There are a lot of broad guidelines for Crisis & Reputation Management. Some of them actually work.
By far the most fundamental is, You need to control the situation — not let it control you.
Too often, the tendency is to hunker down and hope a matter blows over. Sometimes it may. Usually it doesn’t. In the meantime, your silence creates a vacuum — and journalists abhor a vacuum.
The lesson is simple. If you don’t tell your story, the other side will tell it for you — and you won’t like the way it turns out. You have yielded the field, and that only makes the storm worse.
The solution? Get out in front — and stay there. Define the tone of the story, to the extent that you can. Better to suffer one quick wound than the torture of a steady stream of revelations — day after day, week after week.
How successful you can be is a matter of scale. Obviously, it’s easier if you’re guilty of indiscretions, not a major crime. To put it another way, it’s easier to fess up to extramarital affairs than explain away Ponzi schemes.
But either way, don’t stick your head in the sand. That’s always a bad idea.
“Because Reputation Is Your Most Valuable Asset”
Gillott Communications is a Strategic PR firm. We’re Fixers. Crisis & Reputation Management. Litigation. Media Relations. Crisis Preparation & Training. You can reach Roger Gillott and Eden Gillott Bowe directly at 310-396-8696.
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For a deeper glimpse into our world, see our book on Amazon, “A Lawyer’s Guide to Crisis PR: Protecting Your Clients In & From the Media.”
Photo courtesy of Lindsay Niles