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PRNews: Lessons Learned From Google’s and NBC’s Contrasting Crisis Responses

Andrew Ricci, principal of Riccon Strategic Communications, adds, "Google may have avoided negative press when they quietly separated from the employees in question, but this just shows that in today’s age, nothing stays quiet forever." Ricci sees the late timing of the memo as a missed opportunity: "Google now looks like the party at fault here by sweeping it under the rug, whereas they could have taken a leadership role and proactively emphasized their company’s values."

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Andrew Ricci
PRNews: How Will the TBS-Samantha Bee Scenario Play Out? 2 Views from Crisis Pros

Meanwhile, some PR pros believe that Bee and TBS will weather the storm. Andrew Ricci, principal at Riccon Strategic Communications, hopes that TBS is smart enough to realize that "there’s a difference between using a historically significant slur to characterize an entire race of people that have already been historically marginalized and using a naughty word that might hurt someone in power’s feelings."

In situations like these, you’ll always have a couple jumpy sponsors who take a knee-jerk reaction to the issue du jour, adds Ricci. "As long as it doesn’t gain significant momentum, [TBS] should keep directing people to their apologies and be able to wait it out. Samantha Bee was trending yesterday, she’s not trending today, and by Monday we’ll have moved on.”

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Andrew Ricci
PRNews: A 5-Step GDPR Crisis Plan

Andrew Ricci, principal at Riccon Strategic Communications, agrees that GDPR crisis planning is paramount for affected organizations. "There’s only a small extent to which organizations can blame anything that happens on the GDPR regulations. If customers lose faith that they can rely on a service or product, they’ll start looking elsewhere, and they won’t care whose fault it is," he says.

To help mitigate these negative business outcomes, Ricci says PR pros should start by drafting a matrix that measures anticipated threats on their likelihood and impact. For high likelihood and high-impact threats, Ricci agrees with Grabowski that communicators must have a list of media holding statements, press lists and other response materials at the ready.

Ricci adds that that for the most rapid response, roles and responsibilities need to be clearly delineated in advance "so that everyone has their marching orders and can quickly spring into action."

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Andrew Ricci
PRNews: Can Facebook Outweigh Data Breach with Release of Once-Secret Community Standards

Though the standards are clearly written, Facebook may face some unintended consequences from their release. Andrew S. Ricci, principal of Riccon Strategic Communications, told PR News that “by being very clear about what’s explicitly allowed, it might create some opportunities for provocateurs and others to get right up to the line and stretch the standards as far as they can go…[Facebook is] going to have to figure out ways to enforce both the letter and the intent of the policies pretty well, which could involve some tough calls that it’ll get blowback for.”

Still, Ricci says, this is “a good step forward for their efforts to demonstrate transparency,” but the social giant needs to keep doubling down on its efforts. Ricci concludes that “in the near term, [Facebook has] got to figure out how to address the claims that its users and users' data are products that can be bought and sold. If it doesn’t figure out how to get that storyline under control and get back to the basics, more troubles might be on the horizon.”

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Andrew Ricci
PRNews: Crisis Experts Share What Brands Can Learn From Heineken's Ad Fiasco

Andrew Ricci, principal at Riccon Strategic Communications, agrees, saying that diverse focus groups could flag issues that brands might miss.

"Brands have got to [recognize] that they have significant blind spots and things that they won’t think are a big deal, but that will be interpreted differently by others," says Ricci. Heineken made the right decision to issue a forceful apology and pull the ad quickly after criticism came to light, he says, but they can't stop there.

"They really have to make good on their claim that they will use the situation to influence their future campaigns," he adds. "Ad campaigns today have to celebrate diversity."

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Andrew Ricci