Crisis Management – A Revenue Growth Strategy? With Edward Segal

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Companies don’t generally think of crisis management as a revenue growth strategy, but every time crisis hits, revenue drops in most cases. The COVID-19 pandemic taught us rather harshly that the best time to prepare for a crisis was years ago. One can argue, of course, that COVID-19 is a fluke and nobody saw it coming, but when you come to think about it, the same thing can be said of most crises. Crisis management expert, PR consultant and journalist Edward Segal distills the art and science of crisis management in his book, Crisis Ahead, which lays out a game plan on how businesses can prevent crisis and deal with it when it comes. In this conversation with Doug C. Brown, Edward walks us through the basic concepts of crisis management and explains why it should be a primary concern of every business. They also touch on the power of public relations in creating credibility for your brand.

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Crisis Management – A Revenue Growth Strategy? With Edward Segal

I have a great guest. His name is Edward Segal. He is a member of Forbes.com and a Leadership Strategy contributor for them. He’s also a skilled crisis management, public relations and journalist. The reason I brought him onto the show is because a lot of times companies don’t think about crisis management as a revenue growth strategy but when crisis hits, you notice the revenue growth drops in many cases unless it’s favorable like in Zoom or some other type of companies right now that are growing to the pandemic crisis.

He’s also the author of three books. There’s one that’s called Crisis Ahead. I’m going to recommend you get that highly. It’s all about crisis management, crisis prevention, and how do you handle a crisis prior to being a crisis, and once there is a crisis, how do you handle it as well. We’re going to touch upon PR, Public Relations because a lot of companies don’t understand it. They don’t understand the power of the credibility that comes and the recommendations and referrals that will come out of being in the public eye and having your seat or your stand in front of people being able to talk about what you do but getting the credibility from other people.

We’ve got a great guest all the way from Washington, DC. His name is Mr. Edward Segal. Edward, welcome to the show.

Thanks, Doug. It’s great to be with you and your audience.

Here on my birthday, you have a special episode for our readers. It’s special and here’s the reason why. With everything that’s been going on between all of the economic, the COVID, and everything else, a lot of people and businesses have gone into a crisis. You specialize in crisis resolution and crisis management.

Also, I specialize in crisis prevention. The best way to deal with a crisis is not to have to deal with a crisis. It’s a combination of preventing, responding, managing and importantly, recovering from a variety of crisis situations.

Crisis Management: When you try to solve crisis with denial, chances are good that it will get worse. You have to be preemptive and proactive and deal with a crisis as soon as possible.

That’s an interesting point because I saw it in your book, it’s called Crisis Ahead: 101 Ways to Prepare for and Bounce Back from Disasters, Scandals and Other Emergencies. I love what you wrote in the book. When COVID hit, the government and many of the companies around the globe turn their hand in and thinking, “I hope things will get better.” Why do you think people do that? Why do you think they look at it like governments, people, and companies look at this and they go, “We’ll wait it out?”

Part of it is human nature. It’s in our DNA not to want to deal with a crisis. For many of us, denial is an important strategy and denial as a strategy for dealing with a crisis never, ever works. The best way to help prevent a crisis is to strategize, do scenario playing, make a list of the worst-case things that could possibly happen to your company or organization, and find ways to address each one of those issues, so your worst-case scenarios don’t become a nightmare. The other thing that’s unfortunate is that the longer we wait as a nation, as a culture, as a people, as individual businesses to deal with a crisis, respond to the crisis, chances are pretty good that crisis will get worse. There’s a lot of reasons to be preemptive, proactive and to deal with a crisis as soon as possible.

Everybody seems to have their definition of a crisis, but you’re the expert in this. What would your definition of a crisis be?

It’s anything bad that can happen to a company, individual or organization that affects their image, reputation, bottom line, credibility and relations with customers. It’s a long list of what can go wrong, and it’s also a long list of how a crisis negatively affects a company, an individual, or an organization.

Is crisis management different from conflict management? Is it one in the same or is conflict management part of crisis management?

