Trylon Communications  - November 2005
       

Boiling Over

There was a time when companies attempted to stonewall the media – to “put a lid” on a potentially negative breaking story. In today’s media world, trying to limit the damage of such a story, by withholding information and spinning, could be even more harmful to the company than the story itself.

Nowadays, a business should not only be cautious of how it deals with the media, but be aware that current or former employees can potentially have an active role in becoming part of the media via Weblogs. Angry shareholders or consumers can similarly post their opinions on a company product or policy. There are just too many avenues through which information can be leaked – and once the information is out, it can take on a life of its own.

How does a business handle potentially damaging information? As we have discussed (see article), the only thing to do is to tell the truth. Place the information in context, without overt spinning. Be certain of your facts. Back them up with empirical evidence. Stand firm in your assertions and monitor feedback.

What is fundamental at all times is to cultivate relationships with the most influential journalists that cover your industry. If you have built strong ties with each of them, they will consult with you, a trusted source, to verify information and provide a complete and accurate story. If you have not established these relationships already, you would be well advised to find a seasoned PR pro who has.