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There’s No Room for Your Facts in a Media Interview

When I was a reporter, I was always joking around in the newsroom. One day, I declared,

“Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.”

We all laughed. A colleague was pushing for a story to make the evening news, but there were lots of holes in the story and I wanted my story to be the lead story. I won and got the lead story. The colleague’s story was killed.

Over the years we used the joke here and there, but then we began to realize that way too much of what made the news at our TV station and at those of our competitors, made the news regardless of the facts. In the end, it was one of the reasons I left the news business after a great 15-year ride.

But let’s be honest. How many news stories are filled with facts? The truth is, not a lot. Newspaper stories will always have more details than TV and radio news reports. But TV stories, especially, are driven by visual images. The example that I always use is that if the story is about a brown cow, I need video of a brown cow. If I have no video of a brown cow, I can’t put the story on the evening news.

Another example I always use is the mixed metaphor that says,

“If a tree falls in the woods and it is not on video, is it news?”

When I used to cover hurricanes in the ‘80s and ‘90s I was always upset when I didn’t have video of something blowing away. I needed the visual on video to tell the story.

A print reporter will likely write only a 12-20 sentence synopsis, a radio reporter is only writing 6-8 sentences and a TV reporter is only writing 10-12 sentences.

The average person tries to give way, way, way too many facts in a news interview.

Take this comment with a grain of salt, but the reporter doesn’t really care about you or the facts. Sure, they seem interested in you, but their report is more important to them personally than your facts.

A news report is a puzzle. Certain pieces must fit exactly together. In a TV report, quotes make up one-third of the story. The lead and the conclusion together make up one-third of the story. I don’t want to burst your bubble, but can you guess how much room we have in the story for your facts? In a TV news report, that equals 4 sentences. In a print report that equals 8-12 sentences.

If there is no room in the story for a bunch of facts, why would you spend so much time giving lots of facts to the reporter? Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

Please Pick Me to be Your Media Trainer

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

Photo by Sam McGhee on Unsplash

Crisis Communications Tip: Don’t Let Bubba Be Your De facto Spokesperson  

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC

You are going to learn about Bubba in today’s BraudCast video. But first, put yourself in this situation and then answer the questions below:

Imagine there is an explosion where you work. The community is rattled by the blast. The community can see black smoke billowing. Police, firefighters, and EMS are responding. Now answer these three questions:

1) How long will it be before eyewitnesses begin posting pictures, video, or comments about the incident to social media?

2) How long will it take before the media either arrive to report on your event or how long before the media begin to tell the story with social media accounts from eyewitnesses?

3) How long will it take before you are able to draft a news release, get it approved, and get it released?

Please post your answer below or Tweet it to me @gbraud

So who is Bubba and why should you care? Bubba was the guy who stood outside of his house trailer and told me, “It blow’d up real good,” when I was a TV reporter and asked him about an explosion at a nearby chemical plant. I then put Bubba on the news. You can get the fun, juicy version of the story by watching the video featured above.

By default, Bubba inadvertently became the company’s de facto spokesperson because the company was slow to issue a media statement to me as the television reporter covering this breaking news story.

Bubba was both a spokesperson’s worst nightmare, as well as one of my greatest inspirations for the 5 Steps to Effective Crisis Communications  system that I have followed for more than 20 years. To get the juicy version of the Bubba story, and to meet Bubba’s modern day social media counterparts, please watch the video. I promise you’ll love it and you’ll want to share the lesson with co-workers and colleagues.

With every passing minute that there is no official statement from your organization, the narrative of the story is controlled by eyewitness accounts, as well as by speculation from the media. You and the company you work for are unintentionally making eyewitnesses your de facto spokespeople if you fail to issue at least a very basic statement within one hour of the onset of the crisis. (You can get a free copy of a basic statement by registering for my free 5-part video series on the 5 Steps to Effective Crisis Communications here.)

As you watch the video, you will learn that Bubba set the narrative for my news report about the explosion and fire. His soundbite controlled the narrative of the news story because the paid spokesperson for the company failed to respond to my request for an interview. The public relations spokesperson had a chance to be on live reports at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon. Bubba would have never had a chance to say, “It blow’d up real good,” nearly two and a half hours into this crisis, if an official spokesperson agreed to do an interview. I only interviewed Bubba because I needed a soundbite to complete the aesthetics for my noon news report.