It’s a part of the big crisis management pie. There’s a lot of ways to slice and dice the crisis pie and the conflict management avoidance, that’s a part of it. I identified in my book, more than 100 different crisis triggers. It goes from A to Z, starting with accidents such as what happened to Boeing or car companies and going all the way down to the worst things at the end of the alphabet. Our crisis is limited only by your imagination of what could go wrong and also the realities of what we face in 2020 with the pandemic. No one ever saw this crisis coming. No one ever sees a crisis coming unless you know there’s something in your company or organization that could cause a crisis and you don’t do anything about it. In that case, the crisis becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The longer you delay and dealing with a potential crisis, the more likely it will become a reality.

This may be a ridiculous comparison, but I always looked at crisis like a tornado. You don’t know when it’s going to touch down. If it does touch down, it happens quickly versus a hurricane which is also a terrible thing. Usually, we have days or weeks’ notice on a hurricane coming forth, but in a crisis it seems like, “Boom.” Let’s go back to COVID. There were some indicators but evidently, the public wasn’t told and people weren’t told what to do, or there wasn’t anything put into play quickly and we meandered into it. It turned out to be not a fun time for a lot of people.

Crisis Management: Strategize crisis management approaches for different possibilities, role-play, and test your ability to respond to those crises.

When it comes to business, a lot of people think, “This is normal. Things happen in business. They blow up, things go this, they go that.” When I’m reading your book, what I got an indication about was it’s a bunch of precursor decisions that happen that lead to the actual crisis. In many cases, they could see it coming down the line but they ignored it. Why is a crisis more prevalent to take down a business than even slower or lack of cashflow? This is a business show where people are reading and saying, “I get it, it’s COVID-19 but what about my business?” How does that crisis impact a business? Could you give a couple of examples?

Before the year of the pandemic, it was unusual for a crisis to take down and destroy any business. That’s one of the unusual, unfortunate things of the pandemic crisis. Hundreds of thousands of companies, small, large, and medium have not been damaged. They’ve been destroyed. They were closed for business and it is not a temporary thing for many of them. It’s the end of their business and they are not going to reopen. That’s why it’s important for any company to have the resources to weather any kind of storm. I like your analogy of the tornado because a twister like that, it’s unpredictable although some comics say that it’s interesting how often the tornadoes will hit mobile home parks as opposed to an office building.

Maybe that’s because the structures are not secured to the ground and they’re more prone to those kinds of things. To answer your question, it’s a different reality now. Not the new normal but it is a different reality now for what companies have to face. Even though they might have survived the pandemic so far, there’s no guarantee that they’ll be able to survive the weeks and months to come and also there’s no guarantee that the light at the end of the tunnel for this pandemic is not necessarily another oncoming drain. Even Dr. Fauci said, “If we don’t continue to do the right things the right way for the right reasons to protect ourselves and our businesses and with the new variants of the COVID-19, it’s possible we might see a resurgence.” My advice to all your readers is don’t take anything for granted. Have a crisis management plan in place and just because you have not been destroyed or damaged by this crisis so far, it doesn’t mean you’re not at continued risk for harm, damage or being destroyed in the future.

What I’m getting out of that is we’ve gone through this and we understand. I have a restaurant that had 30 locations, and all of a sudden, the tornado came through. I’ve had to lay off 2/3 of my staff. I’m closing locations but I’m not out of business at this point. I’m coming back. The economy is starting to come a little bit more back. We’re opening up the communities a little bit more in the United States. What I’m hearing is I should prepare for the crisis ahead far longer than I probably think I should. I should be starting to prepare right now for what might happen several months from now.

You should always have in business, especially as long of a horizon as you possibly can, to see what might be ahead. Some crises you might be able to see in front of you, others are on the horizon, others are hidden beyond the horizon, and you haven’t been able to see them yet. One of the good things about what we’re going through now, thanks to Congress and some of our political leaders, is that there is more money, resources and more help whether it’s from the bill that President Biden signed with the COVID relief package or aid or assistance from FEMA.

