Kimball Communications continues to grow national client base

Kimball Communications recently announced the signing of four new clients, including a Chicago-based professional trade association, plus legal and financial service providers.

Those new clients include:

  • American Association of Law Libraries: Based in Chicago, the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) advances the profession of law librarianship and supports the professional growth of its members through leadership and advocacy in the field of legal information and information policy. Kimball Communications will provide AALL with public relations services, including media relations, thought leadership development and social media consulting.
  • Michaelson Capital Partners LLC: Michaelson Capital Partners, a venture capital firm based in Manhattan, provides customized growth financing to entrepreneur-led technology companies in sectors where the firm has domain expertise, relationships and experience to add value. Michaelson Capital Partners has hired Kimball Communications to provide on-demand public relations support and media outreach.
  • Amanda DiChello, Saul Ewing LLP, partner and co-chair of the Private Client Services Group: Amanda DiChello is a partner at Saul Ewing LLP in Philadelphia and New Jersey, and the co-chair of the firm’s Private Client Services Group, where she serves as general counsel and trusted advisor to high-net-worth families and individuals, closely held business owners, family offices, and charitable foundations. Kimball Communications has been hired to develop and implement a public relations strategy to increase Amanda’s profile as an expert in her field.
  • Themis Advocates Group: As a national network of law firms based in King of Prussia, Pa, the mission of Themis Advocates Group is to provide the most skilled, aggressive and cost-efficient legal services to clients by sharing information, procedures, trends and client feedback. Themis Advocates Group engaged Kimball Communications to provide public relations consulting, and to create and enact a social media strategy highlighting its events and members’ expertise, as well as sharing resources and information pertinent to insurance litigation and policy.

“Our 22-year reputation for outstanding public relations services spans several industries. However, we’re particularly pleased to continue to expand our working partnerships with those in the professional association, legal and financial service sectors. We look forward to working with these and other great clients in the year ahead,” said agency President Gary Kimball

The Truth, The Whole Truth and Nothing but The Truth

When dealing with a crisis, “no comment” is always the wrong response. The right response must provide clarity and accuracy. There are several recent examples, however, where spokespersons have either issued statements without taking the time to check all the facts or they purposely provided false information.

screen-shot-2017-06-20-at-1-56-38-pm.pngOne recent example was a physical assault by a congressional candidate on a member of the press. To initially defend the candidate from assault allegations, his spokesperson provided an account that was contrary what the reporter said happened. The campaign provided inaccurate information to support their defense.

You might ask, ‘how do we know the story was inaccurate?’ Well, there were witnesses and an audio recording of the incident. These where even referenced in the campaign’s statement, although they ultimately provided details that supported the reporters account rather than the campaign’s. Moreover, the candidate, now a U.S. congressman, recently plead guilty to the assault charges.

Here is the problem — prior to issuing the statement, the communication professionals involved clearly didn’t have or somehow ignored key facts. They did not speak to the witnesses. They did not talk to the reporter in question. They also doubled-down by referencing an audio recording of the incident in their statement, it seems, to which they hadn’t actually listened. Worse still, there is the possibility the campaign issued a statement that was a deliberate untruth.

The lesson here is simple: stick to the truth. If you don’t have all the facts, there’s nothing wrong with saying so, and qualify it by noting you are looking into the matter. If you or your client have done something wrong, admit it and apologize sincerely. However, before you issue a definitive statement, check your facts, explain the ramifications of false statements to the parties involved and use sound judgement. If there are witnesses, talk to them if possible. But don’t lie, ignore facts or act with only a partial idea of what happened.

In any matter, when dealing with the media take your time and check your facts. When your image or that of your client is on the line, you want your communications strategy done right. Never put yourself in a position where you’re providing false information or don’t know the full picture. Tell the truth – always. Doing otherwise can damage your reputation and follow you for years.

Insurance, insights, and acrobats: RIMS 2017

The annual RIMS conference is always a worthwhile annual reunion for the insurance industry. It’s an enormous event that gathers carriers, brokers, and tech companies to network and (dare I say) have a good bit of fun! For those who’ve been, they know: the RIMS parties are something else. This year’s event at the Pennsylvania Convention Center here in Philadelphia treated attendees to acrobats in the main atrium, a champagne fairy, a Billy Idol concert and remarks from Michael J. Fox.

But the conference isn’t short on substance, either. There were valuable educational sessions, tasty meals and inspiring speakers. It also gathers the insurance and business media to meet in one place. From a public relations perspective, that is an incredible opportunity. It is the time to connect key reporters and industry thought leaders to engage in constructive conversations about risk and insurance.

We used the opportunity to say “hi” to old friends on the media side and introduce them to clients as future resources. We also facilitated some on-site interviews to make sure our clients got in front of the RIMS audience – a key group for anyone looking to get their message across to broker, carriers, and more.

In the case of one of our attending clients Pennsylvania Lumbermens Mutual Insurance, we also got the opportunity to see things from the exhibitor perspective as we captured social media content for them. Check out this video of a critical loss control tool they are using with their customers demonstrated at their exhibit booth.

Social media was a key component of the conference, down to the #RIMS2017 hashtag displayed boldly in giant letters in the entrance to the convention center. Screens throughout the convention center compiled tweets with the hashtag, and people were quick to pose for photos as the “I” in RIMS (like we did).

