This is the fourth episode of “Interviews with Lynn” a seven-part series from Culloton + Bauer Luce on the issues facing public affairs and crisis management practitioners and their clients.

Lynn Holley, senior consultant at CBL and a former financial news anchor, interviews founding partners Dennis Culloton and Natalie Bauer Luce. These communications strategists offer a behind the scenes glimpse of guiding clients through all manner of crises from global pandemics to boardroom scandals. They’ve helped clients navigate cultural changes and political turmoil with an eye toward rebuilding reputations and renewing purpose.


Lynn Holley: What is the biggest thing Culloton + Bauer Luce can do to make a difference for someone facing a crisis?

Dennis Culloton: Well I think it always helps to bring in an outside expert an outside professional. I think we’re really good at what we do but sometimes just the process of bringing in some of them can help.

What we do is bring you experience from doing nothing but issues and crises every day. We have tried and true techniques that we can bring to the table. But we also bring something that I think a lot of our competitors in the industry don’t do which is a strategic mindset.

It’s very tempting–and i’m not faulting others that do this–to just give a quick answer or statement or band-aid to make a client feel better as opposed to getting them better by doing the harder work of getting back into positive territory.

So I think we bring strategic thinking and a lot of experience knowing what works and what doesn’t.

Natalie anything?

Natalie Bauer Luce: To be frank there’s a bit of a template there.

There are go-to techniques and approaches that that we know how to weave those in and build this plan as Dennis is saying.

We bring a kind of clear-eyed view to how to solve the problems. You go to that toolbox and you’re able to build the plan–that’s really what gets you out of
bad territory.

But it’s as I said earlier it’s not just explaining things away. You can’t paper over your problem with with press releases. It’s something I like to say often: just issuing a statement to the media is not going to change the narrative.

That is in fact potentially doubling down as Dennis referenced earlier and reinforcing the problems that you’re experiencing. So you really need to assess what’s the way to regain control as opposed to just issuing a media release.