Meet the Expert
- Co-founder and President of STARKMAN, a public relations, branding, and marketing firm with offices in New York City and San Francisco.
- Clients have included Fortune 100 companies, national not-for-profits, leading financial services firms, and startup companies.
- Previously held leadership positions at respected PR and investor relations firms, including senior vice president at The MWW Group, where he oversaw corporate communications and investor relations, and Morgen-Walke Associates, where he was responsible for the firm’s corporate communications practice.
- Worked as an editor and reporter at major newspapers in the U.S. and Canada, including The Wall Street Journal, American Banker, The Detroit News, The Toronto Star, and The (Montreal) Gazette. Earlier, he worked as a copywriter at W.B. Doner in Michigan.
- Eric is cited in the acknowledgements of four books written by leading financial journalists.
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Managing the Nuances of a Corporate Crisis
- The Internet has instant worldwide reach.
- To communicate with affected constituencies, companies increasingly turn to new mediums, particularly corporate websites and online social platforms, rather than through traditional media outreach.
- Credibility and empathy are both crucial.
- Authenticity is crucial. Companies increasingly understand that they must be accessible and open with their stakeholders. Along with this, they must acknowledge the concerns of each affected audience. A company's ability to express empathy is just as critical as its ability to share the facts and clarifying any misinformation.
- More companies are establishing and enforcing ethical business practices.
- More companies are proactively seeking to eliminate any elements within their corporate culture that create an environment where unethical conduct can thrive.
- More companies now have crisis plans in place, just in case.
- Agility is tantamount to success. The crisis communications response team must be quick to identify, assess, and respond to changing situational dynamics, particularly given the landslide of social media-fueled negativity when a company is perceived as "getting it wrong." A pre-crisis action plan should be flexible and readily scalable, should the situation warrant change.
- Crisis management has become a key leadership role.
- The role of a crisis communicator has changed internally. It is no longer that of a spokesperson who simply broadcasts authorized messages. A crisis communicator is now a valued business partner, one with the requisite business acumen and operational knowledge to advise management on how best to mitigate crises before, during, and after an adverse event occurs.
- Companies are giving increased priority to employee and investor communications.
- Companies recognize their employees and investors as key stakeholders. To facilitate change management initiatives, companies often communicate first with these constituencies, as they are a common cause of reputational harm when communication is mismanaged.
- Accountability for pre-crisis preparedness is enterprise-wide as reputation management is no longer seen as solely "owned" by the marketing or PR functions.
- Companies increasingly engage in integrated, aligned messaging across all constituencies. This supersedes the previously common siloed approach to engaging affected stakeholders.
Managing the Nuances of a Corporate Crisis: Key Trends