There might be a lot of resources for companies, for money, for help, for expertise and guidance, whether it’s on a state local level. There might be resources in your city or your town depending upon your metropolitan area. Use your imagination, reach out to your friends and family. Talk to your consultants, HR people, CPA, financial advisor and ask them what resources they think might be available to you. You got to be creative when it comes to imagining the worst possible crisis, be creative to identify, and utilize those sources to help you prepare and recover for one.

The best way to deal with a crisis is to not have to deal with a crisis. Click To Tweet

I talked to so many businesses and some of them are in despair. They’re down, out and others are like, “This thing helped us grow like crazy.” I can imagine some people going, “This is doom and gloom. It’s going to continue. I should just push it to the side. I shouldn’t pay attention to this.” What would you say to those folks?

Get over it. That’s living in a fantasy world. Too many companies lived in a fantasy world for so long that they were in denial. Many of them continue to be in denial about many of the crisis situations that we’re dealing with right now. Take the pandemic for example. We’ve known for more than a year on how to end it, social distancing, wearing masks and following the guidelines from CDC. It’s been a checkered record of companies, organizations and even states across the country that have followed those guidelines.

Even when those guidelines work or start to work, more than a dozen states decided, “That’s okay, we’re going to ignore it. We’re going to lift our restrictions. We’re going to stop doing what has been working to get us out of the pandemic.” That’s not a good strategy in any situation. If you’re on the right path to recovery, when you get off that path, all you’re doing is prolonging the crisis and making things worse. Don’t stop what’s working to fix a crisis. In this pandemic crisis, we all should follow the CDC guidelines. Even if local states are lifting it, do the right thing for yourself, your customers, your employees, and stay on the right path to recovery.

That’s so important for business owners to embrace because I’ve been teaching for a long time that massive prospecting will always outsell the master closer in any type of sale. Occasionally, the closer will close better if the master prospector is constantly going. I’m advising companies, “Now is the time to put the pedal down and go after business because everybody’s pulling back at this point. If you’re going to put your head in the sand and wait for the tide, the tide is going to come in.”

One way or another, the tide always comes in, always goes out. In your book, you wrote what I’ve been saying to people, which is, “This is not the first time we’ve been through something like this. We’ve been through Ebola, SARS, MERS, 9/11, the real estate bust, and the tech bubble bust.” I remember when that happened in the late ‘80s. There’s always going to be something that’s happening. How does one project forward as a business owner or a business leader and say, “These might be my challenge spots that are coming down the line?” How do they project forward? Is there process to it or is it like, “Do your best?”

There’s a lot of guidance and a lot of advice you could follow. In fact, in my book, I list more than 100 different crisis triggers and dozens of crisis scenarios. I encourage people to take the test and put yourself in the shoes of a business owner. If this scenario happened to you, what would you do, what would you say, how would you recover. The more you do these role-playing, game-playing scenario test on a regular basis, the more prepared you are likely to be for any crisis that strikes your company or organization.

Importantly, a lot of companies don’t even have a basic crisis management plan. If they’re hit by a crisis, they’re going to be running around for quite a while trying to figure out what to do. If you have a crisis management plan in place, even a basic one for your business, you’ll be in a much better position to know what you’re going to do, when you’re going to do it, why are you going to do it, how are you going to do it in a timeframe for doing it. Throughout the year, I always advise my clients to test their crisis management plans with practices, sessions, and drills and make sure it works. If something doesn’t work in your plan when you’re testing it out, do what’s necessary to strengthen that and making sure that it will work when, not if, you have to use it.

CSS Edward | Crisis Management

We’re speaking with Edward Segal, the great author of a book called Crisis Ahead: 101 Ways to Prepare for and Bounce Back from Disasters, Scandals and Other Emergencies. Edward, I’m going to try to paraphrase this a little bit because it was an old business lesson that was taught to me from a successful guy and he always said, “Doug, you have to plan for the business you have now but you also have to plan for the business you want 3 years or 5 years from now.” What I’m hearing, which I’ve been remiss in doing in some cases, is I should also be preparing not only for the business I want but I should be preparing for the potential crisis that could affect that business three years from now. I should be doing that now, not waiting two years and eleven months and finding out, “Does that make sense? Is this accurate?”