Bubba was made the de facto spokesperson not by me, but technically by the company and its paid spokesperson, when the spokesperson elected not to give me an interview.

According to Step 2 of the 5 Steps to Effective Crisis Communications, a company’s crisis communications plan should dictate that a spokesperson and statement should be available to the media, employees, the community, and other stakeholders, within one hour of the onset of the crisis.

According to Step 3 of the 5 Steps to Effective Crisis Communications, a company spokesperson should be able to meet that deadline by using a fill-in-the-blank pre-written news release.

According to Step 4 of the 5 Steps to Effective Crisis Communications, a company spokesperson should have undergone sufficient media training, such that they can effectively deliver the pre-written news release to reporters, without fearing that the interview will go badly.

The takeaway: Don’t let Bubba be your de facto spokesperson.

Learn more about the 5 Steps to Effective Crisis Communications by watching our free 5-Part video tutorial. Register here.

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

3 Lessons the Melania Trump Coat Can Teach All Public Relations People

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

5 Steps Toward the BEST Crisis Communications Plan

It’s been said that “If you fail to plan, then you should plan to fail.”

Sadly, most brands and companies lack best practices in crisis communications and lack the know-how to write a crisis communication plan. Hence, generally, organizations are reactive, rather than pro-active.

This FREE 5-part video series is a perfect way to put you on the road to strategic crisis communication planning. Plus, you’ll get a chance to schedule a free, private 15-minute phone call to discuss your challenges.

Whether you are in emergency management, business continuity planning (BCP), disaster recovery, HSE, or public relations, this 5-part strategy for effective crisis communications will help protect lives, protect reputation, and protect revenue.

Watch the video for more details on this series and then sign up today!

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

3 Lessons the Melania Trump Coat Can Teach All Public Relations People

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

3 Steps to Make Your Mark in a Media Interview

tartan-track-2678543_1920Have you put a spokesperson through media training only to have the news report turn out less than favorable? Have you ever put a spokesperson through media training, only to have the interview miss its mark?

If you answered yes to one or both of these, it is time to adopt maverick media training.

What is maverick media training?

Step 1:

Recognize the failing point of an interview. Bad ad libs are the leading cause of interview failures and news report embarrassment. Yet most media trainers still use the same old technique of giving a spokesperson three key messages, with instructions to ad lib about the key messages. The key messages are usually bullet points or slogan type phrases. They lack the parsing that leads to perfection in word choice.

Maverick media training relies on more preparation by a brilliant writer who can think and write like a reporter. Elements include first writing a strong preamble statement that adds immediate context when spoken. It must explain how your organization serves the greater good of humanity and the primary ways you accomplish this goal. The preamble statement must be written in a conversational tone and must foreshadow the aspects of the organization that the spokesperson is capable of discussing. This should then be followed by a series of paragraphs that simplify complicated issues, adding slightly more detail as you go.

Think of the writing process as a large tree, anchored by a solid tree trunk, that supports three solid branches. In maverick media training this is known as the key message tree. The more you grow your tree with well-worded, easy to internalize sentences, the greater likelihood you have that the spokesperson will internalize and use the sentences verbatim, thus replacing bad ad libs with great, quotable content.

Step 2:

Recognize that a direct answer to a direct question leads to failure. That’s because a direct answer has no context. This mistake is the primary reason spokespeople complain that they were taken out of context.

When you use the preamble and key message tree system described in step one, the spokesperson can add context with the preamble and transition from there to answering the essence of the reporter’s question.

If the actions of your organization are always in line with and congruent to your preamble, your interview will always go smoothly. If someone has done something wrong and created a crisis, the preamble can be modified to include an apology for failing to live up to the goals and standards of the organization. The apology can then be followed by an explanation of what corrective actions will be taken to avoid similar failings in the future.

Step 3:

Focus on the final edit. Many people lament that, “You can’t control the edit.” That is false.

