SXSW Panel Readout

Brand POV in a Crisis:
Speak Out or Shut the F Up?

From the war in Ukraine to Roe v. Wade, brands these days are expected to speak out on social issues yet often struggle with the right words and actions. Many keep quiet out of fear they'll say the wrong thing. But staying silent can also send the wrong message.

Every crisis will be unique with exceptional and unanticipated circumstances – building a systematic method to assess and address an adverse event can help optimize your response.


Building an Effective Coordinated Response Process and a Crisis Communications Readiness Plan Can Prepare You When Your Brand is Under Pressure to Take Action

Step 1

Audit Existing Communications and Assess Vulnerabilities

  • Assemble a crisis communications task force
  • Identify key stakeholders and develop issues matrix
  • Identify and assess third-party advocates
Step 2

Establish Foundation and Formalize Process

  • Establish a crisis communications process and foundation
  • Identify most likely crisis scenarios and create template materials
  • Develop broader messaging to align with key business issues
Step 3

Implement and Pressure Test Crisis Preparedness Protocols

  • Rehearse and prep potential company spokespeople
  • Conduct crisis simulation exercise(s)
  • Integrate crisis preparedness with overall corporate strategy and planning

Speakers Bios and Contact Information

Liv Allen
Vice President, Codeword
Liv Allen, Vice President, Codeword

Liv Allen is a Vice President at Codeword, an integrated communications agency. Over the last twelve years of her PR career, she has had the pleasure of working with a broad range of B2B and consumer tech companies, from global brands to scrappy startups, and exchanging ideas with some of the smartest people in the business. She began her PR agency career in London before emigrating to the US in 2016.

Aaronde Seckou Creighton
Chief Diversity Officer,
Leadership Circle
Aaronde Creighton, Chief Diversity Officer, Leadership Circle

Aaronde Creighton is the Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) of The Leadership Circle. As CDO, he creates the company's strategic approach to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) and supports community of practitioners in IDEA work. Additionally, Aaronde ensures The Leadership Circles continues to do its own development within the organization in IDEA. As CDO, he is also a member of The Leadership Circle's Leadership Team, helping to guide the global organization. In addition to these responsibilities, Aaronde continues to serve clients directly as a consultant, executive coach, and facilitator.

Sally Frykman
Chief Marketing Officer, Mobile
Sally Frykman, Chief Marketing Officer, Mobile

As Chief Marketing Officer at Velodyne Lidar, Sally Frykman oversees the strategic development and execution of global marketing and communications programs that advance the company’s innovative vision and goals. Sally joined Velodyne Lidar in 2017 as the Communications and Education Manager and quickly rose the ranks, climbing from Director of Communications to VP of Communications, and now as the company’s Chief Marketing Officer. Her multifaceted role encompasses a wide array of responsibilities, including promotion of the Velodyne brand, thought leadership development, and robust sales lead generation fueled by highly engaging digital marketing. Additionally, Sally leads Velodyne’s comprehensive public and media relations efforts.

Lyle Weston
Director, Joele Frank
Lyle Weston, Director, Joele Frank

Lyle provides strategic communications counsel to companies facing complex, high-profile corporate events, transactions and special situations, including mergers, acquisitions and unsolicited takeovers; shareholder activism defense and short attacks; and bankruptcies and restructurings. He also assists clients with ongoing investor relations, corporate communications and crisis management. Lyle received a BS from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

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