By: Oscar Rossignoli Editor When a company is a victim of a smear campaign and is attacked in the media, in most cases, their officials are not prepared to face this situation. The underestimation of potential risks and not having formed and trained a Crisis Committee is one of the main causes that lead to company officials to question the time to react to the media. Raises questions such as: – Is it appropriate to react? – What if rather complicate matters further by making statements? – What should we say without getting into more trouble? – Who is the best person to go out into the public arena? – What if reacting brings legal problems? – How journalists spoke not misrepresent our version? – Do we pay journalists to speak well of us? These and many other questions arise when either a Monday, buy the newspapers and we are surprised by a holder of five columns and on the front page with the name of our companies accused of a situation, we know, is a distorted information and will damage your corporate image. The worst mistake that company officials in a crisis can make is to keep quiet and let time go. It is urgent and crisis management as the actions must be taken immediately. Why? If we do not act in time negative adjectives begin to position themselves in the minds of our audiences and, unwittingly, our corporate image begins to be destroyed. When finally decided to react hired a crisis management expert and then the investment of resources (time, money and position) is much higher than we would have done if we grow the scandal. Rebuilding is three times more expensive to build, never forget this.
To this we add that, paradoxically, also silence communicates something. Some executives think that is clever answer with a resounding “no comment.” What to do then? Here are some suggestions: 1. Immediately formed a Crisis Committee, which could be integrated in principle by the general manager, the public relations, human resources manager, legal counsel of the company, the security chief and the chief financial officer. They take the big decisions. 2. Hire a crisis management expert with extensive experience and strategic vision. 3. Make a thorough analysis of the situation getting any information that is circulating in the media.
4. Login and be subjected to media training to a spokesman who will not necessarily be much less public-relations general manager. Consideration should be given to the person who is qualified to handle the subject well, be disciplined and you can keep calm in the face of harassment which might be subjected by the press. 5. The crisis management expert, after analyzing time-record-information and identify the position in public opinion, must design a strategy contingency communications to cope with the crisis. In a first meeting with the press it is best to tell reporters why, exactly, it is not possible to give a full version or official. Here are some suggestions for reasons that include: – Because the negotiations have reached a delicate point – decisions being taken and when we are ready to convene a press conference – Because you have not yet received the full report – Because concerned have not been informed yet, etc. But we never keep quiet! I had a boss who told me: “harmful and dangerous monsters are killed when they are little, we must not let them grow an inch.”