If you recognize that every news report has a headline, a synopsis sentence known as a “lead,” and at least one quote from your spokesperson, then you can begin to control the edit.

Maverick media training stresses to the spokesperson the need to begin answers with a series of well-worded, well-written and well-internalized verbatim phrases that mimic the headline, lead, and quote. In essence, the key message tree mimics what reporters call the inverted pyramid. The inverted pyramid focuses on generalities first and adds more details as the news story progresses.

Ultimately, there is a psychology to greater success in a media interview. It involves thinking like, writing like, and speaking like a reporter. If you give a reporter the elements needed to do their job, in the very order and sequence that they need them, your victories in interviews and news report edits will rise exponentially.

If media interviews in the past have failed you and your spokespeople, or you are unsure about the logistics of a potential future media interview, be a maverick and adopt new media training techniques.

 

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

3 Lessons the Melania Trump Coat Can Teach All Public Relations People

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

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3 Key Messages for Communications and Interviews? – MYTH!

https-::pixabay.com:en:business-businessman-finger-show-2962348:In public relations, corporate communications, and media training, the concept of identifying your “Three Key Messages” is often taught.  In other words, what are the three most important things you need to communicate during your interview with the reporter?

But wait, what exactly is a key message? Is it a talking point? Is it a bullet point? Is it a set of words that incorporate more spin than truth? Is it a set of verbatim words that incorporate both truth and quotes?

In my world as a media trainer, it is a set of verbatim words that incorporate both truth and quotes. But many PR pros and media trainers teach only bullet points and talking points. I call this “The Myth About Three Key Messages.”

For instance, imagine a U.S. political candidate in a debate with his or her opponent. The moderator of the debate might ask a question such as, “Please give me your thoughts on education.”

The candidate, whose strategist may have determined that the key messages should only be about energy, the economy, and international relations, is left with nothing to say. Therefore, the candidate will BS his or her way through 50 seconds of a 60-second answer, then conclude by saying, “Education is important and you can get more details on my website.”

STOP THIS BULL!

Each time you give a CEO or spokesperson only bullet points and talking points for an interview, you give them license to ad lib. Have you ever seen anyone who can truly ad lib well? They are few and far between. The person who ad libs is doing what? Winging it! And when you wing it you crash and burn.

Start each interview with three key AREAS that you want to talk about. For each of those areas, you should have learned and internalized several pre-written sentences that are also very quotable sentences. Then, each of those three areas should have three key messages of their own, that are well written, internalized and quotable. And conceivably, each of those three key messages will have three more messages to go with them.

Pretend your conversation is a large live oak tree like you see in the South. Picture that tree with a huge, sturdy trunk and three large branches. Your “Tree Trunk Message” should consist of two sentences that anchor the entire conversation. These are the first words out of your mouth when the reporter asks the first question and they provide context for the entire conversation. Both sentences must be quotable.

Next, write two more sentences for each of those three large branches that grow from the tree trunk. These sentences must also be highly quotable and will add a few more overarching facts and point to other important areas that you may want to talk about.

Now add three limbs to each of the large branches. Then add three twigs to each of the limbs. Then add three leaves to each of the twigs. Ultimately, just as a tree sprouts limbs, twigs, and leaves, your conversation needs to sprout additional sentences with slightly more detail. Draw it out. If you can visualize the tree, you will begin to understand how the conversation grows.

In our analogy, the leaves represent great detail while the tree trunk and three branches symbolize very basic facts. If you invest time to populate your tree with verbatim, quotable sentences that you internalize, you will ace your next interview. Basically, your populated tree has created a full conversation and an interview should be a conversation. It should tell a story.

The Conversation Tree analogy has prepared us to tell our story in the inverted pyramid style – the same style reporters use when they write.

This is not easy. It takes a great amount of preparation. An interview is as important as any business deal. If you could attach a dollar to every word that comes out of your mouth, would you make money or lose money?

Bottom line – know what you want to say, know it verbatim, and be prepared to tell a story.

