At CommCore we try to avoid stepping into the political fray. The office is not the voting booth. Yet, politicians inspire us to think about issues, communications and crisis. We don’t know where this week’s issue -allegations of Herm Cain sexually harassing employees – will end up. However, for our clients here’s what we advise when such allegations surface:
- Assemble the core team.
- Gather the facts – as best you know them.
- Grill and drill those who have been accused and have information on the alleged incidents. You want to know as much as possible about the facts, the issues, and the ramifications.
- After the grilling pause – let the room fill with silence. Then ask: Is there anything else we should know or that could come out?
- Develop a statement for release to appropriate media – options are myriad from a press conference, to a statement on the web site, to live one-on-one meetings, to employee meetings. Once you have settled on a statement that is based on the facts as you interpret them, stick to it. Don’t mix messages and change your story based on which way the wind is blowing: the media will be all over you if you do.
- Monitor all the media, including blogs and social media.
- Issue factual corrections, if necessary.
- Don’t feel the need to respond to every story or charge.
In general, when allegations surface, get your side out of the story out as rapidly and as fully as possible. The shorter the duration of this type of crisis – one full news cycle – the better your chances of returning to business as usual.
What’s your view?