It’s right on target. I tell people to think about a crisis like a great hockey player, Wayne Gretzky. He was a great all-star player for many years. Someone asked him how come he was so good? He says, “I’m good because I don’t hit the puck where it is. I hit it where it’s going to be.” He moves in position. He positions his stick. He figured out what the trajectory was going to be. One of his strategies was to be where the puck was going to be. That’s a great way for businesses to think of a crisis. Don’t worry about where you are now and say, “I’m off the hook. There are no problems.” Worry about what might happen. Strategize crisis management approaches for different possibilities, role-play, and test your ability to respond to those crises. The more prepared you are for a crisis now, the more likely it is you’ll be a success in dealing with it tomorrow.

Edward, if somebody wants to get your book or they want to get ahold of you, they’re reading and going, “I got to talk to a guy about crisis management.” You are the expert in the world based on all my research I’m doing. You are the foremost expert. The governments and businesses reach out to you. How do they get ahold of you and how would they get your book?

Thank you. They can go to my website, which is PublicRelations.com. I have more information about the book. I have information how they could contact me. I also encourage people to read my regular posts and stories that I write for Forbes.com. I’m a Leadership Strategy contributor for Forbes.com. I update a lot of what I talk about in my book but I use examples that are in the news right now. I interview a lot of people about the crisis. It’s a great way to have a continuing education on how to prepare for, manage, and recover from a crisis. If anyone has any questions or wants to talk about my consulting services, reach out to me at PublicRelations.com.

Folks, go get the book. The book is a great book. I’ve gone through it. It’s full of useful information. I learned a lot from the book. You have something called the 10 Rs of Crisis Management in that book. Do you want to give an elaboration on what those ten points are all about?

I boiled down the basics of what business leaders should know about a crisis, how to prevent, prepare, manage, and recover from a crisis. I’ve boiled it down to what I called a 10 Rs of crisis management. Some of those Rs are Risk. What are the risks? What can you do to evaluate the risk and identify the risk? We’ve talked about some of that already. Another R is Reduce. Once you’ve identified what those risks are, what can you do now to mitigate the chances that those risks will become a reality? Rehearse, that’s another R. You should always rehearse, do practice, scenario testing, and planning to make sure you are prepared for a crisis.

The last R in my 10 Rs of crisis management is Remember. Remember the lessons if you went through a crisis, what you found out about, and your ability to respond to a crisis, but also be a continuing student of the crisis situations that other companies and organizations are going through. Remember what they went through. Put yourself in their shoes. If it happened to you, what would you do? How would you react to that crisis? The more you remember and you were a continuing student of crisis management, that’s a great way to be prepared for whatever comes down the pipe tomorrow.

You don't want to figure out how to deal with a crisis while you're having a crisis. It’s like building a plane while you're flying it Click To Tweet

That reminds me of a time when I was in the military and in basic training, they used to pull us out at all times of hours, different weather, snow, rain, and hail. It didn’t matter. We were out there. It would be like, “Take the magazine out of your weapon. Clear your weapon. Put it back in. You have five seconds.” It was that type of thing. They would drill us on this one point. One day I went up to the master sergeant who was training us and I said, “Why don’t we do this so many times?” He told me the story.

He said, “After the combat, we’d walk through the areas. A lot of times, I would find our soldiers who would have the magazine stuffed in backwards into their weapon. Unfortunately, they had no way to defend themselves so they ended up not making it through.” Running companies, myself, it’s like, “There’s so much going on. How am I going to focus on what potential crisis is going to happen?” The reality is that you’re never going to need it unless you need it. When you need it and you don’t have it, it’s not the time to find out. Would you agree to this, Edward?

