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.”
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