The DON’Ts of Crisis PR: Uber Edition

uber – /oober/ – denoting an outstanding or supreme example of a particular kind of person or thing.

By its very name, “uber” means outstanding. And as of lately, the thing which has been outstanding for the rideshare, private car and taxi service of the same name has been the example the company has set for what not to do in a crisis. If you haven’t been following the demise of Uber, let me catch you up. Among other things, Uber’s privacy policy has been on blast after their SVP made comments about tracking journalists who had previously painted the company in a negative light. After a slew of other negative allegations pointing to the misuse of data, many of Uber’s loyal supporters are deleting the app and swearing by the old-fashioned version of hailing a cab or worse, using competitor, Lyft.

If nothing else, the very fast and furious fall of the previously uber-popular app has shined a bright spotlight on crisis communications. Here are few high-level tips of what NOT to do when you are under fire:

DON’T Speak Without a Plan

The first and most important thing you can do in a crisis is develop messaging for your key audiences. First, determine who you need to speak to and what you want them to know. Create messaging that’s authentic, transparent and simple. You cannot (and should not) ignore the crisis, and the best way to confront one is head-on, but plan your goals and the path to achieving them up front. The initial time you speak to the media is sometimes the most important, because it sets the tone for the entire conversation.


PROI Exchange Recap

This year, Walker Sands participated in an exchange program through our network of independent PR firms, PROI. We were fortunate to have Jessica Raguž, a PR consultant, with fischerAppelt in Hamburg join us for a two-week exchange. Our very own Emily Johnson is currently visiting our PROI partner in Atlanta, Jackson Spaulding. We’ll be sharing her insights soon – here are Jessica’s takeaways from her visit and time in Chicago.

I had the great opportunity to visit Walker Sands for two weeks and get to know the team, their work and their clients.



Friday Five: 11/17-11/21

Happy Friday! Here’s a roundup of industry news from this week!

Uber does damage control amid firestorm, but is it enough? - CNET

Uber faced heat this week after its executive, Emil Michael announced his desire to spend $1 million digging up dirt on journalists who have criticized the ride-sharing service. After almost every news outlet aired stories focusing on Uber’s arrogant and aggressive culture, the company is trying to position itself as a “positive member of the community” by offering holiday deals and incentives for their drivers. It’s unclear whether Uber’s promotions will clear their name, but after a crisis like this, executing the proper next steps is crucial.

Are Twitter Chats Dead?

Opening up on social carries risks, leading to a lingering fear of social among conservative brands or executives. A string of high-profile social media disasters, furthers the impression that inviting conversation is risky. The Twitterverse hijacked the recent efforts of Ventra and NYPD to engage followers. This may cause brands to hesitate when it comes to leading Twitter chats. However, our experience shows the benefits of hosting a Twitter chat far outweigh the risks.


Benefits for B2B Brands


Friday Five: 11/10-11/14

Happy Friday! Here’s a roundup of this week’s industry news.

Apple thinks iOS ‘Masque Attack’ isn’t such a big deal – Mashable

Apple responded to rumors that hackers can install malware in place of legitimate iPhone apps, saying that security measures are in place and customers won’t be affected. The phone’s built-in security safeguards even warn users before installing any software that is potentially malicious. Security researchers found that users who download apps outside of the App store are the most vulnerable. To prevent malware, customer should only download apps from trusted sources.