Breaking up is hard to do. So do it right.
What’s your goal? That nobody notice? That you catch and keep the other side off balance so they can’t recover publicly?
It’s different with every client. Consider these:
Scenario 1: A company with two feuding partners and a high profile. They wanted to avoid a messy showdown that would diminish the value of their investment.
The problem: The senior partner, who’d been the face of the company for two decades, was being forced out of his executive positions.
The solution: Make it look like something less — a smooth, well-ordered transition to a role as elder statesman and advisor. Shift the spotlight by sprinkling insights by the exiting partner about the future of the industry.
The media’s reaction: Big yawn. Exactly as hoped. Most ignored the story. A couple carried perfunctory items. None picked up on the back story of internal tension.
Scenario 2: A disaffected senior partner at a prominent law firm. He wanted blood.
The problem: His feud with the firm’s managing partner finally ruptured completely — and was going to become public.
The solution: It became a foot race to control the story. Would it be our client’s version that the firm was dysfunctional and he was escaping? Or was the firm going to portray him as an error-prone malcontent?
The media’s reaction: We knew the reporter who’d be most interested and called him just before deadline with an irresistible offer: We’d give him an exclusive based on “a source close to the situation” if he promised prominent coverage in the next day’s paper. He checked with his editor. We fed him what he needed, and he got the byline he wanted.
Next morning, the law firm — which wasn’t available when the reporter had sought comment — was flummoxed. They called the newspaper to complain that the story was inaccurate. The reporter called us to check. We assured him that our version was true and that his story was solid. And that was the end of it.
The lesson? Understand the rhythms of the media, and you’re more likely to win.
“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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