Monday, January 28th, 2013
Manti Te’o… Lance Armstrong says thanks?
Robert Blake had 9/11.
Tiger Woods had the BP Oil Explosion.
Every now and then there might just be a massive news story that is sexier and juicier than your scandal, to knock you out of the headlines. The two above are just a small sampling of the major news stories that have wiped others from the primary spotlight. The latest is Lance Armstrong being obliterated from the headlines thanks to the salacious and continuously unfolding storyline of Manti Te’o’s fictitious girlfriend and the question of just who perpetrated the hoax and on whom.
For about five days, the world watched and waited for Lance Armstrong to sit down with Oprah Winfrey and confess that he actually used performance enhancing drugs. Then the two night event came, and brought the highest ratings ever to OWN network. We watched and saw one emotional moment, talking about his kids and how he had to break the news to them. We heard statements everyone expected to hear: “everyone does it.” “We were expected to do it.” He acknowledged bullying others and even suing those who dared to “out” him. There was plenty for everyone to talk about at the water cooler for a few days: sincerity, forgiveness, testing rules, the state of cycling, etc. In fact, PR analysts everywhere debated whether he did more harm than good in doing the interview, and whether redemption would be around the corner with lighter punishment from the US Anti-Doping Agency (a client of ours). We’ll talk more about this later in the week.
For now, the reality is, the world only had the two days of the interviews to talk about them. Then, we were all thrust into the dramatic and unbelievable story of Manti Te’o, the former Heisman candidate who was exposed for lying about a fictitious girlfriend for over a year. For the next two weeks we learned new details, new angles, and spicy new twists to this incredible story. The Katie Couric landed the “get” of the year, with the first interview with the football player. Lance Who?
Not every crisis results in a bigger scandal taking over the headlines, so should you find your company, in the middle of harsh criticism, the 24-hour news cycle of dissecting your story from every angle or just one interview with a lot of tough questions, there are some basic rules of crisis to remember.
Keep your focus on the three Ps: people, places, profit.
- Focus your message on the people affected by your decision, business, practice, or action first.
- Address how the places, environment, building, or spaces are affected.
- The very last…and I do mean distant last…point you should talk about is the financial impact.
True, those working in publicly traded companies are sometimes torn between the public and their stockholders. The key point to remember is that in the end the stockholders will benefit in the long term when you take care of the “people and places” in the short term.
By the way, there’s still time to register for the last two speech anxiety webinars this Friday. These can certainly help you, should you be facing a reporter soon.
Register for the Speech Anxiety Webinar February 1st at 10:00 a.m. or Noon EST
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