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This issue of Communication Command contains an interview about increasing crisis communication readiness, as well as an article about internal communication in times of crisis. We hope you will enjoy our e-Newsletter.
Winter 2017/2018
Crisis Communication Presentation
C4CS® will make a presentation on crisis communication at a joint meeting of the Professional Services Marketing Association of Western Pennsylvania (PSMA; ) and the Pittsburgh Legal Administrators Association (PLAA; ) on February 15, 2018 at the Rivers Club in downtown Pittburgh.
Please click here if you are interested in additional information concerning the event.
Issues Management Seminar
C4CS® Managing Partner Oliver S. Schmidt is going to conduct an Issues Management Seminar at Berlin University of the Arts (UdK Berlin, Germany) in February. The session will focus on key issues management and crisis communication concepts and include case study material and group discussions.
Please contact us at training@c4cs.com if you would like to have C4CS® teach a seminar, make a presentation, or conduct a training for your organization.
 
Crisis Management Workshop
C4CS® will conduct a scenario-based crisis management workshop for members of the Chemical Association of Pittsburgh (CAP) on March 6, 2018. The event will happen at Lidia's Pittsburgh from 11:30am - 2:00pm.
If you would like to have C4CS® conduct a workshop, make a presentation, or teach a seminar for your organization, please contact us at training@c4cs.com.
Crisis Communication Workshop
C4CS® conducted a scenario-based crisis communication workshop at the 2017 IABC Heritage Region Conference. Please click here if you are interested in additional information about the conference.
The photograph above shows Dianne Chase, C4CS® Senior Partner and immediate past International Chair of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), as she makes a point during the presentation.
Marine Safety Unit Pittsburgh Visit
In December, C4CS® visited the United States Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Pittsburgh and participated in a Q&A session.
The photograph above shows
LCDR Fran Smith, Executive Officer, who provided a tour of the facility, and C4CS® Senior Strategist, Cynthia Cavendish-Carey, during the official welcome.
Presentation: Crisis Communication in the 21st Century

C4CS® Managing Partner Oliver S. Schmidt gave a presentation about "Crisis Communication in the 21st Century" at Point Park University's Center for Media Innovation (CMI) on January 23, 2018.
Please contact us at training@c4cs.com if you would like to have C4CS® teach a seminar, make a presentation, or conduct a training for your organization.

Strategic Planning Services
C4CS® is offering a number of Strategic Planning services, including the facilitation of strategic planning sessions and plan development. If you are interested in finding out more concerning how our consultants help management teams get started developing successful new products, expanding the customer base, and growing the business, please contact C4CS® Partner Joe Pepe at pepe@c4cs.com for a free consultation. 
 
Our next e-Learning course on 'Harnessing the Power of Social Media in Crisis Management' will be conducted March 12 through March 23, 2018. Congratulations to those who completed the course work and obtained a Certificate in Social Media Crisis Management Planning accredited by ICOR. The course brochure can be downloaded here.
If you have any questions concerning our e-Learning course, please contact us at training@c4cs.com.
 
Communication Command e-Newsletter
Please click here if you would like to access past issues of our e-Newsletter.

 
Five Questions about Increasing Crisis Communication Readiness

Kevin Sheen is Senior Director, Public Relations & Community Affairs at EverPower Wind Holdings, Inc. The company is headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

 
Kevin Sheen

What is EverPower and what path did you take to your current role at the helm of public relations and community affairs?

EverPower is a quickly growing developer, owner and operator of utility-scale wind projects in the United States. Wind power is one of the fastest growing sources of electricity worldwide. Our first wind farm became operational in 2008. Since then we have consistently delivered best-in-class wind projects that provide a strong foundation for continued growth into the future.

EverPower’s mission to honor our core values and apply integrity and innovation to all we do has made us the success we are today. We take great pride in the positive influence our work has on our industry and the nation’s clean energy supply, as well as on the people and places integral to our efforts. We strive to be a good neighbor in the communities in which we operate by working together with local stakeholders from early in the development process right on through the operational life of our wind farms.

The company currently owns and operates 752 MWs of wind turbines across seven sites, and we are now expanding into other markets. EverPower uses a mix of greenfield development and strategic acquisitions to fuel its growth and continues to seek out opportunities to grow the business.
 
EverPower's current wind pipeline includes 20 projects capable of delivering over 2,000 MWs of clean power into the grid in eight states. 1,000 MWs of that capacity is targeted to come online within the next three years. We are also now progressing targeted solar and battery storage projects where they complement our core wind activities.
 
