Beware Shiny Objects

Assess the situation before it devours you.

Assess the situation
before it devours you.

In the parlance of PR strategists, shiny objects are fleeting distractions. More often manufactured than real. They’re the causes célèbres of today that will be forgotten tomorrow — or at least in the near future.

The media is always attracted to the dust-up du jour. It’s the newest toy they have to play with. The louder they beat the drum, the more heat they generate with the public. It becomes self-fulfilling, and the story stretches on.

How do you avoid this?

You must be able to recognize the difference between the truly transitory (which can be deftly sidestepped or marginalized) and the seriously substantive (which must be dealt with swiftly and thoroughly before it devours you).

Never mistake the wishful thinking of what you hope will happen with the harsh realities of what’s likely to actually happen. Get it wrong at your own peril.

  • Did you get caught with your hand in the proverbial cookie jar à la Hillary Clinton and hope that pooh-poohing the issue would make it disappear? But it only dragged out, got worse, and caused unrelenting damage until you belatedly were forced to apologize in a desperate effort to put it behind you at last?
  • Did you decide to announce big management changes yourself because you thought it looked easy, only to raise more questions than you answered — and create more problems?
  • Did you get a single negative review and feel you could ignore it? Or did you get a dozen with a common thread and realize that it’s a trend and something’s amiss?
  • Did you go through a merger and hope you could avoid culture clashes and an employee exodus? Or did you lay the groundwork ahead of time to sell the employees on it?

To win, the right message is critical. It’s more than just the right words, or even the right tone. First, it’s deciding what’s actually achievable and what isn’t. Then, it’s finding the most plausible path to get you there.


“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.

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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