Andy DiOrio PRSSA Presentation on Crisis Communication

Last week I went to the PRSSA meeting featuring the presentation of Andy DiOrio, the director of corporate communications for AMC Theaters.

DiOrio started his presentation by introducing his daily job content. He then brought us two case studies from AMC Theaters about crisis communication. One is external crisis communication, the case is about what did AMC theater do after the theater shooting in Colorado. By this Case study, DiOrio told us three things that we should do during an external crisis communication. 1) As the PR person of the AMC Theaters, our first though should be ” Was this our theater?” 2) Help the CEO send out the first message. It must be quick, and make sure all employees are on the same message. The message should be easily accessible for the community. 3) Give out message on social media. AMC Theaters gave out 13 tweets on Twitter. We should make the message as distinct and short as possible, because the message can and will be construed by media.


The second case is internal crisis communication, which is about AMC bought by Chinese corporation Wanda. There are some points DiOrio shared with us that how AMC did and we should learn about. 1) Top Down Communication, let the CEO give out the message. 2) Timely, China is a day ahead of U.S., the message should give out right when things happen. AMC theaters told all employees exactly what was happening before media construed it. 3) Face-to face communication is key. AMC theaters had the Chinese runner came to the state and let the employees met with them in person. They also showed them what Wanda is. These changed employees behavior by 29% of employees acting more open toward the new ownership change.


DiOrio concluded the presentation by given us 3 important key of crisis communication. 1) Solid internal core, CEO gives message to employees. 2) Transparency and Truth means trust. 3) Engagement eases change, help the employees to get familiar from unfamiliar.


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