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News: Associations News

In the glare of negative publicity

30 January 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Katie Spackman
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Would you know what to do if you suddenly found your association in the glare of negative publicity? Or one of your members asked your advice about how to deal with something that had gone wrong?

Get it right and you can save your reputation. Get it wrong and it could even be the end of your organisation.

Maybe someone has sent out an inappropriate Tweet or got themselves in a tangle with the law. Whatever the crisis, dealing with it correctly - and quickly - is vital.

A few basic steps:

  • If the story is not out in the public domain - don't put it out there
  • If it is out in the public domain - you need to respond quickly
  • Be truthful - but remember: you are not under oath
  • Anything you do say can be used in evidence against you

So what do you say publicly?

First thing to remember is that what you say will be seen in the context of all the other 'noise' out there. That 'noise', or perception of what has gone on, may not be the truth as you see it. Others may be commenting and making the story into something you don't recognise. That is why it is so important for you to respond quickly. You want to get your version of events out there as soon as you can.

Now is not the time to argue the minute detail of what went on. Now is the time to be seen to be open and honest and be doing something about the situation.

And exactly what to say? Obviously it changes from scenario to scenario, but there is one simple rule. Take CARe. That stands for Concern, Action, Reassurance.

It's the same response as you would expect if you had a lousy meal in a restaurant. Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy the meal; we will give you your money back and would like to reassure you that this has never happened before and we will make sure it does not happen again. You don't want to know that the chef had gone home ill and the regular vegetable supplier failed to turn up.

Be seen to care, be in control and be sorting it. It's that simple.

This article was contributed by Kate Betts MCIPR, Director, Capital B Media

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