Crisis Communications

Defining Ditto's Crisis Practice

“When the crisis hotline rings, at Ditto we don’t see dollar signs like the big crisis shops; we see a person or a company in immediate need of our help. That means we have to listen to what the problem is, be smart about our plan and strategy, move quickly and bill fairly. No cookie cutter crisis plans, no unethical billing.”               – Blain Rethmeier, Managing Director

There’s a problem with crisis communications. Crisis firms charge massive retainers or “hourly crisis rates” with little to show for it. Clients get handed off to junior and mid-level “crisis professionals,” where a company or individual pays up to $100K a month for a “no comment” or results that simply don’t meet expectations. If work goes beyond not commenting, clients feel like the crisis team they hired is simply taking a cookie cutter approach to their very unique problem. It’s an expensive bait and switch with mediocre results, leaving the client’s reputation hanging in the wind.

Companies need a crisis communications firm that is battle tested, values-based, results-focused and a true partner through the process. They want the team on their account to be tenacious and relentlessness and will stop at nothing until the problem is solved. These aren’t qualities you manufacture but instead are built through the experience of having been in the trenches and war rooms actively managing a situation time and time again.

Ditto will leave you and your company in a better place long term. We care about our clients and their reputations. We’re not interested in taking your money without solving your problem. We fix problems and work to prevent them from happening in the future so you never have to to hire us again.

1

We help you prepare.

Organizations that are best equipped to overcome a crisis are the ones that are properly prepared and trained. We can help you build a playbook to ensure you are ready to react the moment a crisis occurs.

2

We help you respond.

We can analyze a situation, determine its severity, and provide strategic recommendations on what to do or say. We provide 24/7 support and serve as a your front line of defense.

3

We value confidentiality.

We understand that some matters are extremely sensitive and should be treated with the highest levels of trust and confidentiality. In order to preserve privilege, we are commonly retained by law firms and take privacy extremely seriously.

4

We are battle tested.

Our crisis team has extensive experience working at large agencies like Edelman, MWW, and Burson-Marsteller but believes there's a better model for the public and private companies in need of help.

Our Services

Ditto provides strategic communications advice and services to help clients manage overall positioning and specific events affecting their reputation, business, and market value. Below are the services we can provide.

From data breaches to product recalls to sensitive employee issues or litigation, our team can help you develop a plan and has experience guiding individuals and businesses of all sizes through traditional and non-traditional crises.

Special Situations & Crisis Communications – Ditto provides candid, pragmatic counsel to boards, senior executives, and high-profile individuals on a wide range of issues.

Our role includes strategy development and ongoing counsel, messaging and preparation, development and execution of social media strategies, media relations, investor relations, and on-site support when necessary.

Litigation Support – Ditto works closely with clients and their law firms to develop communications strategies surrounding a wide range of legal matters.

We’ve worked on a variety of issues including criminal charges, securities and shareholder litigation, regulatory and antitrust matters, mass torts and other product liability claims, contract disputes, and employee complaints.

Crisis Playbook – Crises are more common than ever. Regulatory fines, product recalls, security breaches, fake news reports, sexual harassment and viral social media attacks pose significant risks to corporate and brand reputation.

Ditto provides an entire suite of services to help your organization identify threats and put in place the appropriate protocols to effectively respond to an unfortunate event.

Threat Level Analysis & Crisis Simulations – Something can go wrong in an instant, and you need to prepare for the worst.  The first step in preparedness is to identify what can go wrong from any vector.  We identify your vulnerabilities as part of our process.

You’ll sleep a lot better if you’re confident that your crisis playbook plan works. The only way to have that confidence is to test the plan with a simulation.

Real-Time Social Media Monitoring – Ditto can track in real time what your customers and the media are saying about your brand giving you an informative snapshot at any given moment.

This provides clients insight into the magnitude of each issue to determine the proper course of action and evaluate the strength and direction of sentiment to measure the velocity of an event. We can then break down conversations to inform our messaging for an appropriate level response.

Media Training – Staying on message during a crisis takes tremendous discipline and the ability to ignore normal formats of acceptable conversation.

During a crisis, preparation for the media should be done exactly the same except you have no margin for error. Reporters get to ask the hard questions but you control the message and the answers you give. Ditto can make sure you’re ready. 

Our Team

Ditto has offices and a presence in New York, San Francisco, Washington D.C. and London. The members of our team have some of the most distinguished backgrounds in the industry – working on a number of high profile crisis over the last decade both with public and private companies, law firms and private individuals.

CEO

TREY DITTO

According to Trey, the PR Industry is broken, and he started Ditto as an anti-PR firm that puts clients first, results ahead of billable hours, only proposes work his team can succeed at and empowers his staff to be the best PR people in the industry.

Trey’s unique background as a reporter and a political communications operative put him in a position to be one of the top PR people in the industry.  He started his career as the sports editor of his college newspaper and went on to be a freelancer for the Associated Press. That quickly transitioned into a full-time job at the AP in Dallas, where at the age of 21 he was being published across the country.

Trey moved into political communications, working with the Governor of Texas and other statewide elected officials, as a Deputy Communications Director and Spanish Spokesperson (Yes, Trey is fluent in Spanish). Leaving Austin, Trey moved to Washington D.C. and became the Communications Director for a U.S. Congressman, who was the most televised Congressman during Trey’s stint. Trey went on to become the deputy press secretary for U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, handling local and national media and external relations on K-12 and higher education issues.

