TalkTalk: The twists and turns of the cyber crisis continue

iStock_000006935624_LargeThe story of the TalkTalk cyber crisis and the company’s response continues to unfold as we saw inevitable outrage over the week-end with stories galore of customers with “potentially hacked bank accounts” raising a whole new raft of rumours, heating the debate and breeding more noise about what might have happened and just how great the impacts may be.

The story was moved by the CEO (quite cleverly) to the broader focus of “cyber risk is a wider problem the UK needs to face up to and address” with calls for more Government support to tackle cyber crime.  A fair appeal and one raised by me in my earlier blog – regulation and control or assurance in this domain is very much required –  even though challenging to apply in a reasonable manner. Continue reading

When the Heat is On – Social Media Fails

twitterbirdThe advent of social media has radically altered the context in which the reputation of an organisation is managed. Social media can be friend and foe. On the one hand, social media platforms are immensely powerful channels to reach stakeholders with your planned message but on the other, the same characteristics that enable this, namely speed of communication, prevalence and pervasiveness, can also precipitate and catapult an organisation into crisis.

The way that events transpire online and, more specifically, on social media platforms are now intimately linked to how organisations fare once times get tough. With 72% of all Internet users active on social media and over 500 million users on Twitter alone businesses can no longer afford to endure the potential for either reputational or financial damages that come hand in hand with todays social media crisis if poorly managed.

So, in the spirit of learning from the mistakes of others, we outline three top social media crises of last year and examine the lessons we can learn from them.

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GM Recall: History Need Not Repeat Itself

toyotaGMlogoAs the US Department of Justice (DoJ) concludes a 4-year, billion dollar investigation into Toyota, Mary Barra, recently appointed CEO of General Motors (GM), has stepped into the firing line.

While Toyota is set to pay out a staggering $1.2Bn fine to the DoJ for covering-up fatal mechanical defects that caused their cars to ‘unintentionally accelerate’, GM recently announced a recall of 2.6 million cars with defects linked to 13 deaths. Their own cover-up began back in 2001.

The original intention of this post was a comparison of GM’s crisis leadership with that of Toyota’s during their damaging 2009 recall. However, with Toyota facing the largest criminal penalty ever levied against a car manufacturer, substantial recalls being announced almost daily (over 11 million vehicles so far this year) and GM being fined the maximum daily amount by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it has become clear that this is a much larger issue for the automotive industry as a whole.

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Crisis Management Planning 101: Learning from Asiana’s Mistakes

By Isobel Nicholas

South Korea’s Asiana Airlines was roundly criticised in the aftermath of its response to the crash of Flight 214 on Sunday 6th July 2013 at San Francisco airport, inflicting severe damage to its reputation.  The criticism largely stems from its silence in the hours after the crash and the lack of information made available to support victims of the crash and their families as they struggled to find out what had happened and whether their loved ones were involved.

Here we review what happened and look at what lessons in crisis management planning and crisis communications can be learned. Continue reading

Lessons learned – or are they?

By Katie Collison

A key theme to emerge from the 2013 Crisis Management Conference held in London in May this year was post crisis learning. The distinguished panel of speakers from the UK Cabinet Office, Unilever, Goldman Sachs, the BBC and Bank of England, unanimously agreed that it is all too easy to identify what went wrong in a crisis response or an exercise, but far harder to ensure that the lessons so welcomed are actually turned into change and implemented to protect and prevent the same things happening again. Continue reading

The need for crisis preparedness training – thoughts from the Counter Terror Expo

By Claudia van den Heuvel

Having just returned from the Counter-Terror Expo in Olympia at the end of April, the theme that struck a chord with me repeatedly was, no matter how technologically advanced our surveillance and security systems are, true resilience and crisis preparedness will always lie within the skill-set of the crisis management team.

In a very interesting talk on human factors, Sally Turner and Julia Wilde of “User Perspective” illustrated the effect that human biases can have on the effectiveness of security surveillance. While technological ability is constantly being improved, I wonder if training of non-technical skills for performance under pressure, is given the same priority and developing at a similar pace? Continue reading

Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink: A case study in CNI Emergency Management

FloodBy Michael Gilbert

Here in the UK, we are fortunate that we have a reliable supply of clean water that rarely comes under serious threat. Water suppliers have comprehensive emergency plans and contingencies in place, backed up by extensive emergency management training programmes. So how does a provider of critical water supply respond in an emergency? We found out when Severn Trent was flooded by unprecedented flooding in Gloucestershire in the summer of 2007 and the Pitt Review that followed.

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Brandjacking: A history of the latest corporate crisis

BurgerKing_hackBy Rosanna Moseley

This week, Twitter hacking has been the corporate crisis of the moment. It started with Burger King on Monday, when their official Twitter handle @BurgerKing was hijacked and adorned with McDonalds’ branding, and claims that ‘the whopper flopped’ and had been bought by their arch-rival and a string of offensive tweets followed. On Tuesday, Jeep was taken over Continue reading

Media Interviews: How to do it and do it well

By Rosanna Moseley

video camera

In my last blog, ‘Media Interviews: Whatever you do, don’t do this’, we saw some of the most embarrassing media interviews around and learned from their failings. This month, in the name of fairness, we look at some highly-regarded interviews given during times of crisis. Below are some examples of when CEOs faced the press successfully during a crisis, with analysis and advice on how you should follow in their footsteps with solid crisis communications.

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Findus’ cautious (and damaging) crisis communications strategy

Findus_logo_2011By Dominic Cockram 

Findus UK’s communications response has been disappointing and out-dated following the discovery of horsemeat in their products, including some ‘beef’ lasagnes that were found to contain 100% horse. The overarching tactic has been to lay low and wait until it all blows over, which has attracted widespread criticism from consumers, crisis management and PR experts, and – most recently – even from their own investors.

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