Doesn’t anticipatory crisis management make more sense than trying to make things right?
Everyone is familiar with “A stitch in time saves nine.” We check that a ladder is stable against the side of our house before we climb up to the eaves with a paint bucket. When we give our teenager the car keys, we add some caution about safe driving.
But in marketing and in the guidance of many companies, we hope for the best and we wait for things to develop.
Leo Burnett, the advertising industry luminary, famously said that the assets of the company ride down the elevator each evening.
Then the elevator opens. The popular sports hero whose dream family life disintegrates begins to imperil the brand that is contributing to his wealth. The executive responsible for the image and the financial health of a large enterprise turns out so flawed that he can not remain.
For some, the events are bonanzas, a reason that the public relations service labeled “crisis management” is a staple offering, even at Lake Effect Communications, LLC.
But for the brands and for the companies, they are events often associated with a quick and long-lasting loss of value.
When the transgressions of HP CEO Mark Hurd led to his weekend dismissal, the value of the Fortune 500 company immediately dropped by more than eight percent. More than eight percent, and kept going! When the transgressions of Tiger Woods became known, the image and personality impressed at such cost on Accenture, Gatorade and other brands began to harm them. And how common is the revelation that a manager with authority over millions of dollars of company value misused that trust — as a trader, as a division head, as a banker, as a financial steward, as the emblem of the enterprise?
People are people. Even those with remarkable talents remain vulnerable to great lapses, falls so serious and costly that they can not be offset with something called “crisis communications.”
When the crisis occurs and public reaction begins to roil what had been hugely profitable and valuable, the curious – as well as the victims and the angry litigants who come forward – frequently find evidence that the crisis was not an event. Instead, it was a sudden, public manifestation of something that had a visible trail, if only people knew where and how to look.
Reputecture seeks out the trail and gives its clients the information and assistance that forestall a crisis. Instead of managing a crisis, why have one at all?