HG Wells wrote about it. So did Isaac Asimov. It was a recurring theme for Rod Serling on The Twilight Zone. Earthlings encounter aliens or experience different realities.
Some stories are straightforward. You know from the outset who is who, but want to see how it plays out. In others, you think you know, but really don’t until the final twist is revealed.
The latter takes the most skill. You weave words and images to create an illusion. Readers and listeners fill in the blanks with what’s familiar or seems reasonable.
Crisis PR is storytelling, too. But it can’t be fiction. It’s constrained by reality. Wiggle room is limited, so make the most of it. What really happened? Which facts to use? Whose version? What’s believable, and what’s not? How to present it most effectively?
You won’t convince everyone. Not politicians and those with deep-seated beliefs. Or those on opposite sides of a legal dispute. All are certain they’re right and the other side is wrong. There will be no conciliation because passions are too hot.
But sometimes there’s no bright line separating what’s accurate from what’s false. Just different perceptions, and those are often squishy.
Consider a handful of people who witness an event and offer twice as many versions of what they think they saw? Or millions who didn’t witness it at all, but read another person’s description — whether by mainstream journalist or independent blogger — and base their conclusions on that?
Their beliefs are more fluid. They’re the ones you need to convince. The media is your conduit to reach them, and you want your story to be the most compelling.
That raises another set of questions. Which media matter most? Which journalists are seeking facts, and which have an axe to grind? Can you influence their tone? How?
Ultimately, you have one goal: Create a reality favorable to your client.
“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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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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