Yes. You don’t want to deal with a crisis and figure out how are we going to deal with a crisis while you’re having a crisis. I compare it to building a plane while you’re flying a plane. It’s hard to do everything at once. Be prepared. The more prepared you are, the more grills you do like in the military. Practice with live ammunition, if you can. By that, I mean crisis scenarios and what-if situations. The more you’re prepared, the better off we’re going to be. Another way of being prepared depending upon the size of your company is don’t wait to a point a crisis management team to respond to the crisis. Appoint that team now. Make sure they’re familiar with a crisis management plan, have them be responsible for testing the plan throughout the year, and make sure members of the team are able to work together. If they can’t work together well when there’s not a crisis, it might be challenging for them to work together when there is a crisis. Test, exercise, and drills on a regular basis your plan and your crisis management team.

The team always has a leader. I know the answer but I want to get it from the expert. How important is it for a leader to build trust with that team and have clear communication when it plays into a crisis?

Communication is essential in any crisis. If a leader can’t communicate effectively, strategically, and efficiently with members of their team, that’s the equivalent of putting one of their hands behind their back and make it even more challenging. In a crisis, you need instant, effective and clear communications. Sometimes, that communications are with members of your team, your employees, your consultants or vendors, or the public. In any crisis, you need many communication channels open whether it’s an email, direct messaging, sending out information on social media, or your website. Whatever is the best way, the proven way to reach whoever you have to reach in a crisis, make sure those tools are working and use them on a regular basis. If there’s a problem, make sure you have a backup because communication is essential in a crisis.

I remember when 9/11 happened, I used to work in the telecommunications industry. When the World Trade Center came down, we were one of the only telecommunications companies that had service in New York. I remember the chaos. The fact that we could communicate, move messages around and get information to people was so helpful to people during that time. It’s a wise advice. We’re talking with Edward Segal. He’s the author of Crisis Ahead. He’s also a crisis management consultant and a PR consultant. He’s a very smart guy when it comes to PR. I’ve learned this through meeting him through PR. He was the gentleman who was kind enough to get me published in Forbes the first couple of times. I am grateful for that, Edward.

Let’s shift to PR because I think it’s very important. For years, we’ve had companies that have been in the hundreds of millions of dollars and we didn’t use PR right at that time. We’ve always subscribed to, “We could grow a company by selling,” which is true. A lot of companies can, but what I recognize with PR is it makes the selling a lot easier than it was without it. For those people who are thinking about, “Is PR a great strategy for my company, whether they’re a small company or a company?” What would you say to them?

Crisis Management: Don’t wait to start thinking about PR. Once you start thinking about it, don’t wait to do something about it.

Remember the difference between publicity and advertising. In advertising, you could say whatever you want to whoever you want depending upon how much money you have. It’s not that way in public relations or publicity. You have to have a story. You have to have something that’s interesting and newsworthy, and you have to have a news hook or story angle that will help convince an editor, a reporter, or even a blogger for doing a story about your company, your organization, your product, or your services. Public relations and publicity have something that advertising doesn’t have and that’s instant credibility. At least not in this country, you can’t buy a good story in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, or any other organization. If you have a story, a news hook, something interesting, newsworthy, and a reporter does a story about it, you have instant credibility and the implied endorsement that you get from a news organization doing the story about your company.

That’s an important value. You’re right, people hear about you because of a good story of a news organization. They’re more likely to think highly of you, more likely to think you have more credibility than if they just saw an ad. Find ways to be interesting and newsworthy. That’s another value that I provide my clients and PR people provide to their clients to identify the news hooks. We’re creative, we look for ways of getting news coverage, and we also try to tie-in announcements to what’s happening real-time now. Some stories are evergreen and some you have to take advantage of right away or by the time you get around to it later, no one will be interested. Don’t wait if you have a good story.

