Public Relations Crisis Management Begins Online

Online Crisis ManagementThe following is a blog article from MarCom Awards winner John P. David.

A friend called me recently in a bit of a panic. One of her college-aged children was tangentially involved with a crisis at her university, and my friend and some of the other parents were wondering if it would be beneficial to engage a public relations expert. Should they reach out to the media or not? How might their kids be perceived? They had many questions.

Before we dug into the details of the incident, I told my friend that the very first thing that needed to be done was to ensure that the students did not say anything about the incident that might end up online. I cautioned: Don’t post anything about it on Facebook, don’t tweet about it, and absolutely do not speak to anyone from the media. I told her that the most important thing was to guarantee that her child’s name was in no way associated online with this situation. She needed to keep her kid’s name shielded from this crisis, so the student would not be associated with it in any way – pro, con, or indifferent.

We are in a whole new world of public relations crisis management because the Internet is now king.

I say this because I have been seeing more and more situations where people are literally in the wrong place at the wrong time and end up being crucified online. They find themselves with a massive problem that they are in no position to solve.

For example, I recently spoke with a young man who, while in college, worked as an assistant manager for one of the university shops. While he worked there, the full-time head of the shop passed away unexpectedly. A subsequent audit found that money was missing, and the police were called to investigate the embezzlement.

As part of the investigation, they questioned the young man. It’s important to note that he was questioned, not arrested. He complied with the police, and even turned over his laptop for their review. After they checked him out, the cops determined he had no connection to the missing money, and he was completely cleared.

Meanwhile, the university newspaper wrote a story about the embezzlement and mentioned that the young man was questioned by police. The online version of the story now appears on the first page of search engine results when you search for his name.

Fast-forward a couple of years, and the guy is now out of school and trying to get a job, but he can’t. He’s in finance, and whenever he applies for a job, he is researched online and prospective employers see his name associated with an embezzlement case. The guy is screwed.

If you were a human resources manager, would you give this guy a fair shake? All things being equal among candidates, which applicant is more likely to get an interview: an applicant with a spotless resume or one who was questioned about embezzlement? What if you are quickly trying to vet dozens of candidates?

The young man has a communications crisis on his hands, and it is nothing like any of the classic case studies covered in a PR course syllabus.

The well-known tenets of crisis communications haven’t completely caught up with the Internet:

  • Don’t stonewall.
  • Be as transparent as possible.
  • Speak with one voice.

I believe we need to add “Assess the potential for long-term online damage” to the list. Online reputation management vaults to the front of the line.

When we encounter a crisis, we quickly need to determine what the online legacy will be, and then develop a strategy to prevent negative coverage from the onset. Understanding that something stated online (whether true or not) can be damning for years to come is absolutely critical.

This concept should be part of every organization’s media policy and ingrained in public relations and communications pros, both young and old.

Negative online articles and stories can be mitigated and, in some instances, completely removed; but this process is more expensive after the fact and not always possible. Knowing your online vulnerabilities at the beginning of a crisis can save companies from lost revenue and individuals from lost career opportunities and other heartache.

The big takeaway is that if you are associated with a crisis, either directly, indirectly, or just by accident, the online reporting of it can affect you for years to come — and this must be managed as quickly as possible.

Not only has the Internet redefined the public relations crisis, it has become judge, jury, and reputation executioner.

Please share your thoughts on my original blog post here. I would be happy to hear from you.

This article was originally published on and has been republished with permission. 

Tech ReviewsThis Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – May 18, 2015

This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – May 18, 2015

By Gregg Ellman

Tech product reviews of SkylinkNet home alarm system kit, Boogie Board Sync 9.7 eWriter and Kensington’s BlackBelt 2nd Degree Rugged Case for iPads.

SkylinkNet Alarm System Kit for Homes


The SkylinkNet alarm system kit is nothing fancy but it’s easy to set up and works well for a simple home security system.

Like any other smart-home system, it has to be connected to a home Internet system and works with an iPhone or Android smartphone (not included).

What is included in the kit is an Internet hub, motion sensor, keychain remote and a pair of window/door sensors.

Where you connect the sensors is your choice; there’s no right or wrong. The kit is designed to start off with the basics and then add on from there.

Window, door or garage sensors, cameras for indoor or outdoor security, water sensors for detecting leaks and even a telephone dialer can be purchased and added on.



Hermes Creative Awards
today announced winners for the 2015 international awards competition for creative professionals involved in the concept, writing and design of traditional and emerging media. Hermes Creative Awards recognizes outstanding work in the industry while promoting the philanthropic nature of marketing and communication professionals.

