You’ve heard them all your life. Nostrums. Doesn’t matter that they’re often untrue. They’re easy-to-remember rules that make large chunks of life seem simpler. No thinking required.
Got sniffles? “Feed a cold. Starve a fever.” So what if it’s medically unsound? You do it anyway.
Hoping for some magic? “Wish on a falling star, and your dream will come true.” If only life were so easy. We’d all have won the Lottery.
Reputation in media’s crosshairs? “Keep your head down. It’ll blow over by itself.” Perhaps a good idea for soldiers to protect themselves in a war zone. Not so much when journalists are pounding on your door.
What are your options in a media feeding frenzy? Depends where the news is in its life-cycle.
If the story hasn’t yet taken on a life of its own, you have a narrow window to escape. Use it.
Like a company that abruptly ousted two top executives and didn’t explain why. That created a one-dimensional event (something dramatic happened) but no context (why it was beneficial). It also created a vacuum. The media was free to speculate, to the company’s detriment.
How was the damage repaired? A Crisis PR team quickly fed the media fresh meat. The story was refocused on creating a nimbler company and on more-profitable directions for the future.
Journalists prefer having a fresh angle to rehashing old news, and the initial stumble was soon forgotten.
What if an issue’s become self-perpetuating? If you’re running silent, you’re making it worse. The media presumes you’re hiding something — and often they’re right. This just makes them chase harder.
To sidetrack a story or slow it down, you must provide an explanation that’s full and plausible.
Weak responses don’t help. They add more fuel. (Think the NFL and domestic abuse. Or Brian Williams and his “conflated” memories.)
One thing is certain. The media won’t get bored and walk away. No more than pigs will fly.
“Because Reputation Is Your Most Valuable Asset”
Gillott Communications is a Strategic PR firm. We’re Fixers. Crisis & Reputation Management. Litigation. Media Relations. Crisis Prep. More than half a century of expertise working with clients to resolve issues both in and outside the media’s glare — in their professional and personal lives.
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