Sometimes it’s clear who words are aimed at, and why. Most people are rather straightforward. Others less so. Politicians, in particular, are masters of ambiguity, posturing and misdirection. The same is true for high-stakes Crisis & Reputation Management.
Often, the best way to reach an audience is roundabout. To make comments directly could seem preachy and pushy, and that’s undesirable. People don’t like to be lectured to, and even less to be told what to do. If your message is ostensibly aimed elsewhere — and your desired audience happens to hear it and agree, you’ve achieved the best of all worlds.
At the end of the day, it’s all about messaging. What story do you want to tell? What’s the emphasis? Who do you really want to convince? Is a frontal assault best? Might you achieve better results circuitously?
Companies, nonprofits and individuals face these questions every day for a multitude of reasons. Some may be under government investigation or embroiled in litigation. Others may wish to reassure anxious employees or be caught in compromising romantic situations.
Answers are seldom obvious to those involved. They are too close and saddled with emotion. This colors perception of the situation and the way out. The only choices seem bad or worse.
That’s when they reach outside for counsel. Fresh eyes are always good. Dispassionate ones even better. Step back and strip away the emotion, then solutions are clearer and simpler. But you must be certain — beforehand — how your audience will react to what you say and do.
This is the stock in trade of those who do Crisis & Reputation Management. But there also is an unrelenting and unforgiving caveat: No time for hesitation and no room for error.
“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.