Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Sago Mine Communications

Do you agree that the communications fiasco at Sago Mine was shocking?

Several facts are hard to understand. The Sago Mine web site had no information on its home page until they hired pr firm Dix & Eaton. We have been auditing Web sites of companies in crisis for years now and Lesson #1 is acknowledging that something has happened and quickly informing your publics online. We began auditing Web sites of companies in crisis after 9-11 and many of those lessons should be second-nature today.

Second, there was obviously no one advising the company's leaders on how to communicate during this trying time. Neither was there any press source to turn to. Instead the president Ben Hatfield was fielding questions and the miners' families and pastor were all talking to the press and breaking news. Yet another Lesson -- identify one person to speak on behalf of the company and no more. All news starts and ends with that person.

Not sure if you have heard of the Hot Shots. They are the elite team of professional wildland firefighters. The rule is that the first person who lands on the ground in the vicinity of the fire is the boss. He/she is in charge. Sago Mine needed one person in charge, not a village.

The reputation of the mining industry has to be reeling. Hopefully with good wishes and wise counsel they will get back on their feet.

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