There were over 6,000 entries from throughout the United States, Canada and several other countries in the Hermes Creative Awards 2015 competition. Entries came from corporate marketing and communication departments, advertising agencies, PR firms, design shops, production companies and freelancers.

statuette and box2Hermes Creative Awards is administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. The international organization consists of several thousand marketing, communication, advertising, public relations, media production and free-lance professionals. AMCP oversees awards and recognition programs, provides judges and rewards outstanding achievement and service to the profession.

As part of its mission, AMCP fosters and supports the efforts of creative professionals who contribute their unique talents to public service and charitable organizations. Hermes entrants are not charged entry fees to enter work they produced pro bono. In addition, the efforts of generous marketing and communication professionals are acknowledged through grants and special recognition.

AMCP judges are industry professionals who look for companies and individuals whose talent exceeds a high standard of excellence and whose work serves as a benchmark for the industry. Winners were selected from 195 categories grouped under advertising, publications, marketing/branding, integrated marketing, public relations/communications, electronic media and pro bono. About 15% of the entries won the Platinum Award- the organization’s top honor. 22% won the Gold Award. A list of Platinum and Gold Winners can be found on the Hermes Creative Awards website, here.



AMCP’s Award Manufacturer Creates New Award for The Academy of Country Music

Society Awards, manufacturer of the Hermes Creative Award, MarCom Award and AVA Digital Award recently utilized the skills of famed craftsman David Yurman to create a special award for seven country music greats.

Sometimes we tell our clients, “We’re more than an awards company.”  Here’s an example of what we mean:

The Academy of Country Music marked a major milestone this past weekend, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the ACM Awards. “Go big or go home” as they say, ACM partnered with Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys to take the awards show to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. As part of the grand celebration, ACM created a new award, the prestigious 50th Anniversary Milestone Award, to honor seven country superstars for their impact on country music.

About a year ago, knowing of the upcoming anniversary, we saw an opportunity for collaboration. Following a discussion with the ACM on the benefits of bringing a brand partner to design a special Anniversary award, we engaged our sister marketing agency Viceroy Creative to approach David Yurman with this idea for the first ever brand-name designed, limited edition televised trophy for ACM’s 50thAnniversary. Having worked with David Yurman previously, we knew they were the perfect partner for the project given the brands iconic look, edginess and that they were generally awesome to work with and loved to make shiny things (so do we!). The popularity of the brand within the world of country music was an electrifying element.  History served up on a silver platter.

David Yurman personally designed the 50th Anniversary Milestone Award trophy out of more than 1,010 grams of sterling silver, his iconic cable motif proudly sculpted through the statue. The original country music fan beloved ACM cowboy hat is encrusted with 4.16 carats of black diamonds and an 18kt gold band, representative of David’s love for mixing metals and materials. A black onyx signature Albion® gemstone with the numeral 50 inlaid in 18k gold rests in the center of the hat. A solid silver plate on the back of the base is engraved with the winners name and David Yurman logo.  We also created, along with Viceroy and Yurman, a solid wood luxury chest to hold the awards.

The final trophies were awarded live this past Sunday at the 50th Anniversary Awards Show.

Tech ReviewsThis Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – April 14, 2015

This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – April 14, 2015

By Gregg Ellman

Tech product reviews of the SXories Weye Feye tool for DSLRs, Tylt VU wireless charging car mount and the BuQu Tech PowerArmour iPhone case.

SXories Weye Feye

The SXories Weye Feye is a small piece of hardware that makes a whole lot of work simple for DSLR photographers.

It connects to your digital camera and creates its own WiFi network so the camera can be fired wirelessly with a free app (iOS and Android) on a smartphone.


hermes header2015 Hermes Final Deadline TODAY

2015 Hermes Final Deadline TODAY

Are you marketing yourself and your company as well as you market your client? Winning a Hermes Creative Award is an inexpensive way to distinguish your work from your competition.


Enter online and fill in a URL or upload a file. In most cases, the work speaks for itself. No long, time-consuming essays.

Our judges have been reviewing entries for over a month. Winners will be announced in three weeks.

Per entry fees are $65 or $150 for campaigns and programs.

With 195 categories, there is a category that fits what you do.

Engage with your followers. Share news of your wins and awards on social networks like Twitter, Google+, Facebook and LinkedIn. Select winners are featured on the AMCP blog (with permission).

