We’re all trying to make our cases to achieve our goals. Doesn’t matter whether we’re lawyers arguing in court, businessmen selling a new widget or service, politicians pounding away at our agendas, or Crisis PR people softening the impact of negative situations.
Most of those examples are straightforward. Crisis & Reputation Management is the exception. It’s mysterious because it’s outside normal experience. Tell someone what you do, and a frequent question is, “But how do you …?”
Fill in the ellipsis with the question of your choice: How do you stop the media from printing a story? How do you shift the spotlight? How do you turn a negative into a positive? How do you know what’s true?
Let’s look at the latter, because it’s fundamental. Everything else depends upon it.
Keep in mind that Crisis PR people are fixers. They have a different mind-set than the vast majority of PR people, who do marketing and whose goal is to sell things.
Those who do Crisis & Reputation Management come at problems differently. Their first question to a client is, “What are the real facts?” Nothing must be held back.
This can make clients skittish. They need to know what they say will be kept in confidence. That’s why Crisis PR people aren’t hired by the ultimate client. They’re engaged by outside legal counsel and become part of the lawyer’s team. That brings them inside the tent of attorney-client privilege.
With that uncertainty lifted, clients are more comfortable and more willing to reveal. That’s vital, because only then can you build an effective PR defense.
Honesty is good for the soul — as long as it’s confidential.
“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.