Crisis Management & Crisis Communication: The Justin Bieber Case

By Gerard Braud

JustinBieberIn crisis management and crisis communication you must manage the rule of thirds, as it relates to your brand and the management of your reputation.

Define the rule of thirds this way:

One third of the audience loves you – and nothing can change that.

One third of the audience hates you – and nothing can change you.

One third of the audience swings like a pendulum and they love or hate you based on what is trending at that moment.

Please see exhibit A: Justin Bieber.

His self-made series of recent crises have eroded his credibility with the middle third.

Do you know parents who have supported their daughters, who love Bieber? Did those parents in some way also think Bieber was a nice guy?

If you had asked them a year ago, they would have said, “He’s a nice kid, he has great God given talent, and his mom seems to be trying to keep him grounded.”

Ask them today, they might say, “Justin Bieber is a spoiled little a**hole.”

Want more proof of how this works?

1) Bieber is officially the butt of an increasing number of jokes. During the Olympics, the trending joke was that the loser of the U.S. versus Canada hockey game had to keep Bieber. Hashtag – that’s funny for us. Hashtag – that’s sad for Bieber.

2) Radio station Rock 100.5 staged an impressive enough anti-Bieber hoax that CNN and other media reported it without doubting it could be true. Hashtag – lack of journalism. Hashtag – that’s funny for us. Hashtag – that’s sad for Bieber.

In a world where media quotes media rather than investigating the story themselves, it is estimated the fake story appeared 4,500 times around the world.

Define a crisis as anything that affects your reputation AND revenue. Bieber falls in both departments.

The rule of thirds always rings true.

How would the rule of thirds go down for your company in a crisis? Would you keep the middle third or lose the middle third?