The recent string of high-profile public relations disasters is impressive. Consider these, to name a few:
- The Tiger Woods sex scandal
- The Toyota safety debacle
- Kevin Smith vs. Southwest Airlines
- NBC’s talk show wars
All of these situations have one thing in common: the brands — be they companies or, in the case of Tiger Woods, a hybrid (personal brand + corporate entity) — failed to get in front of their PR train wrecks and effectively manage the resulting fallout. A late response can get a brand back on track, but damage control becomes an uphill battle.
These entities and their advisers would do well to watch this video from Tom Peters. Peters, co-author of the classic In Search of Excellence and a string of other excellent books, argues that the reaction to the problem often becomes more of a problem than the foul up would have been if dealt with honestly.
Tom’s mantra: Come clean and come clean fast!
The problem is never the problem. The response to the problem invariably becomes the problem. Make those responses positive, quick, and overwhelming.