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PR Crisis Response is Much More Than Trusting Yourself, But It Begins There

By Seth Arenstein for PRNEWS

Editor’s Note: One of the memorable lines in the new “Top Gun: Maverick” film is a variation on Nike’s “Just Do It.” In the film, pilots are reminded their training is excellent, rely on it, trust yourself. “Don’t think, just do,” Tom Cruise’s character tells pilots as a confidence boost.

Similarly, Bridget Paverd, founding partner, GillespieHall (GH), now a consultant at Slice, which acquired GH Jan. 4, sees part of the crisis consultant’s role as imparting confidence, through training and planning. As a result, executives can, as she says, “go out there” and establish a narrative promptly.

Other takeaways from this lightly edited interview:

  • As soon as you issue a statement is when recovery begins
  • Some executives feel vulnerable and unsupported during a crisis, which can delay a response
  • A response message should include empathy, compassion, vulnerability and values, among other things

PRN:  A scenario. I’m a communicator without much crisis training and we meet at a cocktail party. What crisis tips do you want me to walk away with from that conversation? 

Paverd: Rapid response, immediately own the narrative, be truthful and empathetic, because we’ve seen so many manufactured, contrived apologies. Nobody pays any attention to [that kind of] apology anymore.

But when companies and organizations are empathetic, show vulnerability, fear and shock…audiences and stakeholders are much quicker to forgive.

And the moment your spokesperson makes his first statement in response to the crisis is the moment recovery starts. That is a golden moment.

What happens too often is that principals or spokespeople tend to retreat because they almost can’t believe this is happening and abdicate responsibility [for the narrative]. So, that’s a missed opportunity.

For the rest, click here.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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