Goose, Gander & Ox

Best time for damage control? Remember early bird and worm.

Best time for damage control?
Remember early bird and worm.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. But it depends on whose ox is being gored. Contradictory concepts, yet we use them every day. Just select the one that’s most fitting at the moment.

Is outrageous behavior by celebrities acceptable, if the same would land you in jail? Are sexual indiscretions by politicians abhorrent when the other party commits them, but excusable when your party does? Is the NSA’s data collection keeping you safe or intruding on your personal space? Are rising temperatures in one period incontrovertible evidence of a coming cataclysm, but stable or falling temperatures in a subsequent period just a statistical blip? Is military action OK if you feel threatened and do it, but evil when an enemy does?

The winner is whoever defines the debate — the words used to describe, the images conjured, the emotions invoked.

We see the results every time we open a newspaper, turn on the TV news, or read a story online. The person controlling the strings is usually unseen. He works behind the scenes to shape what you see and hear.

The public starts with a bias against business. Distrust and suspicion are the default. Non-profits are usually given the benefit of the doubt. But they’re held to a higher standard, so it’s even easier to trip up.

Clients find themselves in undesirable situations every day. They land in litigation. Government investigators come knocking at the door. Funds are embezzled or mismanaged. Harassment or abuse occur. Labor issues get nasty.

When is the best time for your client to begin erecting defenses? As soon as he becomes aware of a potential problem and before it becomes public.

The worst time is after your client’s already in a negative spotlight. At that point, he’s on defense and his options are limited.

What is it they say about the early bird and the worm? There’s a reason why that’s a truism.


“Because Reputation Is Your Most Valuable Asset”

Gillott Communications is a Strategic PR firm. We’re Fixers. Crisis & Reputation Management. Litigation. Media Relations. Crisis Preparation & Training. You can reach Roger Gillott directly at 310-826-8696.

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For a deeper glimpse into our world, see our book on Amazon, “A Lawyer’s Guide to Crisis PR: Protecting Your Clients In & From the Media.”

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