The old adage, "I don't care what you write about me as long as you spell my name right," no longer applies in today's world. Seeing a crisis as an opportunity to gain press and mind share is a concept that is outdated and dangerous. According to a recent NY Times article, managing a crisis through proactive corporate communications is more important than ever, but thinking you can turn embarrassment into a positive opportunity doesn't work. 

Recent examples cited in the article include Toyota's recall problems, Goldman Sachs' nightmare financial crisis, the recent BP environmental disaster, and Tyco's CEO difficulties. In most of these cases, the companies failed to institute the correct crisis management procedure: disclose immediately, explain fully and accept responsibility. 

The classic Tylenol story is held as an example of proper crisis management - acknowledging the problem early and pulling its product from the shelves immediately - no matter how the product became tainted. 

In recent PR disasters, companies failed to take early responsibility. Even worse, the companies would foist blame on others or take an adversarial stance against the media and government watchdogs. Placing executives who were clearly uncomfortable in front of the public only exacerbated the crises. 

Those are not the times you want press. A successful PR campaign will not attempt to spin the story or turn lemons into lemonade. A successful PR campaign will get the company out of the news and back to business as quickly as possible.