Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tactics to Employ When Tackling a Looming Scandal

So one of your favorite and most important clients arranges a meeting to tell you there is an inevitable scandal about to hit at any moment and you need to shield them from the future litigation and PR fall out. Of course, since this is bad news and there is probably some culpability on the part of your client they have waited to the last minute to tell this to you. The issue is also so newsworthy the media will be calling for comment at any moment. What do you do first? Today we will begin the first of a two part primer on containing a client's crisis as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  1. Shut down extraneous communication. Instruct the person answering the client's phone to tell all media calling that the client is in a meeting but please give me your name and number and deadline.
  2. Perform a vulnerability audit. What is the worst case scenerio here? What (and I mean everything) could come out that will damage the reputation of the client and their business? Remember it is always more prudent to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
  3. Develop messaging points with the litigation strategy and the client's business strategy in mind. Make sure the client approves all messaging points.
If you take care of these three tasks right away, you have already begun the process of a solid, sustainable and consistent foundation to build all your media communications on. Tomorrow- how to control the message and guide the coverage that will most benefit your client.

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