About CASE

Pam Russell
Director of Communications

Lori Woehrle
Director of Books Publishing


For Immediate Release
March 20, 2007

CASE Book Reveals How Colleges, Universities Can Weather the Storm, Protect Their Brand During Crises

Washington, D.C.—When Indiana University fired legendary basketball coach Bob Knight, the institution faced one of its toughest challenges: how to manage the explosive publicity and minimize any negative impact the firing might have on the university.

Christopher Simpson, author of the newly released “Weathering the Storm: Protecting Your Brand in the Worst of Times” by CASE Books, was Indiana University’s public relations chief at the time. He remembers working quickly to move the conversation from “Why did you fire Knight?” to “Who will replace Knight?” as a way to push the public’s attention away from the firing and toward the future of IU.

Simpson details the success of this strategy as well as other effective solutions to real-life crises in his book which provides step-by-step guidance on how institutions can build a solid crisis communications plan that will protect them and their brand during tough times.

In “Weathering the Storm,” Simpson includes first-hand accounts of the 1999 Texas A&M bonfire tragedy, the rise and fall of former University of South Carolina President James B. Holderman, and the 2002 athletic scandal and fallout at the University of Colorado system. He also walks the reader through lessons learned from other crises—from the terrorist attack on Sept. 11 to the Exxon Valdez and Martha Stewart debacles—detailing what worked and what didn’t.

“On any given day, you are ripe targets for a full-blown crisis,” Simpson writes in his new book. “And when crises happen, you scramble, play catch up, and too often, don’t get a seat at the senior staff table when lawyers blossom like kudzu and PR decisions are made well outside the court of public opinion.”

About the author
Christopher Simpson is CEO and partner of SimpsonScarborough, a marketing and crisis consulting firm. He is a nationally recognized leader in crisis communications, media relations and integrated marketing for higher education institutions and nonprofits. A former newspaper reporter, Simpson served as press secretary to U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond and has worked as the senior administrator for media and marketing at the University of South Carolina, the University of Oregon and Indiana University.

About CASE

CASE believes in advancing education to transform lives and society. As a global nonprofit membership association of educational institutions, CASE helps develop the communities of professional practice that build institutional resilience and success in challenging times. The communities include staff engaged in alumni relations, fundraising, marketing, student recruitment, stakeholder engagement, crisis communications and government relations. CASE is volunteer-led and uses the intellectual capital of senior practitioners to build capacity and capability across the world.

CASE has offices in Washington, D.C., London, Singapore and Mexico City. Member institutions include more than 3,700 colleges and universities, primary and secondary independent and international schools, and nonprofit organizations in 82 countries. CASE serves nearly 88,000 practitioners. For more information about CASE, please visit www.case.org.