Hermes recognition proves to bosses and clients that you are producing great work that is appreciated within the industry.

Only judges see entries unless you give Hermes permission to display your work on our social media outlets.

enter now button

merchantcantos-hermes-award2015 Hermes Creative Awards Spotlight: MerchantCantos

2015 Hermes Creative Awards Spotlight: MerchantCantos

While the winners for the 2015 Hermes Creative Awards won’t be announced until May 1, we’re showcasing select entries that stand out. Keep checking back to see if your work will be highlighted. Haven’t entered yet? There’s still time!

Hermes Creative Awards Company: MerchantCantos
Location: New York, New York
Client: Philips
Title of Entry: “Illumination and Beyond”
Category: 156. Corporate Image Video


Corporate image videos come in many shapes and sizes, but most employ soaring music and a “voice of god” narrative over pretty pictures. That is one way to tell a story; MerchantCantos found a different approach.

MerchantCantos is a communications agency with offices in New York, London, Dubai and Hong Kong. It has an impressive list of clients including Philips Lighting. Recently the agency was tasked with producing a video highlighting Philips’ advanced lighting systems.

The creative team went with a light touch instead of a heavy hand.  Using a “day in the life” format, the video follows a woman from sunup through darkness to illustrate the role lighting plays in not just her life but everyone’s. The clever technique allows the producers to pull back the curtain to take a peek behind the scenes.

Visit the MerchantCantos website to watch the video>>

Philips Advance Lighting Video



akmerkez-shopping-cetner2015 Hermes Creative Awards Spotlight: Akmerkez

2015 Hermes Creative Awards Spotlight: Akmerkez

While the winners for the 2015 Hermes Creative Awards won’t be announced until May 1, we’re showcasing select entries that stand out. Keep checking back to see if your work will be highlighted. Haven’t entered yet? There’s still time!

Hermes Creative Awards Company: Akmerkez
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Title of Entry: “Akmerkez New Year Event 2015″
Category: 81c. Special Event Communication Strategy


Who needs Ryan Seacrest and Maria Carey at a Times Square New Years Eve when you have the Dogulu brothers at the Akmerkez Shopping Center in Istanbul, Turkey?

At the request of city officials, organizers threw “Istanbul’s Most Amazing New Year Ever” and invited everyone on a cold snowy night. The two office towers, 14 and 17 stories, were transformed into video screens while the space below was decorated with snow globes and seasonal lighting. The street celebration drew 20,000 people and was covered live on several television channels. The event gained hundreds of placements in print and online, reaching more than 20 million people.



YRK-Magazine-Issue-6-cover2015 Hermes Creative Awards Spotlight: YRK Magazine

2015 Hermes Creative Awards Spotlight: YRK Magazine

While the winners for the 2015 Hermes Creative Awards won’t be announced until May 1, we’re showcasing select entries that stand out. Keep checking back to see if your work will be highlighted. Haven’t entered yet? There’s still time!

Hermes Creative Awards Company: YRK Magazine
Location: York, Pennsylvania
Title of Entry: “YRK Issue 06″
Category: 18. Magazine


YRK Magazine is “the collective voice of downtown York, Pennsylvania and its surroundings.” It features all the happenings including music, food, shopping and art. The magazine is a stylistic tour de force that combines artistic photography, clever layout and sharp writing.

The final product is a classy publication that engages the reader while taking them on an entertaining tour of people, places and events. If downtown York is anything like the magazine, then it must be an amazing place. New York or Chicago should be so lucky.

Here’s a peek at the cover and several spreads:







2015 Hermes Creative Awards Spotlight: Productions by Cason Smith

While the winners for the 2015 Hermes Creative Awards won’t be announced until May 1, we’re showcasing select entries that stand out. Keep checking back to see if your work will be highlighted. Haven’t entered yet? There’s still time!

Hermes Creative Awards Company: Productions by Cason Smith
Location: Rowland Heights, California
Title of Entry: “How To eSave A Life”
Category: 186. Audio Program


Cason SmithRadio production is something of a lost art form. In its heyday, before the advent of television, radio broadcasting entertained millions of Americans. A good radio production stirs the imagination while conjuring visual images through music, sound effects and dialogue. In today’s terms think podcast, or in this case the best podcast you ever heard.

Cason Smith has been working in audio in Southern California for more than 20 years. He recently produced a radio program called “How to eSave a Life.” The program is a well scripted docu-drama that delivers a strong message, drawing the listeners into a life and death struggle.