Legal Roadblocks During a CRISIS

Convincing a CEO to acknowledge a problem, express empathy, or apologize can be made difficult by general counsel, whose primary concern is to protect the company from excessive liability.

In an article I wrote for the IABC, I offer five ways to get past this roadblock.

Here are three of the strategies I shared in the piece;

  1.  Ask important players in the room how they want the company to be perceived by customers, employees and other stakeholders while dealing with the current crisis.
  2. Respectfully ask the lawyer the tough questions that need answers, such as, “Is the product in question harmful?”
  3. Upon completing the answers, ask the lawyer if, in her opinion, the answers reflect how the company wants to be perceived. If the lawyer believes the answers are fine but you don’t, ask the group its opinion.

 You will need to be an IABC member to access the entire PDF article.

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Village Idiot

 The Philadelphia branch of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) invited me to speak recently. I shared a few journalistic secrets like the following;

Reporters look for ways to tell a story in the easiest way possible.

The easiest way to tell a story is to cast characters.

The first character you need in a controversial story is the victim. You also need a villain, and then, a hero. Lastly, you need a village idiot, which is the person who is made the scapegoat and is quite often the unsuspecting company spokesperson.

If you’d like to see how all these character were cast by journalists during the BP Gulf disaster story, listen to the podcast of my PRSA talk.

It’s not a stretch to figure out who became the village idiot of the BP scandal.

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The latest issue of Listed Magazine features a good article on how important it is to communicate well with the media.

Listed is written exclusively for senior executives and board members of listed companies.

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