 

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

3 Lessons the Melania Trump Coat Can Teach All Public Relations People

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

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You May Be Guilty of PR Word Vomit

https-::pixabay.com:en:business-adult-people-office-3365365:By Gerard Braud

Before every media training class I teach, I ask the PR team to provide me with their existing key messages. Most are word vomit.

Many public relations people “vomit” every word they can, every cliché they can, and every statistic they can onto the page they submit to me. As you might guess, I have to do major key message re-writes before every media training class.

While teaching interview skills in a media training class, a participating executive provided expert insight to the lesson I was teaching.

“So you don’t want us to word vomit everything we know in a media interview, right?” he asked.

That isn’t how I would have phrased it, but now that I think about it, many spokespeople, and the public relations people who write the key messages for the spokespeople, are guilty of “word vomit.”

When a spokesperson is being interviewed, more is less. You must help them fight the urge to say everything they know about the company or organization.

The more you say to a reporter, the more you subject yourself to editing that you may not like.

It may not be pretty, but today’s media training expert advice is:

  1. Avoid word vomit when you write your key messages.
  2. Avoid word vomit when you are speaking to a reporter in a media interview.

If someone read your key messages right now, would they think, “Ugh. Too much information!”?

If you need help finding the perfect way to write your key messages, check out my “Kick-Butt Key Message” writing program.

 

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

3 Lessons the Melania Trump Coat Can Teach All Public Relations People

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

 

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The Most Cringe-worthy Jargon You Must Avoid

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC

People in public relations, media relations, and corporate communications love to make fun of jargon and most have a hit list of phrases, clichés, and abbreviations that they hate.

People hate jargon.

Employees hate jargon.

Customers hate jargon.

I once introduced, “The Worst Speech in the World” to show how cringe-worthy jargon gets.

This is not the usual keynote speech I deliver, but I could likely write a customized speech just like this for every association, conference, and convention from New Orleans to New York.

So why does your CEO, VP, or manager use jargon?https-::pixabay.com:en:conference-public-speaking-2705706:

Why do your work colleagues use jargon?

Here are some observations:

1) Many executives, business coaches, business trainers, and authors are looking for a profound phrase or expression. The “sticky” phrases get repeated by people who want to share what they learn from the coach, trainer, or author.

2) No one has taught the person using the cliché, especially in a speech, that originality is more profound then mimicking someone else. We can usually chalk this up to the speaker not having a speech or communications coach and trying to wing it.

3) The world is full of copycats who use copycat clichés. For many, it might be laziness or a time saver, to simply lift phrases they’ve heard all of their lives.

In conclusion, analogies are great. Use them with sensitivity, such as avoiding the phrase, “open kimono.”

Make your analogies original. People love original thoughts and ideas.

I invite you to add a list of the jargon you hate in the comment section below.

 

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

3 Lessons the Melania Trump Coat Can Teach All Public Relations People

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

 

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Media Training Tip #1: Don’t Talk to the Media

https-::pixabay.com:en:video-cinematography-film-movie-943569:by Gerard Braud

The title of this article may sound counter-intuitive, so let me explain further. Don’t talk to the media, but to the media’s audience.

Each time you are about to engage with the media, ask yourself, who is the audience and how smart are they? The general rule is that the average person who watches TV news has a 6th-grade education. And, the average person who reads a newspaper reads at an 8th-grade reading level. Those listening to radio news fall into those same ranges.

When you do a media interview, a podcast, send out a news release, or are asked for a quote, you need to be talking to those people and using words and language that those people understand.

Drop all the big words. You don’t win any prizes for being multi-syllabic.

Can the corporate jargon. “Synergistic win-win collaboration” means nothing to anyone but you.

Say goodbye to the government speak and ax the acronyms. Neither your audience nor the media should need to be a code talker to decipher what you are saying.

Imagine you are asked to speak at career day to a 6th-grade class at your local school, what will you say?  In fact, my assignment for you is to call a local school and ask to speak at the next career day. It’s a great exercise.

OK, so the skeptics out there may disagree.

Here are the things I hear from the skeptics:

  • My audience is different.
  • Well I’ll just tell the media what I know. It’s their job to simplify it.
  • I don’t want to dumb it down.
  • What will my peers think?

