We all make snap judgments. It’s part of our survival instinct. Our brains need a way of processing information quickly, especially if we perceive a potential threat.
How well we control those perceptions — and how much they control us — says a lot.
The same is true whether the threat is physical or to your reputation. Both can be very real and very damaging.
Let’s play a game. Actually, it’s Ellen DeGeneres’ mobile game Heads Up!, and it’s become quite popular among families and friends waiting in the interminable lines at Disneyland. Makes time pass faster.
The goal is simple: You’ve given clues and must guess who or what they refer to. The game has several decks, but the two most interesting are Icons, Legends & Stars and Branded. Both have celebrity status — the former is people and the latter are products or services.
You’re in a time crunch, so things move very quickly.
“Comedian….Dr. Huxtable…Jello…Pudding Pops…Loves to wear sweaters…Grammy and Emmy winner…..Author!”
A year ago, you were probably giving those clues for Bill Cosby.
Today, the clues would be very different. An entire career of achievements and goodwill has been overshadowed by scandals. Will his reputation ever recover? Unlikely, even if he escapes criminal conviction.
How about Volkswagen? Or Chipotle. Or Firestone. Or BP. Or Trump. Or Exxon.
Do our immediate responses reflect how we really feel? Or do they merely reflect the momentary attention the situations are getting in the media?
Think about the effect time will have. How differently will your brain process clues shortly after a public scandal? How about a couple years out?
For people, memories fade. But the Internet never forgets, and the unflattering allegations are always only a few keystrokes away on Google.
“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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