Whether or not your company has a PR firm or an in-house PR executive, there comes a time when the president or CEO must deal with the media.
When the issue is the company’s expansion, rising sales or recent philanthropy, most executives jump at the chance to receive reporters’ questions. But customer complaints, disgruntled employees or, at worst, news of a customer injury, cause most executives to respond with a “no comment” and retreat.
Unfortunately, most reporters include your “no comment” in a context that screams “guilty.” Saying nothing may be better than saying the wrong thing … but both can reflect badly on your company.
That is why it is crucial to have a crisis communications strategy for dealing with the media. To help member companies develop best practices they can employ when there’s little time for preparation, AHFA has invited Michael Sullivan and Frederick Rom, both from Womble Bond Dickinson, to address “Building a Crisis Communications Strategy.”
Michael Sullivan is a partner in the Atlanta office of Womble Bond Dickinson. He counsels clients on risk evaluation and cost management for regulatory and litigation matters. His practice includes advising senior level executives and general counsel on complex business litigation, consumer product regulation and class action litigation, regularly involving matters with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies.
Frederick Rom is based in Womble’s Raleigh, N.C., office. He is a product liability and catastrophic event defense litigator and counselor with a unique depth and breadth of experience gleaned from more than 35 years representing clients in diverse industries. He has a multi-faceted view of the litigation landscape and provides clients with thoughtful advocacy. His practice focuses primarily on handling high-exposure, high-profile cases involving the response to catastrophic events causing personal injuries, environmental/ property/ economic damages issues, and construction accidents.