Sam_Eileen at RIMS2017_2

The RIMS conference may be primarily an education and networking opportunity for the insurance pros involved, but for us insurance PR pros, these opportunities to connect with reporters and create social media content were just as important. Thanks to the RIMS organization for a valuable conference. See you in San Antonio!

Please United, get help

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Twitter users react to the incident with the hashtag #NewUnitedAirlinesMottos

There is so much wrong with United having a passenger dragged from an overbooked plane that it’s difficult to know where to start. But when looking at how to handle communications in a crisis, there are several issues that are immediately apparent:

  1. United has problems. A crisis often reveals underlying problems and as a frequent flyer of United (my home airport is Newark, so I have no choice), I am painfully aware of them. There are systemic issues with the airlines, from the age of planes to dated, inconsistent and often horrific customer service. These things reveal themselves in crises and it’s tough to hide.
  2. They did not evaluate this situation very well. That may be the understatement of the century. Before you respond to a crisis, you need to understand what you’re responding to, and United’s weak first statement showed they clearly did not understand two things. One, that an airline brand is about customer service and this was as bad as it gets, and, two, what public opinion, especially on social media, was saying about them. This brings me to the third issue.
  3. Social media has changed the speed and dynamics of crisis response. You may feel like you’re in a different generation when you fly United, but they have the resources to employ competent public relations people who should be able to evaluate public opinion on social media and respond appropriately and in a timely fashion.
  4. Finally, you have to choose the right words. I was shocked (not upset, not saddened) to see their initial statement. “They” are upset? What about the passengers? And they “re-accommodated” passengers? Inventing nonsensical words is only the tip of the iceberg, and that goes back to problems one through three – United has problems and is out of touch.

Before I hang up my Mileage Plus account and begin a monogamous relationship with Delta for domestic flights (and maybe even try American), I am hoping this is the wake-up call United needs.

And hey Oscar Munoz, my PR firm and thousands of others are competent, available and would never put you in this situation.

5 crisis tips for organizations serving children and youth

A crisis can take many forms and represent significant risk for an organization’s ability to continue ordinary operations, as well as for its image, its client base and its short- and long-term financial performance. Effective planning and response will help you navigate a crisis successfully. Here five tips to get started:

  1. Have a plan. Once a crisis occurs it’s too late to begin planning. Create an emergency response plan that takes into account all possible risks, from accidents and abuse to newer risks like active shooters and emerging health issues. Make sure you utilizes all necessary resources when creating your plan.
  2. Widen your expertise. It’s impossible to handle a crisis alone. You need a wide range of resources both inside and outside your organization, ranging from medical professionals and grief counselors to public relations professionals and attorneys.
  3. Create a crisis communications component to your plan. This includes establishing one spokesperson and defining his/her specific responsibilities, and establishing protocols for handling the media and for managing and monitoring social media.
  4. Communicate open and honestly. Take control of your situation and be first in communicating with the families of the children you serve. Open, accurate and rapid communications goes a long way in building and maintaining the trust and respect of your community and clients.
  5. Distribute, practice and update the plan. Your plan does not do any good sitting on a shelf. It should be widely circulated, understood by everyone involved and practiced. The plan should also be reviewed and updated on a regular basis.

 

Kimball Communications expands client roster

Kimball Communications recently announced the signing of four new clients in the insurance, non-profit and tourism industries.

The clients include:

  • The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation: IICF is an international nonprofit that unites the collective strengths of insurance industry professionals to give back to their communities through grants, volunteer service and leadership. IICF also hosts the largest diversity-agenda conference within the insurance industry, the Women in Insurance Global Conference. Kimball Communications has been hired to promote the 2017 conference, its speakers and related thought leadership to global business media as well as insurance and philanthropic trade press.
  • Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia: Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum has hired Kimball Communications to craft a multi-channel story offering a behind-the-scenes perspective on the innovative creation of a new exhibit. This upcoming exhibit will explore the influenza pandemic that gripped the city (and the world) from 1918-1919.
  • Pennsylvania & Indiana Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Companies (PLM): One of the country’s largest insurers specializing in lumber and wood-related businesses, this Philadelphia-based company has asked Kimball Communications to develop a comprehensive public relations campaign. This integrated campaign will promote PLM’s expertise among its target audiences with regular media coverage, as well as engage those audiences on social media to generate, grow and maintain awareness.
  • Angel Flight East: A non-profit providing compassion flight services for those in need in the Mid-Atlantic and northeastern U.S., Angel Flight East partnered with Kimball Communications to enhance awareness of its mission among pilots, business leaders, healthcare providers, patient communities and social workers using media relations, event promotion and thought leadership strategies.

“Our expertise and track record of success within the insurance, non-profit, arts and tourism spaces will serve each of these clients well, and we’re happy to support the important work they do,” noted agency President Gary Kimball.

 

IICF’s new Philadelphia chapter announces 1st fundraiser

According to PropertyCasualty360, the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation‘s new Philadelphia Chapter will hold its inaugural fundraiser event on March 30 at Fado Irish Pub on Locust Street in the City of Brotherly Love. Proceeds will benefit Cradles to Crayons. Details, as well as how to obtain tickets to the event, can be found in the PropertyCasualty360 article from Feb. 28, 2017.