navigating a national crisis
On Nov. 30, 2021, just before 1 p.m., authorities received the first 911 call reporting an active shooter at Michigan’s Oxford High School. Eleven people had been shot, and three students were reported dead that day. As word of the tragedy quickly spread, the eyes of the nation turned to the small suburban town in Oakland County, Michigan, located 40 miles outside of Detroit.
In the hours following the incident, Identity was retained to manage and coordinate the media and crisis response to the tragedy. Identity immediately mobilized an expert integrated team of media and social media strategists who would spend the next eight days providing counsel and coordinating responses to local, national, and global requests from journalists and newsrooms.
Four objectives emerged as Identity drew on decades of crisis communications experience: to provide high-quality counsel and media training, navigating national, inbound media requests; to shape positioning on the tragedy, crafting statements and messaging as events unfolded aligned with factual moments in time; to interface with press contacts, engaging with professionalism and sensitivity; to monitor and analyze the national conversation, using insights to advise on how and when to contribute.
Success meant serving as a resource to the greater community during a time of fear, grief and great uncertainty. This crisis moment was unlike any other in history for those involved, and the messages communicated in the days that followed the incident may forever change how the general public views school shootings.
strategy for success
Identity deployed the following strategies and tactics to navigate this national crisis near home:
Within hours of the incident on Nov. 30, Identity stepped in and began interfacing with the press and crafted an initial statement for distribution to national and local media contacts. Identity managed all inbound media requests and assisted with the planning and execution of two press conferences, including maximizing space, creating a security plan, and preparing for comments. Additionally, our team moved to identify journalists who would be key players in the news cycle, allowing for quick, effective decision making regarding how and when to engage with journalists and ensuring local perspectives were prioritized alongside high-profile national voices like CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon. Identity managed more than 75 one-on-one media interviews within the week, including 40 interviews with national contacts and outlets, which fed the tens of thousands of media mentions.
social media & media monitoring
Identity rapidly activated media monitoring and social listening tools, collecting tens of thousands of mentions throughout the week and analyzing coverage to provide thoughtful counsel.
The six reports delivered between Nov. 30 and Dec. 4 summarized all press coverage and digital discussions, which shaped how announcements were planned. By monitoring the national conversation, Identity provided thoughtful, relevant insight into how key political figures—and the general public—were responding to the crisis. These reports also enabled Identity to provide necessary guidance for messaging themes, talking points and other preparatory documents, to support the prosecutor’s office during this tragic time.