Moving to New York City in 2007, Trey quickly became trusted communications counsel to Fortune 100 companies, celebrities and film festivals, tech start-ups and entrepreneurs and companies looking to elevate their awareness Inside-the-Beltway. Clients included TIME 100, Nelson Mandela, Oliver Stone, Lionsgate Films, Roadside Attractions, Tribeca Film Festival, the documentaries I.O.U.S.A. and American Made Movie, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, Former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker, Bank of America, Deloitte, The Hartford, Microsoft, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and Natixis Global Asset Management – to name a few. From providing strategic communications counsel to implementing communications campaigns, Trey created a following of clients who appreciated the fact that he understood their communications needs and delivered the results he promised.

Simply put, Trey started Ditto based on what he didn’t like about PR, and has created a company where colleagues collaborate and work together and clients and results are put first.

When he’s not at the office, he’s at home in Brooklyn with his wife Natalia and their tiny, adorable dog, Loki. Or you may find him playing soccer (and trying not to get hurt) or traveling as much as possible before…the next stage of his family life soon happens.

Managing Director

BLAIN RETHMEIER

As a leading expert in corporate affairs and crisis communications, Mr. Rethmeier has spent over 17 years as a trusted advisor to many corporations and C-suite executives, private companies, coalitions and public officials with a talent in developing communication and marketing strategies to drive value and visibility while mitigating complex, high-risk situations during times of crises.

Blain has extensive experience in the White House, federal agencies and Capitol Hill, regulated industries and association management. Most recently, Blain was called upon to help lead the Senate confirmation process for General John Kelly who was sworn into office as Secretary of Homeland Security and now serves as chief of staff to the White House.

Before opening Ditto’s West Coast office, Blain was the Managing Director for Edelman’s Western Region crisis and risk practice and the firm’s lead for their Los Angeles corporate practice.  Blain has also served in senior communication roles for the American Insurance Association and the U.S. Travel Association.

Mr. Rethmeier earlier served as special assistant to President George W. Bush for communications and directed all aspects of public affairs for the National Economic Council and Homeland Security Council. He helped manage and execute the Supreme Court confirmation hearings while working for the Senate Judiciary Committee of Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito.

Blain resides in California with his wife and three children and enjoys mountain biking and beach time during his days off.

Managing Director

STEVEN MELFI

Before joining Team Ditto, Steven was an Account Director at Affect, a B2B communications agency that focused on technology and professional services clients. Prior to Affect, Steven was a Manager in the Corporate and Public Affairs & Crisis Practices at Burson-Marsteller, where he specialized in connecting B2B companies with relevant stakeholders through traditional and digital channels. He was a trusted advisor to clients, providing counsel on a range of issues including litigation, product recalls, thought leadership and executive positioning. He also worked for Robinson Lerer & Montgomery developing and executing crisis communications programs for clients in financial services, healthcare, and technology.

Steven provides clients with strategic insight and guidance for maintaining sound corporate profiles and managing reputational risk. Steven has a diverse communications skill set, having worked in crisis and corporate communications, investor relations, media relations and digital strategy.

Steven holds a double major Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Communications & Media Studies from Fordham University.

Vice President

JOHN PUSKAR

John’s experience spans Capitol Hill, political campaigns, his own consulting firm, and
Fortune 500 corporations. He is adept at navigating highly regulated industries and has
a unique understanding of the intersection of communications, public policy, and
business. He previously worked in public relations with companies such as Frontier
Communications, The Weather Channel, CoBank, Praxair, and DISH.

John has a degree in political science from the Catholic University of America in
Washington, D.C. He also earned an M.B.A. in Strategy and Entrepreneurship from the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler Business School, where he
currently serves on the alumni council. He lives in the greater New York City area with
his wife, their son, and two dogs – Briggs and Stratton.

Associate Vice President

CAROLINE PRUETT

Prior to joining the Ditto team, Caroline was a supervisor at The OutCast Agency, a communications and marketing agency in San Francisco, where she partnered with companies, ranging from early-stage tech start-ups to well-established consumer brands, to develop and implement PR campaigns.

Before that, Caroline got her start at Strauss Media Strategies in DC, a broadcast public relations firm, where she worked with a wide array of cause-related and government clients. She was also a lead booker for the remote radio and TV operation at the Democratic National Convention in 2012.

Caroline has a degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland. She lives in the Bay Area but considers herself bicoastal as the East Coast will always feel like home. She loves cooking (and eating), football Sundays (go Cowboys!) and animals.

Account Director

JAKE CIORCIARI

Prior to joining Ditto, Jake spent five years at MWWPR, serving as an Account Supervisor for the firm’s
Corporate and Crisis Communications practices. In this role, Jake executed successful media relations,
strategic communications and issues management campaigns for clients across a diverse range of
sectors including financial services, transportation, public policy, technology and professional services.
Some top highlights of Jake’s career include launching and sustaining year-round momentum for
Morgan Stanley’s Global Sports & Entertainment Division and supporting Yelp’s corporate reputation
program around the company’s small business advocacy. He also helped guide a top U.S. airline through
a crisis communications campaign and executed a major PR program around the 100th anniversary of
the Armenian Genocide.

Jake got his start in communications serving as a Communications Intern at the headquarters for
President Barack Obama’s re-election Campaign. He graduated with a B.A in Political Science from
Tulane University.

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