My answer is bull, more bull, definitely bull and absolutely bull.

If your goal is for the media to get it right, then simplify the information for them. Do their job for them. Do the translation for your audience.

No one wants you to dumb it down and I’m not asking you to dumb it down. I want you to simplify it. There is a difference. I want you to be inclusive. I want you to respect what the audience may or may not already know. Be kind. Help them out.

If you are concerned about how smart you will look to your peers, seldom will your peers be your audience when you do a media interview. Chances are your potential customers are your audience. Doctors should not use technical medical information but should use bedside patient language. Corporate people should not use corporate speak but customer speak.

Research also shows that even people with college degrees and advanced degrees prefer to read at an 8th-grade level. Information overload means they really want to be able to skim and quickly digest everything they have to read, whether it is a newspaper, e-mail, website or memo.

It is your responsibility to communicate in a way that the media’s audience will understand. You have a responsibility to communicate in a way that is easy for the media to understand, digest and repeat.

So our first rule is “don’t talk to the media.” Braud book:CD

In the next media training lesson, we’ll talk about the connection between profit and a media interview.

For the full 29-day online course on media training and 29 secrets you need to know before you open your mouth to a reporter, visit here.

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

3 Lessons the Melania Trump Coat Can Teach All Public Relations People

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

 

3 Ego Driven Comments and 5 Ways to Combat Denial: Expert Media & Crisis Skills

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC

https-::pixabay.com:en:press-camera-the-crowd-journalist-2333329:Certain crisis communication and media interview scenarios send shivers up my spine. Would you love to know the top three?

  • When someone says they don’t need to prepare for something, I cringe.
  • When someone says, “I’ll wing it,” I feel a disaster coming.
  • When someone rejects writing a crisis communications plan with pre-written news releases and says, “We’ll just get everybody in the room when it happens and hash it out,” I gasp in disbelief and wonder which world they live in.

Why are these so cringe-worthy?

The answers are below and I’ll be discussing these issues with members of NACD during my presentation at their conference in St. Louis. 

 Attendees can download handouts here.

https://secureservercdn.net/166.62.110.232/vjm.ac1.myftpupload.com/pdf/2018-NACD-Hanout.pdf

 Attendees can download this great special report about media interviews here.

http://braudcommunications.com/store/

 Copies of Don’t Talk to the Media Until… can be purchased here.

http://braudcommunications.com/store/

 

In a world that moves at the speed of Twitter and mobile phone images, a crisis communications expert would tell you that seconds REALLY, REALLY, REALLY count.

But what do we see too often?

We see human egos telling executives that they can wing it and spontaneously crank out great media statements when a crisis hits.

Other companies operate on hope and denial, hoping a crisis never happens and denying the reality that it only takes one event to destroy the reputation and revenue of an organization.

The best companies take these five steps:

1. Conduct a Vulnerability Assessment

Hire a facilitator to help you build an extensive list of all of the potential issues that could affect your reputation and revenue. The facilitator will help you sort out the vulnerabilities that affect your incident command plan, your business continuity plan, and your crisis communications plan. Some types of crises will affect all three plans. But you’ll be surprised to see how many only trigger your crisis communication plan.

2. Write a Crisis Communications Plan

This task can take a year of collaboration to get it right. After too many years of exhausting collaboration, I’ve created a crisis communications system that can be licensed and put in place in a single day. If you are going to tackle this yourself, the key is to build a plan that can be read and simultaneously executed in real time, so nothing falls through the cracks. The more specific, the more terrific. When written properly, it perfectly captures the complicated process of gathering information, confirming the information, and then disseminating that information to various stakeholder groups. It is a fool’s bet to think you can hash out communications decisions spontaneously during a crisis. A great crisis communication plan should have decision trees built in to help your team select the best options based on the uniqueness of each crisis.

3. Write a library of pre-written news releases

Yes, with skill and time, you can write a news release today that is still perfect and ready to use ten years from now. The secret is to write statements with the proper multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank options, based on questions reporters are most likely to ask in a news conference. I typically license 100 at a time to most companies I work with. Short of subscribing to my library, your task is best achieved through a writing retreat. Realize that most companies take three to five hours before they release a statement during a crisis. In contrast, Twitter takes 60 seconds. Your job is to close that gap. Getting everyone in the room and hashing out a news release by committee during a crisis is the worst thing you can do.

