Case Studies in Crisis Communications
August 22nd, 2010
If recent corporate debacles are any indication, there’s no time like the present to be working the field of crisis communications.
Where did they go wrong? By making at least one of three fatal errors, according to the article:
In the view of many who are paid to extract corporations from terrible situations, Toyota, BP and Goldman exacerbated their woes by either declining to fess up promptly, casting blame elsewhere or striking adversarial postures with the public, the government and the news media.
While this may be true for most PR crises,Eric Dezenhall, a famed crisis comm expert, points out that sometimes a story is just too outrageous for the above rules to apply:
Mr. Dezenhall is particularly scornful of the classic imperative to “get out in front of the story,” as if swift disclosure provides inoculation against all ugly realities. When the facts are horrible, he argues, the best P.R. fix may simply be to absorb the pounding and get back to business, while eschewing the sort of foolish communications gimmicks that can make things worse … [In such cases,] “The goal is not to get people not to hate them. It’s to get people to hate them less.”
Great food for thought for any PR practitioner, not just those in toiling in the corporate world. Because as we know from news stories like this, or this, or even this one, no one is immune from problematic public relations.