I’ll bet every one of us has said something like, “I kept telling them this was going to happen, but I guess it just fell on deaf ears.” Their ears were tuned to another stimulus.  German biologist Jakob von Uexküll defined the unique sensory environment an animal experiences as its umwelt. It is a “self-in-world” … Read more

If you’re ever looking for a way to kill a conversation, raise the specter of litigation. It’s more effective at ending a conversation than feigning death, belting out “Don’t Stop Believing” or pulling the fire alarm. Worries over litigation can stymie productive discussions over how to proceed strategically during a crisis. This worry – very … Read more

Expiry date on a jar of peanut butter

A friend of mine just returned to his office for the first time in more than two years. It was exactly how he left it – albeit cleaner – when he abruptly left work on a Thursday afternoon in March 2020 to retrieve his sick kid from school. He stayed home with the kiddo Friday. … Read more

Old metal wheel

Like my Kith colleagues, I cut my proverbial teeth in politics. Not as a candidate, but as a campaign staffer and, later, a political consultant. Campaigns are great places to train for reputation management and crisis communications because everything is a crisis. The latest mud your opponent threw at you is a crisis.  A campaign … Read more

Woman sitting with person standin behind covering her eyes

“You have not observed, and yet you have seen.” – Sherlock Holmes, A Scandal in Bohemia Pattern recognition is a superpower of strategic communicators. In the midst of a crisis, we have the ability to connect the dots out of a cacophony of signals, personalities and data. We see a pattern. We recognize it as … Read more

slow down to speed up

Speed is critical to success in a crisis but speed alone isn’t the answer – you need speed that’s based on an understanding of your core values and chain of command. Speed for the sake of speed leads to mistakes, inaccuracies, and rambling responses that get you into deeper trouble, not help pull you out. Instead, take some time to be clear, accurate, and brief. It requires additional time but helps you speed up in the end.

Recently, I was speaking with a client in the early stages of bringing the majority of their remote workforce back to the office. He said something that resonated with me and probably would with other strategic communicators: the “pandemic has leveled the playing field” between employees who were always in the office and those who … Read more

Unless the CEO Is the Crisis

How CEO Greg Glassman went from CrossFit to crosshairs and the challenge to restore a brand that followed.

Critical takeaways Communicating about reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic is proving harder than messaging about closing. Kith’s 6+2 framework can help communicators tell a story that reasonable people expect a responsible organization to tell. In times of uncertainty and anxiety, placing a particular emphasis on empathy, reassurance and transparency will make reopening messages more effective. … Read more

Critical takeaways Individuals build muscle memory by conducting physical movements repeatedly. Organizations can do the same by practicing their crisis response frequently. Muscle memory applies equally to both good habits and inefficient workarounds so care needs to be taken that the muscles being developed are the right ones. Work with your team to practice and … Read more