Kevin Bowers and Charles Lankester speak at PR360 Asia 2017 on public relations, litigation and the new social media reality.
When crisis strikes, who are you going to call? Exploring the synergy (and tension) between maximizing public relations and protecting legal interest.
HWB Partner Kevin Bowers was recently invited as a guest speaker at the PR360 Asia conference, an event which brought together leaders in the global communications industry to discuss strategies for crisis and disaster management.
Kevin was invited to share his experience advising clients during emergencies and disasters along with guest speaker Charles Lankester, EVP of Ruder Finn's Global Reputation & Risk Management Practice. The panel, moderated by Peter Shadbolt, Editor of "The Corporate Treasurer" (Haymarket Media Group), discussed the role of communications in today's litigious world, and ways of balancing public relations with protecting legal interest.
Speaking on the panel, Kevin and Charles offered insight into crisis management from both a legal and public relations perspective. They talked about best practice in crisis management, and highlighted recent examples where initial public responses by companies in crisis were too legalistic and robotic. The responses consequently failed to sway deteriorating public opinion.
Recent headlines such as the United Airlines incident went viral on social media, showing just how quickly public opinion can form. Recognising this, Kevin and Charles emphasised the need for an even-handed approach when resolving issues with a high degree of public attention. They also emphasised the importance of simultaneously protecting both the client's legal position and public image.
During the discussion, Charles and Kevin also talked about their experience in dealing with unexpected situations. They talked about the "unknown unknown", an event so unpredictable that it cannot be anticipated based on past experience. In relation to this, Charles also talked about the "Barbra Streisand Effect", where attempts to suppress information can have the unexpected (and undesired) effect of publicizing the information more widely. Finally, the panel also spoke about ways of using an emergency to come out ahead, and methods of using past experiences to help mitigate future disasters.
Howse Williams Bowers is an independent law firm which combines the in-depth experience of its lawyers with a forward thinking approach.
Our key practice areas are corporate/commercial and corporate finance; commercial and maritime dispute resolution; clinical negligence and healthcare; insurance, personal injury and professional indemnity insurance; employment; family and matrimonial; property and building management; and financial services/corporate regulatory and compliance.
As an independent law firm we are able to minimise legal and commercial conflicts of interest and act for clients in every industry sector. The partners have spent the majority of their careers in Hong Kong and have a detailed understanding of international business and business in Asia.
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