Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Kick 'em 

It's part of human psychology and media sport to kick individuals while they are down. One bad story generates another. An individual or company becomes a scarecrow for the public that is easy to assault. There is little a PR person can do to stop it, and the best hope is to prevent it in the first place.

I've had clients in this position who are good people. They made dumb mistakes in communications, and reporters found it easy to get even on behalf of disgruntled shareholders. It's tough to watch and the natural tendency of a client is to hide once it happens. But that is the wrong thing to go. One takes the flogging and moves forward -- more easily said than done. Perhaps the hardest task of all is to examine what went wrong and to fix problems so they don't happen again. Sometimes that requires a CEO to change how the CEO operates, a tough task when the public is jeering. Pardon the CEO, if the CEO asks, "Why me?" About all one can say is that it happened, and it needs to be fixed. This is perhaps the toughest conversation one can have with a leader of a company.


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