Crisis Management in PR

The delivery guy approaches the house; He does not even knock: the delivery guy throws the package over the fence and leaves; there is a surveillance camera at the door; the customer comes back home and sees the package on the floor; he wonders why it is there; he goes and checks the records and sees what the delivery guy did; he uploads the video on; five days later the video has around 5 millions views, then the crisis began (Dietrich, 2012).

The previous story describes what happened with one of FedEx’s customers. I started with this story to show how an individual’s actions can affect a whole company or an organization. A crisis could happen to any publically known organization, it could happen for two main reasons: Either by an exterior factor, which probably is a competitor of the organization, or by the actions of an interior entity of the organization. In addition, this crisis will cause the organization so many losses, either a decrease in their profit or less people believing in their cause or even a damage to the organization’s reputation. In some cases companies don’t even realize that they are going through a crisis. However, those crises could be managed and solved. Here a PR professional’s work is critical. Because the public’s eyes are pointing toward the organization since the crisis is still happening and any new information added to the subject could have an enormous effects on the organization’s image (Sun, 2010).

“An organization’s reputation is as important as any other corporate asset, and many organizations have some kind of crisis plan intended to protect that reputation should something go wrong. This is when effective management of information (controlling communications) is so vital – and always difficult” (Ashcroft, 1997)

“The public relation crisis means the crisis related to the enterprise because of poor quality, labor dispute, legal wrangling and catastrophic failure exposed by the medias, and it will seriously affect the reputation of the enterprise” (Sun, 2010). In FedEx case, the crisis was a customer service crisis until the customer uploaded the video on Youtube. According to Miltenberg (2013), developing a clear effective message on the same platform the crisis started or happened on is a successful crisis management technique. Also, Miltenberg mentioned that people like to hear responds from people not just a voice talking with the logo of the brand (Miltenberg, 2013). That is exactly what FedEx did. They created and uploaded a video on Youtube of Matthew Thornton, senior VP of FedEx Express, apologizing and talking about the incident and how much he is disappointed of the actions of their employee. Furthermore, he assures the public that these actions will not happening again and they are using this incident of the training of the company’s employee (Dietrich, 2012).

“As the leader of our pickup and delivery operations across America, I want you to know that I was upset, embarrassed, and very sorry for our customer’s poor experience. This goes directly against everything we have always taught our people and expect of them. It was just very disappointing” (as cited in Dietrich).



Ashcroft, L. S. (1997). Crisis management – public relations. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 12(5), 325-332. Retrieved from

Dietrich, G. (2012, January 11). FedEx Customer Video Turned Good PR. In spinsucks. Retrieved October 18, 2014, from


Miltenberg, B. (2013, March 19). 13 Tips for Effective Crisis Management. In prnewsonline. Retrieved October 19, 2014, from

Sun, L. (2010). Analysis of management strategies of corporate public relation crisis. International Journal of Business and Management, 5(3), 171-174. Retrieved from



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