Often the best role for a Crisis PR team is neither seen nor heard. The reason is simple: Make the client look good while you remain invisible.
That’s why Crisis PR work is conducted in the strictest confidence, why clients are willing to share their deepest secrets, and why crisis firms routinely don’t publicize clients’ names.
- Nonprofits dealing with the all-too-frequent problem, “Oops. Where’d the money go?” They want to make sure the story gets told right and in a way that doesn’t make them look bad. But hiring Fixers is the last thing a nonprofit with financial problems wants to admit spending money on. That’s why Board members sometimes prefer to foot the bill themselves.
- A senior-care provider embroiled in a land-use dispute with another organization. A Crisis PR team devised and guided the strategy, but the CEO summed it up neatly: “No upside for the other side to know you’re doing this. That’ll just make ’em suspicious.”
- A popular high-end retailer facing a threat that activists would disrupt the store and create negative publicity. Its sterling reputation was at risk. The owner brought in a team, but contractually forbade it from ever acknowledging it was there.
Of course, there are times a Crisis PR team needs to be out front:
- When the client’s reluctant to be the public face and voice. Never force a person who’s clearly uncomfortable to field questions from the media. Some remain uneasy even after being trained, and it’s best for someone who’s calm and collected to step up.
- When an issue is already public, and you need the media “handled.”
Otherwise, the shadows are a good place to be.
“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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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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