About kimballpr

Gary is president of Kimball Communications and a recognized expert in crisis communications and insurance public relations.

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

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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.

 

Trump organization gets it right on data breach communications


Gage Skidmore / Foter / CC BY-SA

Donald Trump has jumped to the top of the Republican primary polls with an acerbic style that runs contrary to established political rhetoric. But when Trump International made the announcement yesterday that it was hacked, the PR effort was by the book.

And effective.

The Donald Trump Hotel chain says its payment data system was breached, potentially exposing customers’ credit and debit card information for more than a year. The chain posted a notice on their website and media coverage like this CBS report shows how to communicate a breach:

  • The facts about the breach: malware may have given hackers access to payment information between May 19, 2014 and June 2, 2015
  • The exposure: they have “not found any conclusive evidence that the information was taken or misused.”
  • Steps taken to correct it: they notified the FBI and financial institutions and hired an outside forensic expert to investigate.
  • Recommendations for customers and what it is doing to help: offering a year of complimentary fraud resolution and identity-protection services.

The Donald is in the crosshairs of many, so the New York Daily News and others took their shots, but coverage was once and done. As of now, they appear to have avoided what the IRS, Target and others have done – underestimate the extent of the damage in their initial reports, leading to multiple news reports and keeping the story alive.

Will it all come out in the wash?

I’m on my way back from The Clean Show, where there was tremendous interest in my TRSA-sponsored educational session, “Crisis Communications: A Practical Guide to Protecting Your Reputation.” Whether they were commercial laundry operators or others in the textile industry, attendees recognized the importance of communicating effectively in a crisis.

A massive, cylindrical washing machine

Space ship or tunnel washer? You decide.

Among the highlights of my presentation were:

  • Having a crisis response plan that includes communications protocols for media, customers and other key audiences.
  • Identifying a spokesperson who can represent the company well.
  • Dos and don’ts of media interviews, focusing on honest, open communications.
  • Preparing talking points that drive all answers in media interviews.
  • Incorporating social media in a crisis communications plan
  • The role of leadership in navigating a crisis effectively.

Following the presentation, TRSA hosted a press conference to unveil results of a new survey that reported business and consumer perspectives on service professionals wearing uniforms. The conference also unveiled the new TRSA animated video we developed with videographer Tom Donnelly.

Opening day on the trade show floor was eye opening with the size of the equipment and advanced technology used by the commercial laundry industry TRSA represents. For me, it was a valuable window into an important, far-reaching industry.

A large green banner depicting a women clutching plastic saying "sometimes I feel like I'm drowning in plastic."

The laundry industry has a bright green streak.

Addison Wolfe celebrates milestone, lands recognition in Courier-Times

The Bucks County Courier-Times highlights a milestone for Addison Wolfe. The boutique real estate agency surpassed their $200 million sales mark last year, after only eight years of business. Headed by Art Mazzei, a retired schoolteacher, the agency specializes in high-end homes in Bucks County and the surrounding areas.

Mazzei dedicates Addison Wolfe’s success to their personal touch on each listing and quality service they give to each client.

Addison Wolfe, a client of Kimball Communications, is located in New Hope, Penn. Learn further about Addison Wolfe’s milestone in the Courier-Times article and short video interviewing Mazzei.