Turning crisis communication into an opportunity is what a savvy PR firm does. That's what Weber Shandwick did last year when it introduced its proprietary crisis-simulating software, FireBell. The crisis-response package this year was named PR Innovation of the Year by PRWeek and last year by PRNews as Best New Digital Service/Product/App. And so far, reports The Minneapolis StarTribune, W-S has conducted 14 FireBell seminars at a charge of $15,000 to $20,000 each.
This is evidence enough that any PR firm that can afford a talented software/web development staffer or two should hire them, and be alert to client needs that can be coded into training/response software. Presto! there's a package for a seminar and recurring business from wowed clients. Weber Shandwick was savvy enough to recognize that social media is becoming an increasing part of PR response, hired a social media crisis expert, David Krejci, and backed Krejci's team when they recommended building Fire Bell.
"If we could recreate that adrenaline rush, then everyone could learn," Krejci is quoted by the StarTribune. "Social media creates a different environment. You can't sit around with 10 people and react five days later. It is now dialogue versus a press conference." And Weber Shandwick will be pleased to demonstrate how it's done, for a hefty fee.
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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