184: Reputation & crisis management - with encore guest Brian Lee

About Brian Lee

Brian Lee, APR, is the president of Revelation PR, Advertising & Social Media, as well as a part-time lecturer on social media at Madison Area Technical College. Business Magazine named Brian to its "40 Under 40" list in 2012, and PRSA-Madison named him its 2013 Communicator of the Year. Outside of Revelation, Brian is the editor-in-chief of Madison Startups, an online publication that covers startup news in town, and he runs EatDrinkMadison.com, a Madison, Wisconsin, restaurant and bar guide that is searchable by amenities.


Let’s discuss reputation and crisis management.

“it has become more important lately, especially with social media speeding up the news cycle that something that you could let sort of hide or fester in the old days gets really exposed very quickly these days.


Tell us the difference between reputation and crisis management.

“reputation management is everything you do basically before an incident occurs, you are [inaudible] doing reputation management to help maintain and protect your brand, shape, perceptions, and provide crisis resiliency. Meanwhile, crisis management or crisis communications is everything that occurs after an incident happens. So, this is your doing crisis management to help restore your rebuild trust and reestablish a reputation.”


Why is having a good reputation important?

“when you have a good reputation, people are more likely to forgive you after an incident because it's out of character and the vice versa is true. Then there's the business case. A Deloitte study shows that when an organization's reputation is damaged, there's a decrease in revenue, customer's brand value and/or stock price. In fact, uh, some number, like 87% of CEOs worldwide said reputation risk is the most important strategic risk their organizations are facing.”


When talking about reputation management, what are some of the first things, first steps that a business or organization should look at?

“think about it like a campaign. And with any campaign, it's important to start with your goals. So, in this case, list your business goals first and then come up with corresponding reputation goals.”


Say something happens at your company that's really positioning you in a negative way. How is your organization going to recover from that?

“The first thing I tell people in companies is that you need to talk to all your internal audiences first. That might be staff, volunteers, board of directors, et cetera. They need to know what's going on, what the company's doing. It also helps improve morale. And it kills the rumor mill.”


Do you have a case study that you could share with us?

“it's a little old, but people know it, it's United Airlines, and this occurred back in 2017. And just to remind listeners out there is that United Airlines had a flight that was oversold. They needed to put on their own crew members. So, they asked for volunteers. Finally, they had to actually forcibly remove a passenger…”


What's changed in your world since the last time we chatted/recorded?

“I launched the corporate event planning business called the revelation events and I was also just named an entrepreneur in residence at Madison area technical college.”


Let's dive deeper into your business. Who do you primarily work with?

“Revelation: We primarily work with hospitality clients, realtors, developers, associations, tech, and B2B companies. And although our clients do span the state and the country, our main specialty is helping clients win Madison.”


How can you be a resource to your network and mine?

“one of the things you mentioned in the introductions, I am also the editor in chief of a newspaper here in Madison. We cover all the startups and tech and biotech and so forth going on. It's been interesting because there's been a lot of communities in the Midwest that sort of want to replicate what Madison has in terms of an entrepreneurial ecosystem. So, for example…”


In our initial interview - you had said you'd like to connect with decision-makers in companies. Have you made progress on connecting with any particular person?

“at some point, I did reach out to that person and I just think of a parallel example that earlier this year I was pursuing another business opportunity for Revelation. I have several mutual connections to help reach out on my behalf, but they didn't have any luck. So finally, I'm like, okay, I just gotta take matters into my own hands. I reached out myself and I did get a meeting of it.”


Paying it forward is an overarching theme that we hear and see often in the business world. Please share a recent pay-it-forward experience that you've had... Received or given.

“in that previous interview, I mentioned I often refer business to someone. I don't expect that quid pro quo. So, one time I was at this networking event and I met one person who was looking to buy a particular service and another person I met at that same networking event who actually provided that service. So, it was getting toward the end of the night and I realized, I bet they're not going to even meet because they're about to leave. So, I made sure to grab both of them and introduced them, and they actually ended up doing business together.”


Everyone loves a good tip or tool/resource that will help save them time or make their life easier. Do you have any tips or resources to share with our listeners?

“I really like using OneNote. I use it to keep notes for all my different businesses and I also keep a set of personal notes. So, I do everything from vacation planning to save recipes, to writing outlines of blog posts on it. And I like being able to access the same notes from any device wherever I am.”


If we could remove all barriers and constraints what project would you do or take on? (this could be personal or professional)

“I would love to write a movie script or at least finish the one I started so many years ago and then shop it around Hollywood. I also wrote a TV pilot script years ago. It didn't get picked up obviously, but I would retool and shop that around too.”


You can get in contact with Brian at:

Email: brian@revalation.agency

Website: https://revelation.agency/

LinkedIn: Click Here