How Under Armour Responded to Its Biggest PR Crisis

CMO Strategy Summit: Takeaways From Winter Olympics Speedskating Ordeal

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Under Armour in its 18 years has had to deal with crisis communications from time to time. But earlier this year, it faced its biggest communications crisis yet -- one that was global, far-reaching and required immediate action. After Under Armour bragged to reporters about the high-performance speedskating suits it had provided the U.S. team for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, the team started losing races. Were the suits the problem? Hints began to emerge. And then there came the the Wall Street Journal story headlined "Under Armour Suits May Be a Factor in U.S. Speedskating's Struggles."

Diane Pelkey, VP-global communications and entertainment at Under Armour, described the company's response to the crisis during an appearance at Ad Age's CMO Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday. That included responding quickly, frequently reiterating the company's mission statement, putting top executives in the media and making sure not to blame the athletes. Here she gives us more detail about the company's response and key takeaways that other companies can apply, should they find themselves facing a communications crisis of their own.

Correction: An earlier version of this article spelled Under Armour as Under Armor.

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