THE BIG PITCH: How have you altered your company's PR strategysince September 11?

DARRYLL FORTUNE - Director of public relations, Controls Group,

Johnson Controls

Externally, we've just been really careful about what we're


Before making any announcement, we're asking: Is it important at this

time? Will it get any pickup? Does a particular announcement seem


We make building control systems, so from a building standpoint, we

don't want to look opportunistic in announcing new business brought on

by the attacks. We had just completed a huge job in Wedge One of the

Pentagon before the attack, and now we'll have to redo that work, but we

haven't announced that we'll be redoing it. That just doesn't seem


Internally, we've looked at all our internal security procedures and

have reemphasized to employees policies for talking to the media and

discussing confidential information. We've looked at those procedures to

make sure they are up to date. We've also looked at evacuation

procedures and communicated those to key employees.

AL MADISON - President & CEO, The DCS Group (Dutko Communications


Immediately after the attack, it was wise to cancel events, reschedule

press releases, and rework, or more preferably, put aside news


Certainly the PR industry recognizes that the news media's attention is

elsewhere right now, as it should be. But in the weeks that follow, the

news media's appetite will return (it already has), and DCS has

counseled our clients with international interests,

intelligence/security solutions, and public health issues that they need

to put aside their existing communications strategies and focus on

contributing what they can to answering the number-one question out

there: How do we get through this?

ANDY GETSEY - Co-founder & CEO, AtomicPR

Out of respect for the significance of the September 11, we halted all

ad and outbound business development efforts on our own behalf entirely.

We are only now beginning to self-promote again. In addition, a few days

after the 11th, we quietly began inquiring about our NYC contacts to see

if they were safe. All our colleagues escaped harm, but sadly, many of

them knew people who did not.

We kept close tabs on discussion boards and PR trade media to follow

journalist opinions and industry sentiment about the appropriate

response to the events. We advised most clients to suspend announcement

activities and media outreach for at least several weeks, and to

evaluate each opportunity on a case-by-case basis for priority and

appropriateness. We also began to quietly inquire about a number of

scheduled industry events to see if they would be rescheduled or

cancelled, and began planning for replacement activities.

CATHERINE RYAN - VP of communications, National Geographic world arts


We've returned to focusing on our founding mission: helping people - in

our case artisans - all over the world. This message point holds the key

to public appeal now more than ever. Before, we had focused primarily on

promoting the individual stories of our participating artists. Other PR

execs might emphasize their clients' philanthropy - or how their clients

are now better serving their employees and the public. We're also

actively spreading a positive message that the consumer market is still


In fact, the public is eager to buy gifts. People are taking more time

to demonstrate that they care for each other. We continue emphasizing

this in all our contacts with the media.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in