Crisis Communications

nonprofit-branding-strategiesThanks for your intense interest in the Komen-KFC busted brand case study.

You jumped into the conversation on a critical issue in nonprofit marketing–what Komen should do next and ongoing standards for choosing partners, with an unprecedented level of participation. The 100 plus comments and emails submitted by Getting Attention e-update and blog  readers indicate the strong feelings about this deal.

What’s so compelling here is the range of issues the story raises for nonprofits of all foci, size and budget, including:

  1. The impact a bad decision makes on your organization, now and in the future—Komen and KFC forever?
  2. The importance of being poised for effective crisis communications—Komen has kept very quiet about the KFC partnership, letting others fill the space with their perspectives on the deal, and the issue.
  3. The necessity to define standards for partner selection—Standards are key baselines for decision making on partnerships of all kinds, although in general corporate partnerships require even more scrutiny.

Read the full article to learn how to handle these challenges to strengthen your nonprofit marketing now and in the long-term.

P.S. Messages that connect are a priority for all organizations and the prerequisite for motivating your base to act. Learn how to craft the most essential message — your tagline. Download the Nonprofit Tagline Report, filled with must-dos, don’t dos, case studies and 2,500+ nonprofit tagline examples!

Nancy Schwartz in Branding and Messages, Cause Marketing | 0 comments
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Here’s a great story for those of you tasked with  nonprofit marketing: Yesterday the New York Times picked up on the fact that a tagline saved hundreds of lives in Times Square.

The tagline is,  “If You See Something, Say Something,” which has been used by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) since  2002 as an anti-terrorist strategy in the post-911 world.

It’s posted on almost every bus and subway and I dare say that 90% of New Yorkers know it well and how to respond. And most of us are eager to focus our watchful eyes and ears on the safety of our city. That’s the positive outcome of consistent use of a short, powerful tagline.

This tagline’s impact is rooted in:

  • Consistent and widespread use (throughout the NYC public transit system)
  • Focused seeding of an idea, then motivation of a clear, specific action.
  • Strong graphic illustration that conveys the tagline idea, in a glance.

If a tagline can save Times Square, imagine what it can do for your nonprofit organization.

P.S. Messages that connect are a priority for all organizations and the prerequisite for motivating your base to act. Learn how to craft the most essential message — your tagline. Download the Nonprofit Tagline Report, filled with must-dos, don’t dos, case studies and 2,500+ nonprofit tagline examples!

Photo: Sion Fullana

Nancy Schwartz in Campaign Marketing Models & Tips, Taglines | 2 comments
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How Correcting Errors of Substance Builds Credibility Your Base's LoyaltyBack in November, I received this email from the folks at Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). It’s a powerful example of how acknowledging an error of substance (i.e., not a typo or missing photo) can be a good opportunity to reinforce your organization’s brand (in this case, reliability, accuracy and passion for the truth).

Here’s what happened:

  • In striving to write a succinct review of a recently-published article, EDF implied the incorrect reason behind wasted electricity in the electricity production process.
  • When the error was pointed out by an EDF member (an engineering professor), EDF morphed this mistake into a clarion call on its commitment to accuracy as the only way to “promote meaning solutions to our environmental challenges.”
  • Sam Parry, EDF’s director of Online Membership and Activism reached out to the initial email list with a pro-active apology, correcting the error, thanking the professor and asking readers to let him know whenever they spot an editorial error.
  • Outcome: Sam scored on multiple fronts — 1) Thanking EDF supporters for their support, 2) Stressing the organization’s passion for truth-telling and 3) Engaging supporters to help EDF perpetuate its focus on the “business of truth telling.”

Most communicators are mistake-phobic. We labor away — conceiving, writing, designing and finally…publishing our communications. And when something is wrong — no matter who finds it — it’s dismaying.

But it doesn’t have to be. Some errors are due to sloppiness, and that’s truly dismaying. But errors like this one can be a real opportunity. Congrats to EDF for seeing the opportunity in the mess, and responding artfully but authentically.

P.S. Don’t miss out on in-depth articles, case studies and guides to nonprofit marketing success — all featured in the twice-monthly Getting Attention e-update. Subscribe today.

Nancy Schwartz in Case Studies, Crisis Communications, Nonprofit Communications | 0 comments
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Reaching Out with Swine Flu in the Air I’ve heard from many nonprofit marketers lately who are unmoored by the uncertain environment in which we’re living. Swine (a.k.a. H1N1) flu is just the icing on the cake.

Folks are wondering how to respectfully engage with so much competing for attention and anxiety at an all-time high. So here are a few of my guidelines for effectively sharing stories on your organization’s impact, even now:

  1. Take your base’s pulse. Never assume you know how they’re feeling/thinking. Ask!
  2. Respond appropriately. The pulse enables you to do so, so make sure you’re on the mark. When you are, you’re much more likely to engage them.
  3. Relate your organization’s work to current crises, if there’s a real connection.
  4. If your org is in the middle of the crisis, talk about it.

Read the full set of guidelines and two case studies here.

P.S. Don’t miss out on in-depth articles, case studies and guides like this one — all featured in the twice-monthly Getting Attention e-update. Subscribe today.

Nancy Schwartz in Crisis Communications, Current Affairs, Nonprofit Communications, Strategy | 0 comments
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Aw Nuts Peanut Council Showcases Effective Crisis CommunicationsSince we have a 5-year-old who’s a peanut butter devotee, we’ve been following the peanut salmonella scandal closely. Our first step was to check the labels of all our peanut products against the FDA list of tainted products (all clear).

But I was astounded by the Peanut Council’s proactive and strategic response to the industry crisis. After all, peanut-based products have already taken a huge hit with the prevalence of childrens’ nut allergies. And now with this, the peanut industry is fighting for its life.

Here’s how they’ve handled this criss:

Way to go, Peanut Council for your best practices in crisis communications. When your org is facing a criss — follow the Council’s cue to go fast, thorough and non-defensive.

P. S. Don’t miss out on the in-depth articles, case studies and guides on nonprofit crisis communications and more featured in the Getting Attention e-alert. Subscribe today.

Nancy Schwartz in Case Studies, Crisis Communications, Nonprofit Communications | 0 comments
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