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Hennes Paynter Takes Home "Best of Show" for Crisis Communications Work

UPublish story by Bruce Hennes

2013 PRSA Cleveland Rocks Award 2
Hennes Paynter Team Receives "Best of Show" Award from PRSA (left to right: Barbara Paynter, Scott Juba, Bruce Hennes, Nora Jacobs, Howard Fencl)

CLEVELAND, December 20, 2013 -- Hennes Paynter Communications received the coveted “Best of Show” award at the Greater Cleveland Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America’s annual Cleveland Rocks Awards ceremony for its work on behalf of a ferry boat operator. The same campaign was awarded a Gold “Rocks” award in the crisis communications category. The “Best of Show” distinction is awarded to the entry that receives the highest score among all the entries from a panel of judges. This year’s competition included more than 130 entries across 31 award categories.

The entry, titled “Doing the Right Thing: How a Company’s Forthright Crisis Response Preserved its Reputation and Maintained Customer Confidence,” recounted the crisis management and crisis communications strategy the company adopted in January 2013 when a passenger ferry boat owned and operated by a client crashed into a dock in lower Manhattan’s Financial District. Hennes Paynter quickly developed a multi-faceted communication plan designed to assure all of the company’s customers that the company was responding quickly, empathetically and appropriately, while working in concert with the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate the matter.

“The crash produced worldwide headlines. Hennes Paynter helped us tell our story fast by being proactive and transparent, allowing us to talk directly to our thousands of customers while, at the same time, satisfying media inquiries and not running afoul of the National Transportation Safety Board,” said the company’s general counsel. “Hennes Paynter helped us navigate a critical situation, preserve our reputation and maintain customer confidence.”

“This was one of those drop everything situations for us and our client,” said Bruce Hennes, managing partner with Hennes Paynter. “Our client understood from the start how important it is to be forthright and truthful. They are a terrific client, willing to do the right thing from start to finish.”

In 2009, Hennes Paynter won the “Best of Show” award from the Cleveland Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America for its work with another agency on the national peanut butter recall. Hennes Paynter won gold “Rocks” awards in 2010 and 2011 for work on behalf of The MetroHealth System and Saint Joseph Academy. And in 2012, the firm won a gold “Rocks” award for its Crisis Comm & Media Relations E-Newsletter.

About Hennes Paynter Communications

Hennes Paynter Communications, based in Cleveland, is one of the few firms in the U.S. exclusively focused on crisis communications. Serving corporations, government agencies and nonprofits that are “on trial” in the Court of Public Opinion, Hennes Paynter Communications also offers media training, litigation communication support and crisis communication plans and drills to clients. For more information, go to

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