Interview with Jasen Woehrle – The Firm Public Relations & Marketing

Jasen WoehrleWe are very excited to continue our public relations and crisis communications expert interview series with Jasen Woehrle, Senior VP, The Firm Public Relations & Marketing.

With a drive to win and the ability to see the big picture and beyond, Jasen is an invaluable member of The Firm Public Relations & Marketing since joining the organization in 2006. Leading the agency staff, Jasen’s professional experience includes launching new products and businesses, organizing and facilitating community events, and developing results-driven public relations campaigns. The Firm’s clients benefit from his marketing skills and creativity in developing unique story ideas and partnerships.

He has managed numerous clients and campaigns through his 25+ years of marketing and public relations experience with some of the most recent including Boyd Gaming, Three Square Food Bank, Nevada Public Radio, and Comprehensive Cancer Centers.

Prior to rising to Senior Vice President at The Firm, he thrived in leadership positions with many well-respected and nationally renowned artistic institutions, including the Tony Award-winning Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the critically acclaimed Stages St. Louis, the historic Goldenrod Showboat and The St. Louis Conservatory and Schools for the Arts.

Jasen previously served on the board for the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada (The Center).

What is reputation management? How does it relate to public relations?

Reputation management related to public relations boils down to this: Without a positive, solid reputation with your existing and potential/future customers, you have no business.

What are the biggest PR mistakes you see companies make online? How could these mistakes have been avoided?

We’ve all seen the mistakes made by companies in the midst of the current Black Lives Matter movement. Some organizations were called out for not actually being diverse whatsoever on #blackouttuesday and only participating in a social media trend.

Companies can avoid these public-facing missteps by having an actual social/online strategy in place. These strategies need to be as well thought out as a business’ core plans themselves. Jumping in on trends or popular hashtags could backfire if your company doesn’t walk the walk.

How does social media factor into your reputation management strategy?

Some companies think they need to be on every social media platform to reach the widest audience possible. I suppose that depends on your brand/product. However, businesses should pay attention to analytics – if you are pouring a lot of time (and budget) into a platform that isn’t helping boost your brand, go with the social media channels that are.

What is the first thing a company should do when there is a crisis online?

Managing an online crisis depends on what exactly you’re handling. A quick assessment of the situation to understand the immediate severity of the crisis is key. Is anyone in harm’s way? Do you need to get authorities involved? Is the crisis related to a rumor or an actual event? Once you manage the immediate situation, actual reputation management could be needed if perception about your business has been tarnished.

How can companies better prepare a PR crisis?

One cannot prepare for every possible PR crisis scenario, however a general outline will help guide businesses through the initial crisis situation – especially in areas where it may be more likely to encounter a problem. Know who needs to be contacted internally and externally, who has been designated as the spokesperson, if the crisis will require legal advice, who is drafting a media statement if applicable, who is managing social media communications, etc. You may not utilize everything in the outline, but it will be valuable to have a starting point.

Is reputation management getting easier or harder? Why?

It’s not so much that reputation management is easier or more difficult now, however there is certainly more to manage, oversee and be aware of because of the continued expansion of how we communicate. It’s not only how businesses are using these diverse tools, but maybe more importantly how the public is using these tools to make decisions.

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