Not Rocket Science … Nor for Faint of Heart

No time for hesitation. No tolerance for error.
Photo courtesy of

Crisis & Reputation Management is a high-stakes niche — and those who do it well are a special breed. Think of it as the brain surgery of public relations. Few need apply.

Like all specialties, it’s not a place for generalists.

It’s extremely intense and unforgiving. It permits no time for hesitation and no tolerance for error. Those who do it share common traits:

  • They handle stress well — and never lose focus or composure.
  • They’ve been around block often — and always remain in control.
  • They’re adrenaline junkies who revel in going eyeball-to-eyeball with the media — and don’t blink.
  • They’re former journalists from major news outlets — and know all the tricks journalists use because they used ’em, too.

In an earlier post, we discussed how the inner workings of Crisis & Reputation Management are a mystery to most clients. Not because the “secret sauce” is all that secret. Simply because it’s outside the realm of what they’ve experienced.

Crisis PR isn’t rocket science. It’s experience. Those who do it well have been doing it for years, usually decades, and from both ends of the phone. They make it seem effortless. The client never sees the internal turmoil.

Case in point: A nonprofit was under criminal investigation by a federal agency. A newspaper was sniffing around, and the client was terrified it may become public. We succeeded in sidetracking the story. Six months later, the issue arose in a different form and their lawyer recommended we be brought back. The response, “But they never broke a sweat, we paid them a lot of money, and there was no story. What did they achieve?”

[Epilogue: The second time, the client handled the issue itself and was pilloried on the front page of the newspaper — twice.]


“Because Reputation Is Your Most Valuable Asset”

Gillott Communications is a Los Angeles-based public relations firm that specializes in high-stakes Crisis & Reputation Management. If you don’t already subscribe, please sign up for our blog Insights on High-Stakes PR. You can reach Roger Gillott directly at 310-826-8696.



One thought on “Not Rocket Science … Nor for Faint of Heart

  1. Regarding the client you mention: Amazing. You’re brought in to neutralize a risk. You neutralize the risk. And the client doesn’t get it. Amazing. He ended up getting what he deserved. And he likely still doesn’t understand.

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