Perception Trumps Reality in Crisis Communication #PRSSANC

Returning from PRSSA National Conference in Orlando, I have been reflecting on the most beneficial session I attended. On our second day Richard Levick, President and CEO of Levick Strategic Communications, came to speak with us about his experience in crisis communications. Below I have outlined some of the tips he shared with us that really opened my eyes to the inside of the industry.
  • “What got you here, won’t get you there.” While your work got you the job, you can’t keep performing at that same level to better yourself as a professional.
  • It is always a 1-0 binary. There is always the villain and the hero in a crisis, the public doesn’t acknowledge the reasons for that or the people in the middle that are involved.
  • Be courageous. If you want to work in crisis communications you need be able to tell CEOs what they don’t want to hear, and to go toe-to-toe with lawyers to succeed.
  • Do not be too slow to recognize the need to switch goals. Don’t prolong the acknowledgement of a crisis because you are worried about being reprimanded. The right thing needs to happen now.
  • No word in marketing ends in “-ed”. It is an ongoing process with words such as branding, promoting, etc.
  • We’re not logical, we’re emotional. Most of the public doesn’t listen to the facts, they react to the way something makes them feel.
  • Silence is arrogance with the volume turned down. While it could be an unfavorable situation, it must be acknowledged for your audience so that they know you are addressing the problem and that you’re working on fixing it as soon as possible.

To learn more follow @richardlevick or visit his website at

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