What you said is important because a lot of business owners will look and go, “PR is a lot of effort.” What I want you to think about folks is PR works like this. This is what I’ve discovered. It’s a referral. It’s an endorsement from some other credible industry or credible entity that says, “Doug C. Brown, you’re credible enough for us.” I get put into say, Forbes. People have read that article. They’ve read the mentions. Any type of thing. I always look at sales like human relationships. You could ask a gal out 50 times and she might say no, but if she talks to her best friend and her best friend tells a great story about me, the next time I ask, she says yes, because that friend provided that huge amount of credibility and trust for her where she was comfortable enough to say hi and take the risk.

I see the same thing happening with me in my companies with working with PR. The point I want to make here is there’s a process to it. If you don’t understand the process on how to do it, what I discovered was you don’t get mentioned a lot, but once you do understand the process and work with guys like Edward, then all of a sudden, these doors magically start opening. Edward, could we talk a little bit about the process? You got to be newsworthy. What does that mean? I used to think everything’s newsworthy, but it’s not newsworthy to the media.

I boil it down to two basic questions when I talk to my clients when they want news coverage. I have to find ways of answering for them if I take them on as a client two questions, who cares and why? Who’s going to care about your announcement and why are they going to care? What is the impact? What is the relevance? What does it mean for your target audience? If you can’t answer those two key questions or if I can’t, as a PR consultant, then they’re not going to get the coverage that they want. Once they do get that coverage, this is another benefit for publicity, if you have a link to a good story or an interview, it’s almost like eternal life. You can use that story for quite a number of months or sometimes years if it’s a good story and you can include links to that story in all of your marketing efforts even in your advertising if you want. Make sure it’s in there. You spread the word far and wide on your social media platforms and on your website.

There’s a lot of credibility. If you can get that kind of story, that will help move the needle for your company, but don’t look at it as a one-time thing. Use it over and over again. The more stories that you’re able to generate, the more it will compound and feed on itself. Finally, another great reason to get just one good story is a lot of reporters will look for good people to interview who have already had stories done about them. Whenever you have the opportunity to be interviewed by a reporter, consider it almost like an audition tape. If you do well and you get a story from that reporter, other reporters might see that story and find a reason to work you into their stories. There’s a lot of reasons to be doing good PR and a lot of ways to take advantage of the coverage when you’re able to get it.

That’s a great point because I’ve found that once you break in and you get something that’s decent, then other reporters tend to be far more open to placing my story in other places, a different version of the story or something of that nature. When you are first doing PR, it takes a little bit of time and a lot of people don’t look long-term with PR. They look at it as like, “I made a cold call and this person said yes or no to me. That’s the end of the relationship one way or another. We’re going to begin and we’re going to end.” What I found with PR is that PR is a long-term strategy. Can you speak to that? I know a lot of people, especially the type drivers who run businesses, like, “We’ve got to get things done today.” It’s a long-term play. The more you toot your own horn and have the orchestra blowing behind, the more people go, “Let’s elevate their status.” That’s what I’ve noticed happened with PR when we started putting it in play.

Public relations has something that advertising doesn't have – instant credibility. Click To Tweet

Don’t wait to start thinking about PR. Once you start thinking about it, don’t wait to do something about it. The sooner you start working with your staff or you reach out to a PR consultant like me, the sooner we could start working with you to help strategize what’s interesting, what’s newsworthy, what’s coming down the pike that we might be able to turn into a news story. Timing is iffy in public relations. Sometimes there’s so much happening in the news, such as what happened after 9/11 or the early days of the pandemic, many news organizations may not have any interest at all and doing anything other than what’s topical and on the front pages that day. The challenge is if you have something you want to generate publicity for in that news cycle, you have to find a way of associating your announcement with what’s happening in that news cycle.

The other thing I advise clients is that there are two kinds of public relations. There’s the proactive when we’re pushing out a story that we want reporters to cover, and there’s the reactive when reporters reach out to you for comments, observations, or analysis on stories that they’re working on. Your PR firm needs to have good working relationships with a lot of different editors and reporters. Positioning your company or organization as a resource to the media so that they know when they’re looking for a story idea or someone to comment on a story that they’re working on, they know how to reach you, you have the credibility and that’s another great way to help ensure success in generating publicity for your company.

