Que Sera, Sera

You can't unring a bell.  You can affect outcome.

You can’t unring a bell.
You can affect outcome.

Doris Day was wrong. A lot of people approach life that way, but it’s ultimately defeatist. They feel hopelessly trapped and surrender to fate.

Or you fight back. Do whatever you need to right a situation gone wrong. The more cleverly you rally your defenses and project a strong offense, the more likely you are to survive.

Look at the headlines any day. They are chock-full of examples. Fraud against consumers. Financial tinkering by business leaders. Personal indiscretions. Abuse of political office.

Step back and strip away your perception of right and wrong. That’s relative. It’s based on your personal beliefs about society, culture, gender, race, religion, nationalism and the role of history.

Consider the crimes and the sins. Some seem trivial. Some are serious but get a pass, especially when they involve celebrities the public would rather mock than punish. Others seem unforgivably egregious.

Then ask, Is the punishment being meted out inadequate, appropriate, or over the top?

Remember: Punishment comes from the legal system and from the court of public opinion. The latter is more driven by emotions, less predictable, harder to control — and potentially more damaging.

The goal of Crisis & Reputation Management isn’t undoing the faux pas. What was done, was done. Rather, the goal is shifting the spotlight.

Heartfelt apologies can help, but only if they’re sincere. Otherwise they ring hollow. They’ve been so overused they’ve lost much of their impact. Society treats them dismissively, and late-night talk show hosts use them to mock you. (How much mileage has David Letterman gotten out of Chris Christie?)

At the end of the day, you want to exert influence over your destiny.

So choose your battles and stay focused on what you realistically hope to achieve. You can’t unring a bell. But you can affect the consequences.


“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.”

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net


2 thoughts on “Que Sera, Sera

  1. Very good piece!!!!



    P.S. – Want to speak with you about paying for your services to get some article placements. I know that what I am requesting does not fall under crisis and reputation management, but would nevertheless like to discuss it with you. I am home with a viscious “bug” and a fever so, if and when you take a break, please feel free to call me on my cell phone (see below).

    Joel Fishman, Esq. Law Offices of Joel L. Fishman 4551 Glencoe Ave., Suite 300 Marina del Rey, CA 90292 phone (310) 821-3591 cell (310) 617-1014 fax (310) 775-8775 joel@joelfishmanlaw.com

  2. A very good article filled with great insight. You cannot change the past mistakes that have been made but you can affect the consequences of those mistakes if you take action. At the end, when it comes to brand management , it is not so much how the courts view you ( though of course a jury can have a big impact on your life) but how society in general perceives you. To save one’s brand or reputation during a crisis, the crisis has to be managed properly, which many times requires a good offense.

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