September 14, 2017

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Illinois, Latest News

Rauner Hires Crisis Communications Manager: A Review of Where Rauner Went Wrong

But Will Rauner Listen?

Yesterday, Tina Sfondeles of the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Governor Bruce Rauner brought in Hud Englehart, a PR and crisis communications expert, to lead “communications strategy development” in his office.

In a 2016 article, Englehart laid out five general practices for crisis communications – there seems to be a lot for Rauner to learn.

Hud Englehart: “First, the best crisis antidote is to tell it all and tell it fast.”

  • Rauner always tries the opposite and seeks to down-play any turmoil in office. In July, he acted like a 20-person staff turnover was no big deal and he fibbed about interviewing a new staffer.  Recently, Rauner’s refused to answer questions about the mysterious firing of his General Counsel.

Englehart: “Second, understand that crisis is the ultimate marketing event.”

  • Rauner actually nailed this one. When asked about a staffer who compared abortion to Nazi eugenics, Rauner just said he was building the “Best Team in America.” This was also after firing his body man of one day for homophobic tweets.

Englehart: “Third, crisis is a creature of media and communication.”

  • See: refusing to look at a cartoon for a whole week that the Illinois legislature denounced.

Englehart: “Next, you can’t talk your way out of trouble.”

  • Rauner once went on Fox News and tried to talk his way out of taking a position on President Trump’s immigration policies. It didn’t work.

Englehart: “Finally, you can plan for the unplanned.”

  • Another lesson Rauner can learn. One week Rauner was profiling himself as pro-immigrant. The next he was accused about lying about his grandfather’s place of birth, and weakly responded to President Trump’s decision to end DACA.

Will Rauner listen to his new adviser? Maybe he could start by finally addressing the firing of his General Counsel.