If you don’t know how to do this, hire somebody like Edward because it’s short money, long money. I’m sure that we could all repair the sink when it leaks. I remember one time I was doing that and it took me all day. I couldn’t figure out how to do this. There was some special nut on the thing. I go to Home Depot. I come back, I’d go to Lowe’s, I’d go to ACE Hardware. I try to figure this thing out because I didn’t want to hire a plumber at that point. It was the time of my life where I didn’t have the cash. I was like, “I don’t want to hire this plumber.” I go out, I try to repair this thing and I didn’t get it repaired. It took me six hours and I call a plumber. A plumber comes in and goes, “That’s easy.” Tighten and fix. The leak stopped, “That’ll be $75, Doug.” I was like, “Are you kidding me? I spent the whole day for $75.”

I find that PR is the same way. If you don’t have the relationships or you don’t know the path, hire somebody like Edward to at least take you through the path so that if you want to stay long-term, great. If not, at least you’ll know what you’re doing. I found that ETB was having challenges that their clients were leaving H-E-B because of the COVID mask policy, they were like, “You don’t need a mask.” I looked at that and I said, “This is a great business lesson for people.” I wrote something up. H-E-B reversed their policy on the mask thing but that’s what I was talking about in a timely nature. If you don’t have the relationships to get it into the timely nature or you don’t take action on the timely nature, in my case, that’s what I did then your newsworthy story is no longer newsworthy potentially to the media at that time. Hire a professional like him. Even if it’s a few months, learn the path. From there, you’ll figure out whether or not you want to continue to have somebody to do it for you or you can do some of it yourself. That is what I would recommend to everybody. Edward, do you have a different thought process on this or would you be in agreement with that?

Other PR professionals and I know the tools of the trade. We know what works and we know what doesn’t work. Part of the challenge is we often have in dealing with our clients to help educate them about the realities of public relations, how much it takes, how you need to be prepared, and how to talk to editors and reporters when you have an opportunity to be interviewed for that story. That’s another service I provide for my clients. It’s media training. I walk them through mock interviews. I play the reporter. They play the client. I ask them questions as if I was interviewing them for a major news organization. It’s interesting how well, and sometimes, how poorly top company officials do when they’re under the gun, even in a mock suit interview situation to be able to explain in basic newsworthy terms like who they are, what they do, what their product does, and what their services, those kinds of things.

That’s something else I bring to the table, is media training, crisis management and making sure that when my clients do have the opportunity to be interviewed by the reporters. They’re as ready as possible for that opportunity because if you blow it when you’re talking to a reporter, that’s your only chance with them. If it’s a recorded or broadcast live interview and other people see how poorly you did, that’s going to be a big against you and can make it harder for you to have other interview opportunities. Be prepared as you can to deal with the media. That’s another service I provide to my clients.

I’m backing this up from somebody who’s done it the opposite way and then done it the way he’s talking about. Edward, I want to thank you for being on here. We’re talking with Edward Segal. He wrote a book called Crisis Ahead. He’s also a crisis management consultant as well as a PR consultant. Reach out to him at PublicRelations.com. It comes to that time, Edward. I always ask this question at the end. Who’s 1 or 2 of the heroes in life that have propelled you to where you are so that you can take care of all these companies and do great things for them?

Crisis Management: Start learning and never stop. The more prepared you are, the more likely it is you’ll be able to do a better job preventing, managing, responding, and recovering from a crisis.

I’m a great student of history and I enjoy studying historical figures to see what they did when they were under the gun, how they respond to, manage, and recovered from a crisis. Doris Kearns Goodwin wrote a great book, Leadership, lessons to be learned from people Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman. I studied these people a lot because I learned a lot from how well, sometimes the challenges that they had, and how poorly they did in meeting these challenges but I always like to look at new people to study. I’m a continuing education student. I’m always looking and studying to see how well and poorly other business leaders and heads of organizations are doing now. I never stopped learning about crisis management. I urge your readers, start learning and never stop. The more prepared you are, the more likely it is you’ll be able to do a better job preventing, managing, responding and recovering from a crisis.

