Don’t set me off. I’m a cynic. The NFL crisis and its flawed communications strategy continues to set off the cynic in me. A huge part of my crisis communications plan strategy and the crisis management advice provided to my clients is based upon understanding how to effectively communicate to the cynics.
Sunday night the NFL crisis and the failures of Roger Goodell were not on my mind. I was watching Sunday Night Football on NBC with my wife and enjoying a Sazarac – yes, Saints, Sunday and Sazaracs. (I wish we had won the game.) My goal was to be entertained.
Without the crisis on my mind, a public service announcement ran for an organization called NoMore.org. The campaign originated in 2013, but the NFL played the public service announcement during the game in an effort to “fight domestic violence.”
What did the cynic in me think? Cover-up. White washing. Trying to cover you’re a**. You screwed up and now you’re trying to make us think you’re doing something.
The crisis was not on my mind. Great job Goodell because you just put it back on my mind. Also, my mind isn’t thinking about victims. My mind is thinking about a failure of leadership.
I’ve thought the same thing about all of the commercials BP ran following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and crisis. The cynic in the oil spill crisis wonders just how much BP spent telling the world they are not the negligent company that they’ve been proven to be in a court of law. While BP says they’ve made things right, my sources say the marshes of Louisiana still have a lot of BP oil that has never been cleaned up.
The bottom line is:
1) Fix your problems to prevent a crisis from happening
2) Address your crisis quickly so there is never a cover-up
3) Say you are sorry to the people you have harmed
4) Don’t brag about how well you allegedly said you are sorry… especially when you have failed to fully address the crisis and the real problem.
For the NFL the problem is not domestic violence. The NFL problem is one man at the top who doesn’t know how to properly investigate a domestic violence case and properly punish a guilty player.
When you brag about the wrong thing, you set me off. Don’t set me off.
By Gerard Braud