4. Do Media Training for your spokespeople

The best athletes have coaches. The most successful business leaders have coaches. And yes, the best spokespeople have coaches. Oh, and yes, you will pay your coach a fair price for their skills. Interview your prospective coaches to see if they are a good fit. For crisis communications media training, be skeptical of a public relations firm that offers 20 different services plus media training. Also be weary of any trainer who tells you to ignore the reporter’s questions and talk about only what you want to talk about. That sort of bad advice will result in embarrassment, public outrage, and degradation to the company’s reputation and revenue. Media training should go hand-in-hand with writing your pre-written news releases. Those news releases, when written properly, should be the script you read to the media during a crisis news conference. Oh, and remember that one media training class doesn’t let you check this task off of a bucket list. Annual practice is a must.

5. Conduct a crisis drill to test your various plans and your people.

Many organizations conduct an emergency drill and only test their emergency response. Never do they role-play the scenario of conducting a news conference or facing an unruly mob of reporters. Likewise, many are not ready for the negative onslaught of social media during a real crisis. Hence, when a crisis happens, folks are outdone and beside themselves because the media and social media consume their time and attention, taking them off of their response game. These days, your drills must be holistic. Test every plan and every person all in one comprehensive drill.

Next time you hear a colleague suggest you hash it out on the day of your crisis and then wing it in interviews, feel free to challenge them, their ego, and their denial.

 

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Stop Un-Selling: Roseanne Uses Social Media to Create a Costly Self-Inflicted Crisis

Roseanne Barr TweetBy Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC

 Un-Selling. It is the opposite of selling. It’s not good (he writes sarcastically). Stop Un-Selling, people. Stop it!

I could stop there, but today’s case study looks at ABC canceling their hugely popular television sitcom reboot of the Roseanne show, which drew upwards to 25 million viewers per week.

The Roseanne show was selling. The reboot of the sitcom was a huge moneymaker for ABC. Money was pumped into production and marketing. Huge salaries were paid to stars. Jobs were created for writers and the production staff.

Then this morning, Roseanne made the unwise decision to Tweet something racist. Yep. In a nanosecond it is all gone. Roseanne tweeted that, “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby-vj.” VJ is indicated to be Valerie Jarrett, a former senior advisor to President Barack Obama.

The revenue is gone. The jobs are gone.

Like many people; like many companies; this is a self-inflicted crisis. I like to call these self-inflicted crises an act of “Un-Selling.”

The world is hypersensitive. Social media fuels hypersensitivity.

Corporations can no longer defend themselves in a hypersensitive world. Admitting defeat and closing up shop is more cost-effective than fighting a controversy and the fallout associated with the crisis.

Somehow, after 12-14 years of social media, many people and companies still seem oblivious that we are at the crossroads of social media; we are at the crossroads of crisis communications; we are at the crossroads of selling.

Roseanne has always been controversial and has said many things in her comedy that offend people. When she went off of the air 21 years ago, social media didn’t exist. Heck, 21 years ago the internet and email were just making their mark.

There was a time when a network like ABC would experience a crisis like this, then hunker down with lawyers for a few days, then count how much money they would lose if the show got canceled. They would compare that number to the revenues they would earn, before making decisions. Those days are gone.

These days, decisions are swift, brutal, and costly.

Every corporation is vulnerable to Un-Selling these days. It can be from your own post. It can be due to a bad situation captured on video and shared with the world.

I can’t help but notice the irony that I’m typing these words at the very moment every Starbucks store is closed for sensitivity training because the arrest of two black men was captured in one of their stores, causing the company to lose customers. (Yes, Starbucks was Un-Selling.) It happened when United Airlines dragged a passenger off a flight. It happened when Wells Fargo created fake accounts. It happened when Facebook sold your data.

Everyone one of these is an act of Un-Selling by a company. Un-Selling requires crisis planning and crisis training.

Plan, practice, and stop Un-Selling.