When PR tends to fail: science communication in crisis situations

Gerhard Schmücker, Euprio Conference Poznan 2019 speaker

Gerhard Schmücker - Germany

Gerhard Schmücker has been Director of University Relations at Nuertingen-Geislingen University since 2002, and previously held the positions of Public Relations Officer then International & Public Relations Officer. He is also a freelance lecturer on German History, Politics and Economy (in English for international Students), a lecturer on PR for financial institutions at the Stuttgart University of Corporate Studies, and a freelance author, journalist and PR Consultant. He is a member of the board of the Federal Association of University Communication and of EUPRIO.

Session introduction
Higher Education Institutions are affected by crisis, either situational or structural. Both crisis scenarios share the same phenomenon: surprise. Communication in these situation can be crucial for the future of the institution because public trust and the corporate image are at stake. This Masterclass will address the challenges and especially the limitations of public relations during crisis situations. A real case of science communication during a crisis will be explored and compared with examples from the business world. Participants will learn that even perfect PR tools fail, when public opinion and reaction is simply overwhelming.

Session in-depth
This Masterclass will:

  • explain the challenges of crisis management especially for smaller institutions
  • provide an overview of different crisis scenarios
  • present crisis communication solutions with various real world examples
  • give an insight to crisis communications with a real case analysis
  • explore how to manage and communicate in crisis situations
  • argue that crisis PR and communications offer clear limitations depending on the crisis environment