This week’s guest is Tom Carpenter, a principal at the public relations firm Bospar who has more than 20 years of business, marketing and tech PR experience. Tom is known as “the crisis communications expert” and is skilled at advising tech companies in highly sensitive situations. But he began his career conducting PR for one of the world’s leading law firms, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Tom brought lessons he learned and skills he honed to the tech world from a buttoned-up corporate environment where knowing when to keep mum and being prepared about how and when to respond was vital. He discusses the importance of transparency, when to be reactive, when to craft a “holding response” instead of issuing an immediate announcement, and when to lie low.
This episode was recorded at the start of the war in Ukraine, so Tom also touches on companies being tactful about their messages during global crises, his agency’s COVID-related work, how Bospar responded to the Texas abortion ban, and the importance of addressing other social justice concerns. He explains how companies can prepare themselves for the worst-case scenario and how PR professionals can keep the media from blowing something up and making it out to be worse than it is.