Thursday, May 25, 2006

Corporate Social Responsibility and Public Relations

We've had a great response to our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Public Relations challenge with many great posts.

So many so its probably clogged up the comments page.

So if you haven't already done so, post your comment and contribution here.

Best of luck

Tom Murrell

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Crisis Communication Plan In Action - An Evaluation Of The Beaconsfield Mine Emergency

By Thomas Murrell MBA CSP, International Business Speaker

A crisis communication plan is essential for any organisation. How an emergency or incident such as the Beaconsfield mine disaster is handled can make or break a company.

A crisis is any situation that threatens the integrity or reputation of your company. It is usually a disruptive event, incident or situation with large consequences.

A crisis or emergency is usually sudden, acute and unexpected, just like the incident in Tasmania's Beaconsfiled mine that left miner Larry Knight dead and Brant Webb and Todd Russell trapped in a cage a kilometre underground for 14 days.

Because of the dramatic nature and big impact, it demands the attention of the media. In the case of the Tasmanian incident, Beaconsfield was thrust into the world's media spotlight.

As the dramatic story unfolded the world watched and waited. The fortunes of the company at the centre could have been ruined by adverse or negative media attention.

Fortunately this story had a happy ending.

It is crucial in an emergency to tell the whole story, tell it fast and tell the truth.

A crisis can be planned for but not predicted. But it does demand an immediate reaction and response. It must be accurate and not specualtion.

So in terms of a crisis communication plan, what worked well at Beaconsfield, what could be improved and what can we learn from it?

What worked well?

The two official spokespeople - Bill Shorten from the Australian Workers Union and the resident manager of the Beaconsfield Mine Joint Venture, Matthew Gill were well briefed, credible and accessible. Simple language was used to describe a complex situation.

The media was regularly briefed as information became available. The focus was on loss of life and human casualties. Police and other services were involved. Financial loss was not mentioned.

There was community support. There was humour. Specialists were included in the disaster team. The message focussed on the human element - the spirits of the two trapped miners, their families and the people of Beaconsfield.

Their eventual release was very well stage managed for the media.

What could be improved?

It turned into a media circus. There were updates when nothing was happening. Some of the simplifying of complex mining terms was overly simplistic at times.

So what can be learnt from the disaster and dramatic rescue?

1. Pull Together Your Resources.

As soon as an incident happens set up a crisis communication team, including management, legal, HR, IR, and corporate communication specialists.

2. Determine The Facts.

Gather the facts. Double and triple check for accuracy. Do not speculate.

3. Prepare A Statement.

The order of priority should be a statement concerning loss of life or human casualties. Then environmental damage if appropriate, followed a long way behind by property damage, pay impact and financial loss if mentioned at all.

4. Notify Appropriate People.

Emergency services, rescue teams, police, medical specialists, hospitals, management.

5. Notify Next Of Kin.

Enough said. They want to hear from those in authority not from third parties or through the media.

6. Handle Media Queries.

Stick to the facts. Don't speculate. Stay on message. Provide timely information to avoid the rumour mill.

7. Handle Media On-site.

Beaconsfield and the drama became a big worldwide media story once it was known the two trapped miners were alive. The public were captivated with the story of how to get them out safely. The media descended on the tiny Tasmanian town on the banks of the Tamar and handling them on-site became a major challenge in terms of time, effort and resources.

8. Arrange Regular Briefings.

In a case like this, the media have an insatiable appetite for information. Provide regular updates so you control the message rather than the vacuum being filled by informal and often inaccurate sources.

9. Don't Place Blame or Speculate.

Do not play the blame game or try to judge the future. Focus on the present and now.

10. Evaluate and Learn.

Once the dust has settled - debrief, learn and modify your crisis communication plan for next time. Document the process and plan for the future.

Out of adversity always comes opportunity.

Road-test your crisis plan in a hypothetical scenario so you are prepared before an emergency.

A small investment now will save your reputation later.

Want help? We deliver customised emergency and crisis media communications training. This is an investment to manage future risk.

Email me direct for more information at tom@8mmedia.com

For more great PR ideas visit my website.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) Annual Conference Gold Coast Convention Centre






What a great conference with 1300 delegates from Australia's oil and gas industry.

Pictures - with Belinda Robinson APPEA CEO, at the Chevron display at the Exhibition, with the Hypothetical panel - from left to right - Petra Nelson - CEO Australia Gerard Daniels, Neville Gardiner Division Director Investment Banking Group Macquarie Bank Limited, Eve Howell Managing Director Apache Energy, Doug Young Principal Young Law, Christine Charles Newmont Australia, Mike Shearman Project Manager Otway Gas Woodside, Mandy Heugh Human Resource Manager Carey Mining, Christine Haynes Chevron Australia.

In the Woodside "white room" and relaxing with Westpac Chairman Leon Davis.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Corporate Social Responsibility: Effective Public Relations Strategy or Latest Management Fad?

Think you can make it in the cut-throat, competitive and fast-paced world of public relations?

Well, here's the test.

