Saving your Reputation when Scandal Hits

Scandal is something that we all wish that we could avoid…

Every now and again, I get to read an article and feel motivated to comment. A far more random occurrence is when I read an article and feel that I am one of only a handful of people on the planet with the relevant experience, measured both by “years of” and “situational”. None could be more so than this – the subject of a potential crisis that when handled incorrectly, can destroy a brand, reputation, image and millions of dollars of marketing in what appears to be no more than a heartbeat.

My story is not for recounting here just now. My many clients know my story all too well; that is probably the reason they are with me and still with me years and years later. Nobody knows me and those who do, love the fact that nobody knows me!

We have been involved in online reputation management since 2005. We have worked behind the scenes for top PR companies, entertainment and sports celebrity agents, politicians across APAC and EMEA countries and a number of HNWs and high-profile companies.

I say that not to brag – nobody outside of our very small corporate inner sanctum every finds out who is on our Client List – I say it to hammer home the point that my experience has been on potentially costly situations, which has given me the experience and knowledge to minimize every disaster from the point of public perception.

Perception is Reality!

Here is an excerpt from a great article in The Guardian…

The emissions scandal has done so much damage to the Volkswagen brand that it could take the company years to recover.

Although small business owners are unlikely to find themselves facing a PR disaster on such a huge scale, they can end up in hot water. When they do, the way they handle the situation will determine the impact it has on their brand and reputation.

When a PR crisis unfolds there are pitfalls to avoid and steps that need to be taken, says Richard Merrin, managing director of PR consultancy Spreckley.

“It can be a time of confusion, anxiety and distraction, so focus on supporting the overall objectives behind the business; even when you’re facing a barrage of media and customer enquiries,” he says.

Poorly managed communications can damage a brand, and erode employee, stakeholder and customer engagement. But managing them well can lead to increased productivity and engagement.

The science, technical and medical (STM) publishing industry is big business, however the ease with which new publishers can enter the market has paved the way for a large number of rogue publishers eager to cash in on the “publish or perish” mantra.

You can read more at….

Our clients tend to meet with us after at least one wheel has fallen off. Everybody has a firm belief it will never happen to them. An exchange of banter in a locker room recorded on a cellphone, smartphone video footage showing an iPhone screen being nasally cleaned of Columbian marching powder, a footballer spotted “playing away from home” – these things happen and they happen  because someone makes it happen. That someone can be friend or foe, and you never know when it’s going to happen.

Our advice for which many pay us small fortunes to hear is to have firmly in place an agreed Crisis Management Policy & Procedure document in place and for it to be known by everyone involved in the company, the business, the entourage of hangers-on with a celebrity, everyone needs to know that in the event of the slightest wisp of smoke of adverse whisperings of bad publicity a.k.a. a potential crisis, refer immediately to the CMPP document.

And rule NUMBER ONE, which is the most important rule of all rules, is that nobody – but nobody – responds in any way shape or form to any verbal or written attack or smear, accusation or allegation put out on any platform or medium without the Crisis Management Team being advised of the situation, and best you make sure that the entire team is consulted and the action plan is agreed. It might be that the agreement and decision is to follow the document however that must NEVER be assumed.

Until that time, there must be a COMPLETE Company-wide shutdown. No twits making tweets, no psychos on social, no fools on facebook, no off-record conversations with paparazzi, no responses; shutdown means SHUTDOWN. Then I guess if you’ve still got doubts, give us a call!

We’ve got another eleven rules that we feed to our clients. They help shape your Crisis Management Policy & Procedure. Its called “Crisis – What Crisis?”


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