Preparation Accounts for 90 Percent of Crisis Communication Success*

Gary Potterfield, co-host of The Brand Ambassadors, and Paul and his beard, during a break in the podcast action.

When Paul and I worked federal government communicator jobs, we had to be very careful not to endorse (or condemn!) organizations and products. Drilled into us. Became habit not to do so. Objectivity at all times, no opinion – just the facts – with our public-facing spokesmen personas.

We’re not federal communicators anymore, so we’re now free to endorse at will! (Seriously, you don’t know how great that feels. Or maybe you do.) We’ve been big fans of Vox Optima and are now fans of their newish podcast (three episodes into their run), The Brand Ambassadors, with hosts Merritt Hamilton Allen and Gary Potterfield. It is merely coincidental that this feature lead introduces a podcast on which Paul appears Paul appeared on TBA’s third podcast, “Crisis Communication Part One” (built-in cliffhanger with that title!), last week and, in case you missed the live broadcast, we have a link to the interview.

Paul talks about his start in the crisis communication field (and what kept him in the tightly focused world-of-work), spokesperson identification and training, how speaker preparation is supposed to work during crises, social media and SMEM and how small organizations with limited resources can prepare for crisis.

Paul’s appearance aside (good job, buddy!), Merritt and Gary are seasoned communication pros who use their background and experience to dissect current events and also make you smarter about communication fundamentals and advanced concepts in an atmosphere that’s both laid back and professional. My kind of people.

Editor’s Note: Paul referred to us as mercenaries at one point in the podcast. Huh.

Here is TBA’s “Crisis Communication Part One,” enjoy.


*Anecdotal evidence provided by Paul during the podcast. Along with other percentages for other things. Also anecdotal. But, full disclosure, since we deal in fact on this here blog, Paul’s assessment is akin to the calibrated eyeball concept of photographic exposure. Back when people knew what f-stops and shutter speeds and the Sunny 16 rule were. Ok. I’ve probably already lost you. Replace all that with “a subject matter expert’s assessment,” and you’re good.

Talk to me, Goose.

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