I came to the company from sales and marketing roles and after doing development work for several years. I now handle public relations and government affairs for EverPower. As part of my role, I am frequently on site and in communities, helping the company to build and maintain our brand as a positive factor for the neighborhoods in which we do business.


Why did you and your colleagues decide to hire outside experts for the development and implementation of a comprehensive Crisis Communication Plan?

At EverPower, our expertise lies in the field of wind energy – developing and operating plants that deliver green energy. We understand the importance of building a sustainable, positive brand for our company, our industry and the communities where we are neighbors. We strive to be a sustainable, world-class renewable energy company that empowers employees, partners with communities and creates value for our stakeholders. Furthermore, our core values are clearly defined as focused on health and safety, fair dealing, achieving excellence and our people.

To help us connect these ideals to our ability to be prepared for any type of adversarial situation or crisis, we felt it was important to bring someone on that had lots of experience and expertise in the area of crisis preparedness planning. Working with C4CS® gave our team the opportunity to learn from experts, develop and hone our skills and, ultimately, to be much better prepared to manage crises successfully while simultaneously embracing our mission and core values.


You and other members of EverPower’s leadership team at headquarters and sites recently went through scenario-based crisis communication training. How would you describe the value of the training and what did you find particularly useful?

The value of the training was immense. We are professionals trained in many different disciplines, but communicating with the media as part of the response to a crisis incident is not one of those skills. Having C4CS® come in and train us was excellent and valuable for the company as well as our careers. This was a full-day session that really put our team through its paces. We now understand how to formulate our key messages and talking points, and we have the benefit of experience in the hot seat. None of us were in a comfort zone. But if a situation arises that puts those skills to the test, we now have a foundation upon which to leverage and build. Plus, we have a partner that has trained us and will be immediately  available to assist should a crisis occur.


Was it also helpful that the crisis communication training was designed around a realistic crisis scenario and included multiple on-camera media interview practices?

Absolutely. Having it be a real-world example and something tailored to our business was great. We could all concentrate on the subject as a result. At EverPower, we conduct drills to effectively handle – and perfect – how to operate in a crisis situation. The training helped us to put on a different hat and also look at the optics of the situation from external points of view. This was of tremendous value to our team. Not only was the situation realistic, but the interview techniques and the questions that were posed forced us to really think about everything from the words we said, our body language, and especially the key messages that we needed to convey. Again, it all comes back to sustaining a powerful and positive brand. And because C4CS® has deep expertise in both strategic communication and crisis management, the operational, managerial and communication aspects of a comprehensive crisis response were effectively addressed during the training.


How regularly should crisis communication responsibilities, tools, procedures, and corresponding plans and training programs in your opinion be reviewed and updated?

To keep everything fresh and relevant, I think this should be something we do annually. In this way, we can all stay on top of our game.
 

Crisis Management: Internal Communication Primer
 
C4CS® regularly assists client partners across various industries concerning improving internal communication in times of crisis. 

Regardless of size, industry, geographical footprint, and management's accomplishments, our client partners understand that employees are key stakeholders who must be communicated with before, during, and after a business crisis.
 
The following tips are designed to help decision makers at all levels of the corporate hierarchy manage potentially crippling adversity and actively preserve and even enhance the company's brand equity, reputation, and bottom line.
  1. Recognize the need for frequent face-to-face communication with as many employees as possible.
  2. Develop and implement a customized internal communication plan long before a crisis strikes.
  3. Obtain senior management buy-in and ongoing support concerning two-way communication with employees.
  4. Continuously seek and act upon employee feedback to enhance much needed trust.
  5. Communicate crisis-related news to employees first whenever possible and enforce active media policies.
  6. Ensure consistent and coherent messaging by adhering to the company wide one-voice policy.
  7. Turn employees into valuable communication allies who will carry designated messages into the community.
  8. Enable continuous dialogue in order to maximize transparency and minimize employee uncertainty.
  9. Employ proven communication channels and tools and be ready to adjust crisis related messaging as necessary.
  10. Address employee questions and concerns as soon as possible and follow up on important employee input.
If you have any questions concerning this article, please contact us at info@c4cs.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

Food For Thought
 

"Without a champion nothing significant
will occur with regard to any major program
in an organization. This is especially true
with regard to crisis management.
"

Dr. Ian I. Mitroff
University of California, Berkeley

Copyright © 2018 C4CS, LLC. All rights reserved.

Leaders in Strategic Communication
and Crisis Management


info@c4cs.com
www.c4cs.com