and Toyota with millions of cars recalled and managements of both companies were viewed as initially evasive and more focused on minimizing legal liabilities then on serving the public good. Neither company seemed effectively prepared for crisis and public reaction," said Dobson.

Dobson, a PR executive who has managed crisisPR in a variety of product categories, has been interviewed about brand building and how companies respond to crisis by major media, including CNN, New York Post, National Public Radio among various media from TV, radio, newspapers to magazines and internet news sites.

He said, "When the public thinks a company is evasive in crisis, trust is lost and brand reputation become damaged. Often, the impact on brands are far less negative is managers are candid about troubles."

"At our JHD-Dobson video production studio just an hour from mid-town Manhattan, we can prepare managers for media interaction through mock interviews and simulated news reports of potential problems," said Dobson, a former journalist who also headed public relations at a Fortune 50 consumer products company.

"Companies should aggressively manage brand reputations of products and services, but also prepare for possible crisis that might damage reputations,” he added.

Dobson Communications, based in Ridgefield, CT, and online at, is a full service public relations firm. For information about contact Barbara Green at 203-894-9240 or Barbara_Green (at) DobsonPR (dot) com.

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