After the battle comes the Quiet.
~ HG Wells, The Time Machine
Wells, a child of Darwin’s evolutionary philosophy, was exploring society’s struggle to overcome Nature and scarcity. He was sure it would be achieved, eventually. The Quiet was a languor he feared may come when the battle ended and the keen skills honed by the fight for survival atrophied.
On a scale far less grand, Crisis & Reputation Management is a daily struggle, and it is timeless. The Quiet it seeks is to end the drumbeat of negative media attention. The sense of urgency is unrelenting for those involved. Immediacy trumps the sweep of history every time.
Clients grapple every day with unexpected and undesirable situations, from financial turmoil and sudden management change to lawsuits and labor matters. It’s unnerving, and they are desperate. They don’t know what to do. But they do realize the damage could be enormous — to their reputation, their business, their non-profit.
They want the problem resolved now. Retroactively would be even better, but that’s not terribly realistic.
To paraphrase a TV news clip about the aftermath of a crime that went viral and morphed into a song, “Call your lawyer. Call your Crisis PR and business partners, too. The media ain’t waiting. It’s ruining your rep right now!”
No time for comparison shopping. Those facing a torrent of negative media go with the Crisis PR guy recommended by their confidants.
Their first question is: “How fast can you get here?” The next follows close behind: “How fast can you fix it?”
Cost is rarely an issue. The client will ask. How can he not? But his answer is almost always perfunctory: “OK. Let’s get started.”
A few may quibble, but they’re the penny-wise and pound-foolish. The vast majority have a keener grasp on the value of their reputation. They’ve invested years building it, and they won’t let it be frittered away.
“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.