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.
Toyota… Southwest… Tiger… NBC… Are you listening?