Be Human! How Companies Need to React During A Crisis

Be Human! How Companies Need to React During A Crisis


We are all in this life together. Unfortunately, bad things happen when we forget we are part of one team. We forget we are all human and need kindness and respect.

A Public Relations Crisis Can Be Avoided If You Remember Our Human Team

As I write this, Starbucks employees are going through a four-hour Racial Bias Training after a viral video captured two black men being arrested inside a Starbucks in Philadelphia. Basically, they were waiting for a business colleague and had not bought anything yet. The manager who called police has since been fired.

The arrest happened Thursday, April 12th and Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson didn’t get out a public apology until late Saturday night. By then, the damage was done.

Recently consultant Jeff Chan and I taught workshops in Milwaukee and Madison for UW Madison’s School of Business Center for Professional and Executive Development.

The title – “How Leaders Manage Change, Crisis, and Communication”

Jeff tackles this subject from a change management perspective. He works with companies who need to motivate a large group of people to make big changes. Exactly what Starbucks is trying to do now with racial bias training being taught in a very public fishbowl.

As a former investigative reporter, the Starbucks case has all the “elements” of a great news story and a company’s worst nightmare.

As soon as you hear the words, “There is video!” – you should bring together what I call your Compass Crisis Communication team. Don’t have one yet? Call me to put together your team and plan.

As I told this audience, you have to become reporters and ask the right questions to see if your CEO should be the one to address the issue right away or if it doesn’t rise to the level yet.

Here is one of my slides to show you some simple questions to gather the right information. 

As soon as Starbucks knew there was a video of the arrest and saw it, CEO Kevin Johnson should have been on a plane to Philadephia. He should have made a quick social media video of his own saying the exact written statement the company put out on their website.

People need to SEE people. They need to know you care especially during a crisis.

No comment or a delayed comment doesn’t work in this 24-hour news cycle anymore.

I’m glad my media background has become a huge asset for my clients.

To find out more about scheduling a coaching session and media training, contact us here.

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