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10 Days of Crisis Communications: Number 7
19 Dec 2013

10 Days of Crisis Communications: Number 7

There are lots of great tips out there for dealing with a crisis. One of the nicest, most succinct ones we’ve seen comes courtesy of Melissa Agnes and addresses the Top Ten Crisis Management Take-Aways from 2013. So, the team at Capstone decided our Christmas gift to you is the Ten Days of Crisis Management – You won’t find any maids a milking here, but you will find the Capstone team’s deeper dives on Melissa’s list. To read Melissa’s original list, click here.


Screen shot 2013-12-19 at 1.59.30 PM# 7.   “3 crappy public apologies don’t equal one good one.” – Melissa Agnes

When public officials or public figures make mistakes, the path to redemption is often easier said that done.  Starting fresh isn’t easy for anyone, but what to say and when to say it is often easier for the PR professional to prescribe than the client to accept.

Screen shot 2013-12-19 at 4.59.35 PM


In Melissa’s blog earlier this year she wrote about one of the more highly publicized PR missteps of the year – Paula Deen’s awkward, cringe-inducing apologies – complete with bad makeup, bad lighting, and a bad setting.


Melissa’s assessment is right on. A few other things to think about:

The PR practitioner needs to use the apology as the first step along the path to redemption. Considering the fact that life goes on, having a plan and including an apology as abuilding block for that plan is essential for an effective recovery.

A PR team is valuable – as long as they don’t stick you in front of a camera, unprepared, with clutter in the background. (I think I saw a can of Diet Coke and Marco Rubio’s water bottle on the desk.) If their suggestions don’t sit right in your gut – speak up!

Words matter. Here’s my blog from earlier this year on the IRS’s “mistakes were made.”


An example of a great apology is the video from Fed Ex senior vice president Shannon Brown after the video of some drivers tossing around packages went viral.



It was released quickly, it came from the top of the organization, and his message was firm, apologetic, and to the point.

 Click here for the videoFedExApology

Check back tomorrow for more thoughts on social media in a crisis. We’ll be talking about Twitter – the best place to quickly disseminate information.


Kate Venne


Kate Venne is the Director of Public Relations at Capstone National Partners.
Follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.



The views in this blog post represent the viewpoints of individual team members, not Capstone National Partners as a whole.

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