Edward, thank you for being here. I am grateful you’re here. I know people got a lot out of this episode and. Folks, buy the book Crisis Ahead. Reach out to him at PublicRelations.com if you have any questions on crisis management or PR. The gentlemen can help you. Edward, I’m going to bid you a wonderful day. Thank you for being here. It’s been a true pleasure.

It was great to be with you, Doug.

What is crisis? Crisis is one of those things that can be small or large but it’s a crisis. It negatively affects us in a major way usually. Even if it’s a small crisis, it could be something that could affect you in a major way. A pet of mine died, my cat. Unfortunately, that was a crisis. I didn’t realize how much it was going to affect me but it did. It took my brain down to probably 50% power for at least a week. You can have a small crisis that could be magnified or you could have this large crisis of, “I don’t have clients coming into my doors anymore because of the pandemic or because of something leaked out about my CEO.” It’s not favorable. We’ve got challenges. It could be that a key division leaves the company, for whatever reason. There are all kinds of things that happen where we think they’re bad and we can’t necessarily recover from them. The reason for that is we don’t have a process.

Edward clearly describes his process throughout the book that he wrote called Crisis Ahead. That’s why I recommend it highly. If you’re going to build a business, you want to build the business for now but you also want to build the business that you want in 3 to 5 years because that’s what you will get. Part of that needs to be crisis mitigation or management of the process. PR, Public Relations, is so important to a company. I got to admit, I put this down for a long time and I’m like, “I don’t need PR.” All of a sudden, I started thinking, “Let’s give it a shot.” It took a while. For those of you that are going to do PR, I recommend you hire somebody that can walk you through the ropes like Edward.

For those that were asking, is Edward the guy that I hired originally? No, he’s not. He’s a guy I met because I did this. PR is the best credibility and referral system that you probably can get if you work it correctly. PR will bring you business in ways that you didn’t think because someone else’s word is more important than yours when it comes down to it in the public eye. That’s what I learned through PR. Take what you learned from this show, put it into play because hearing information, knowledge is not power. It’s potential power. Action is the real power. Take what you learned. Put one action item in play. If you like this show, please go up and give it a five-star review. Share with me your comments, questions and what you like to learn on future episodes and I’ll be happy to cover them because this is for you even though I get to do it. Thanks for allowing me to do so. Until next time, go out, sell a lot of good stuff, grow your revenues and to your success.

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About Edward Segal

Edward Segal has more than 30 years of experience as a crisis management expert, CEO, public relations consultant, journalist, communications director, and press secretary for Democratic and Republican members of Congress and political candidates.

Segal is a Leadership Strategy contributor for Forbes.com where he writes a blog about crisis management and communication-related news, issues, and topics. He is the author of the recently published book on crisis management: Crisis Ahead — 101 Ways to Prepare for and Bounce Back from Disasters, Scandals, and Other Emergencies (Nicholas Brealey) and two public relations handbooks: Getting Your 15 Minutes of Fame, and More (Wiley) and Profit by Publicity (iUniverse).

Segal is a co-author of Leadership in Trying Times — Advice To Lead and Succeed (Speakers Without Borders) and the former marketing strategies columnist for The Wall Street Journal’s startupjournal.com.

  • Managed internal and external crisis situations as the CEO of two trade associations.
  • Advised and helped others to get through a variety of crisis situations ranging from the arrest and firing of CEOs, allegations of sexual harassment, and hate crimes to forged documents, business and personal bankruptcies, and the environment.
  • Conducted crisis management and communication training for hundreds of CEOs and other top company officials.

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Doug C. Brown is the CEO of Business Success Factors and creator of Sales Revenue Growth University, where he teaches the best sales revenue growth strategies for companies who are serious about their sales growth. These are the same strategies and methodologies that he used to increase a company’s close rate by 862% and their revenue growth by 116% - all within four months.

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