That’s always the best response when your business or reputation are being threatened. The opposite — better late than never — is always undesirable.
A fundamental maxim of Crisis & Reputation Management is, The best time to do damage control is before damage happens. The same is true for many professions.
Most people nod knowingly when they hear it. But few follow through. Which is regrettable for clients. Waiting until a matter bursts into the public domain before seeking help is always bad. You suffer greater injury to your reputation — and fixing a problem at that stage is more intense and expensive than avoiding one.
This is a recurring theme, because it is so elemental and so essential.
Two recent examples. Both involving senior management change and both wrong for different reasons.
In one, a company opted to handle the situation itself and created a firestorm in the local media. Its announcement raised more questions than it answered. That’s when we were called in, and we succeeded in shifting the spotlight to positive stories about the client’s vision for the future.
In the other, we were brought in beforehand. So far, so good. The goal, the client explained, was to announce the change in such a way that no one would notice or become suspicious. Which made us suspicious. (This is part of the DNA that comes from being a former journalist; it never goes away, and that’s a good thing.) The back-story? The co-owners had years of nasty litigation against each other. This was the reason, but they didn’t want it known. Did we make it all good? Yep. Would it have been easier and less expensive had they told us upfront? Yep, again.
“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.