Andrew Caesar-Gordon

Andrew Caesar-Gordon is MD of Electric Airwaves, a leading provider of Communications and Media Training.

How Offensive Is Your Organisation?

Or how brave should you or your organisation be in the face of criticism that you are or have been offensive or ‘inappropriate’? Some related reputation management incidents will no doubt have caught your attention recently: Waitrose sought the resignation of its magazine editor, William Sitwell, after freelance journalist, Selene Nelson, revealed how ‘shocked’ she …

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media interview

How To Stop Your CEO Walking Out Of A Media Interview

As Channel 4’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy put it: “I will defend anyone’s right to act like an arse, but if they do, they shouldn’t be surprised if anyone else decides to park their bike somewhere painful.” You may have seen the video of Persimmon plc CEO, Jeff Fairburn, walking off-camera during a recent BBC interview. He …

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pret a manger

If Pret-a-Manger is now a big, bad business, what does this say about the company you do PR for?

It has been easy to criticise Pret-a-Manger’s clunky response to the tragic death of one of its customers due to an unlabelled, sesame-seed infused baguette. It always is when you are not inside the organisation and party to the debates and decisions. Yet sorrows come not as single spies but in battalions. Now there is …

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warehouse

Growing Tension With Amazon and Its Corporate Reputation

The tension between the successful marketing messages of online retailer, Amazon, and its worsening corporate reputation has been growing this year and a useful example to discuss in our media training. As a consumer, you probably quite like Amazon. Maybe you marvel at its mastery of technology; maybe you celebrate the speed and quality of …

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richard branson pr

Andrew Highlights Richard Branson’s Powerful Human Response to the 2007 Virgin Train Cumbrian Crash

Media mischief-making last week saw Richard Branson criticised for tweeting about people turning up late for meetings when his train company has the worst punctuality record in the country. But let’s take a moment to remember how well he handled a real reputation crisis: the 2007 fatal Virgin Train crash in Cumbria. Watch his highly …

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Leaves on the track type excuse

Don’t Use Your Own ‘Leaves On The Line’ Type Excuse In A Press Release

You've read the excuse - sorry, reason - in a press release for poor corporate performance. Retailers blame the weather; restauranteurs blame Brexit; Imperial Tobacco blamed ISIS for interrupting its distribution network in Iraq. And some just blame their customers. In 2015, Macy's chief financial officer, Karen Hoguet, blamed the company's weakness in the luxury …

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Checklist For Preparing A Crisis Management Team & Crisis Centre

Know That When Crisis Strikes ... … it is a time of high emotion and confusion. Initially you will lack accurate information but will need to act and communicate swiftly. In such situations, being able to rely on processes and training will enable you and the crisis management team to act calmly and with purpose. …

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Expert Guide: How to Practise Good Issues Management

To ignore an issue is to invite a crisis. So when is an ‘issue’ an issue?  When do you need to practise good issues management? An issue occurs when there is a gap between your policies, performance, products or public commitments, and your stakeholder expectations. It usually threatens reputation damage. The issues management process seeks …

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Crisis communications plan

Expert Guide: How to Practise Good Crisis Communications

A crisis is defined as: “an intense, unexpected and unstable state that disrupts normal operations and risks highly undesirable outcomes that requires extraordinary measures to restore stability”. Crisis communications management therefore involves the extraordinary measures that are taken to restore stability. A crisis may arise when an issue is ignored or issues management fails or when …

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Doorstep interview

Expert Guide: How to survive ambush or doorstep interviews

The key thing about surviving doorstep interviews is to take control. Running away makes it look as though you have something to hide. If you do not know what you should be saying If you do not know what they are talking about or do not want to answer any questions at all, say “I’m …

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Off the record interview

Expert Guide: How to handle on or ‘off-the-record’

Electric Airwaves is the UK’s largest communications training company and the most frequent question we are asked by participants on our courses is whether they should ever go ‘off-the-record’. Implicitly linked to this is the question ‘do journalists honour such conversations?’ So is there such a thing as ‘off-the-record’? The answer is – ‘yes’ with …

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TV Interview

Expert Guide: How to Manage ‘Down the Line’ TV Interviews

As broadcasters’ resources are stretched, ‘down-the-line’ TV interviews are increasingly common. Interviewees in one location talk to a camera, listening via an earpiece to the journalist who is questioning them from the studio. The most difficult type of interview Spokespeople often find these interviews unnerving. It is unnatural to be talking to a camera rather …

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soundbite media interview

Expert Guide: How to devise soundbites and get quoted

Many participants on Electric Airwaves’ media training courses ask how they can ensure that they don’t get unfairly edited by a journalist and can get their soundbites broadcast or published. Why was I misquoted? For busy journalists in a busy newsroom, confronted with something new, a few minutes on Google can often be the totality …

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nervous speaker

Expert Guide: How to Avoid “Um” and “Er” and “YKnow” when public speaking

There are around 230,000 words in the Oxford English Dictionary. ‘Um’ and ‘Er’ and ‘Y’know’ are not listed. Over-use of these so called ‘spurious spacers’ are at best annoying to the audience and at worst can damage your credibility and dilute your message when public speaking. Y’know The liberal use of “y’know” can signal pleading …

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select committee appearance

Expert Guide: Handling Appearances before a Parliamentary Select Committee

Introduction Select Committees were established and expanded during the 1970s and 1980s to ensure that Parliament could better scrutinize the Government and hold it to account. Most Committees perform without fanfare most of the time. But in recent years, some Committees seem to have come to see their job as holding the wider world to …

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Conference moderator

Expert Guide: Moderating Conferences and Panel Discussions

Just as there are few ‘naturals’ when it comes to media interviewees, there are few ‘naturals’ when it comes to moderating conferences and panel discussions. The good ones you see are the ones who have practiced – a lot! As a moderator or conference chair, your job is to make the speakers look good and …

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Fake news

The fake news problem and the consequences for PROs

Jesus:                   Everyone on the side of truth listens to me. Pontius Pilate:      What is truth? Since the election of Donald Trump, debate has raged about whether the flood of ‘fake news’ on the web swung the election to him. Leaving to one side Trumps’ own contribution to a ‘post truth’ world – and …

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