Write a 600 word article discussing the topic: "Corporate Social Responsibility: Effective Public Relations Strategy or Latest Management Fad?"

Cover the following topics:

What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?
Provide an example?
What are the benefits of a CSR program for an organisation?
What are the pitfalls?

Write this article in 1-hour and then post on this blog by using the post and comment options.

Exercise closes 5pm WAT Thursday 1st June, 2006.

Good luck.

Thomas Murrell MBA CSP

For more great PR ideas visit my website.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

How To Turn A Five Minute Presentation Into A $200,000 Marketing Bonus

By Thomas Murrell MBA CSP, International Business Speaker


How do you increase your visibility by focussing on 'high pay off' activities to build your profile and profits?

Speaking in public is the fastest way to attract, win and even retain more profitable clients.

It is a 'one to many' activity that delivers an enormous return on investment for your time and effort.

It also builds your expert power and recognised authority status.

When combined with a good media relations plan it is one of the most powerful and cost effective marketing strategies around.

Here's a personal case study of how to turn a five minute speech into $200,000 worth of media coverage.

"Malaysia - Opening doors to Australian Business" was the theme for a business breakfast held on March 10th 2006.
Malaysia is Australia's ninth largest trading partner, with two-way trade between our two countries currently standing at almost $10 billion.

As a Perth-based international business speaker working in Malaysia, I joined James Wise, Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia (left hand side) and Peter Kane, Australian Senior Trade Commissioner to Malaysia and Brunei (right hand side) on the platform at a breakfast function "Meet The Ambassadors" to share firsthand insights on how to tap into the second strongest economy in South East Asia.

The marketing copy for the event was impressive.

"James Wise is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and has been Australia's High Commissioner to Malaysia since 2003.

Peter Kane has served as Austrade's Senior Trade Commissioner in Kuala Lumpur since 2005.

Peter has a wealth of experience gained from assisting Australian exporters in diverse markets across the world for nearly 20 years."

More than 250 people turned up to the breakfast. Including a columnist for Malaysia's most influential media vehicle, the The Star newspaper.

So why did the columnist choose to write a full page article about my five minute speech and not the two other more eminently qualified and experienced speakers?

Well, I believe there were five essential ingredients that made it irresistible to the media and journalist.

Here are the insider's secrets so you can achieve the same amazing success with your next speech.

1. Emotional Connection.

As US speaking coach Doug Stevenson says when he talks about strategic storytelling - making content come alive, "emotion is the fast lane to the brain" and you must feel genuine emotion to connect with your audience.

2. Tell A Story.

Relevant stories are a powerful tool to illustrate key points.

My most relevant personal story to my Malaysian message was my 'walking barefoot on hot coals experience' at an Anthony Robbins Unleash The Power Within seminar I attended in Kuala Lumpur with 4,000 other delegates.

Even the world's most powerful communicators use personal stories. Take for example British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

He was in Australia for the recent Commonwealth games and gave a speech to federal parliament on March 27th.

His speech was covered in the Australian media and here's part of that speech and in particular a personal story.

"Australia may not be in my blood, but it surely is in my spirit. My earliest memories are Australian. From the age of two, till five I lived in Adelaide ... At uni I was reintroduced to religion by an

Australian Peter Thompson, and introduced to politics by another, Geoff Gallop, both dear friends to this day. I've been back many times. I love the people, love the place, always have and always will. Australia is just a very special place to be."

3. See, Hear and Touch.

Use descriptive words to create visual, auditory and tactile anchor points for your audience.

Paint the picture and create the movie in their minds.

4. Make It Personal.

Share something personal from a place of vulnerability and you create instant rapport with your audience.

5. Have A Strong Call To Action.

Make sure your audience take action after listening to your speech.

If you go to my blog an unedited version of my "Meet The Ambassadors" presentation is available now for you to listen to.

And, here is the story Personal touch to success, Insight Down Under: By JEFFREY FRANCIS that appeared in the Star newspaper.

And how did I come to value this story at $200,000. Well to take out a full-page advertisement in the Star newspaper would cost $50,000. But editorial coverage is four times more credible than an advertisement and you need to multiply the advertising cost by a factor of four.

Now this method is not recommended by industry bodies such as the Public Relations Institute of Australia. But it does provide a useful framework.

And of course, the story is available for the world to see on the Internet.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

International Business Speaker Talks About Malaysian Trade Opportunities


"Malaysia - Opening doors to Australian Business" was the theme for a business breakfast held on March 10th 2006.

Malaysia is Australia's ninth largest trading partner, with two-way trade between our two countries currently standing at almost $10 billion.

As a Perth-based international business speaker working in Malaysia, I joined James Wise, Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia (left hand side) and Peter Kane, Australian Senior Trade Commissioner to Malaysia and Brunei (right hand side) on the platform at a breakfast function "Meet The Ambassadors" to share firsthand insights on how to tap into the second strongest economy in South East Asia.

You can listen to my keynote case study presentation here.

As always, more great information is available at the 8M website.