A crisis is a terrible thing to waste. Ebola is the just latest.
Watch the politicians. Both parties are guilty of making missteps, of pointing fingers (rather than seeking solutions), and of doing too little (to calm the public) or too much (to feed hysteria).
The political commentariat dismissed this trend as understandable because of midterm elections. One even went so far as to suggest they would be guilty of “political malpractice” if they didn’t seek to turn it to their advantage.
But that misses the point. There are no “election seasons” — and haven’t been for a long time. The sniping is unrelenting, and there is no respite from politicking.
Then there are the conspiracy theories. That ebola is a bioweapon designed to depopulate undesirable portions of the planet. Or a sinister plot by Big Pharma to make zillions by rushing to the rescue with a cure. (Lending some credence to the latter was a report in the New York Times that Canadian and U.S. researchers discovered an effective vaccine nearly a decade ago, but it was shelved by the pharmaceutical industry because the potential market was limited.)
How grave is the threat? Less than the Black Plague that wiped out half the population of Europe and 20% of the world in the 14th century. But more than the flu.
There’s an enormous gap between what might realistically happen and what people fear may happen. It’s a matter of coping with the unknown. What you don’t know, you fear most.
Fear is the most powerful of all emotions, and those who are most skilled at Crisis & Reputation Management confront it every day. It is a force that must either be tamed (if it’s in opposition) or channeled (if it’s to your client’s benefit).
Achieve that, and you win. Fail, and you lose.
“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 and Eden Gillott Bowe directly at 310-396-8696.
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