Why A Slow Comment Is As Bad As “No Comment” In A PR Crisis

Why A Slow Comment Is As Bad As “No Comment” In A PR Crisis
SHARE
THIS



In this guest post, PR crisis management expert Gerry McCusker (pictured below) explains why a slow comment in a crisis is becoming the next worst thing to making no comment.

Gerry McCusker

Recently, the AFL was heavily criticised for failing to issue a prompt condemnatory statement when one of its executives was cited for coward-punching (blindsiding) an opponent in an amateur football game. Despite following what they termed ‘due process’, the AFL leadership was lambasted for following a form of issues management broadly perceived as ‘wait and see’.

Having analysed and researched PR disasters for over a dozen years, I know that the W&S phenomenon comes from an era – a media age – when brands had the relative time luxury to formulate their response to an issue or crisis. That time, literally, has disappeared. In our crisis simulations with clients, we’re working to an issue acknowledgement time of seven minutes! Social media can drive the crisis narrative.

Customers, clients, the public and – more critically – the media, make their minds up about any incident, story, occurrence in the blink of an eye. More tellingly, they’re savvy enough to know when something is plainly wrong and should be called out as such. Yet many brands will dally and dither while deliberating if their ‘issue’ really is a ‘crisis’.

But given that media monitoring systems like Meltwater can pretty accurately indicate the strength of stakeholder sentiment on any given topic, what’s the issue with prompt engagement? What’s not to like about statements crafted to resonate with the citizenry?

In fact, when big data is turned into issues management ‘intel’, your brand can stay almost totally attuned to – and possibly move in step with – influencer and public opinion. As Carlos Castillo infers, there’s just no need to look unaware or unprepared.

I’ve consulted in incident situation rooms where ‘W&S’ execs prefer to see how bad or tortuous a situation will become before deciding if – or how – to engage with the crisis narrative. I’d prefer to help shape the story, rather than just be a victim of it.

I reiterate to clients, if you’re not IN(forming) the crisis narrative, you can’t influence it.

In (round) football-speak, it’s like giving Chelsea three goals of a start in the first 45, and hoping to draw level in the second half; realistically, that’s unlikely to happen.

I get Schadenfraude giggles when I see people put their hands up to cover their faces or camera lenses when pursued by news crews. They sometimes mumble, “No comment”, which is semiologically signalling, “Yep, I’m guilty”.

Given the acceleration of fact-free, agenda-driven, opinion-forming, pronouncement-making, speculation-indulging social and news media – and the influential SEO narrative that accompanies it – slow comment in a crisis is becoming the next worst thing to no comment. It can leave you out of the crisis conversation.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Designworks Gerry McCusker Gillon McLachlan PR crisis The Bastion Group

Latest News

Business woman study financial market to calculate possible risks and profits.Female economist accounting money with statistics graphs pointing on screen of computer at desktop. Quotations on exchange
  • Technology

Third-Party Data Sales Spike 109% For Lotame In APAC

Lotame has today announced 109 per cent growth in third-party data sales in the APAC region from Q2 2020 to Q3 2020. Across the APAC region, India saw 555 per cent growth, followed by Malaysia at 190 per cent and Taiwan at 178 per cent growth. Subsequently, Australia saw 43 per cent growth and New Zealand […]

28% Of Display Advertising Spend Goes To Ad Tech Services: ACCC Inquiry
  • Technology

28% Of Display Advertising Spend Goes To Ad Tech Services: ACCC Inquiry

The ACCC has released the findings from its inquiry into the digital advertising supply chain, revealing there is a lack of competition and transparency that needs to be addressed. Regarding transparency, the inquiry suggests that pricing is a key concern for the industry. A lack of transparency means advertisers and publishers are unable to make […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Nielsen: Top 10 Media Owners Reach Over Half Of The Australian Population Each Month
  • Media

Nielsen: Top 10 Media Owners Reach Over Half Of The Australian Population Each Month

2020 was a boom year for digital content consumption with digitally active Australians engaging with a diverse range of content on platforms, communities, sites and apps across screens, this resulted in an increase to their digital time pent of 19 per cent on the year prior. IAB Australia endorsed Digital Content Planning data, released by […]

Dr Elaine Stead Wins $280k Damages In Defamation Suit Against The AFR’s Joe Aston
  • Media

Dr Elaine Stead Wins $280k Damages In Defamation Suit Against The AFR’s Joe Aston

Venture capitalist Dr Elaine Stead sued the Australian Financial Review and their columnist Joe Aston for defamatory statements, which included calling her a “feminist cretin”. The Sydney Federal Court has ruled that Dr Stead must receive $280, 000 in aggravated and ordinary damages based on comments Aston made in in 2019. Defamatory remarks were found […]

Tim Robards Stars As Tim Tam Genie In New Arnott’s Campaign Via The Neighbourhood
  • Campaigns

Tim Robards Stars As Tim Tam Genie In New Arnott’s Campaign Via The Neighbourhood

A new integrated campaign launched this week from Publicis Groupe via The Neighbourhood renews the tradition of genies appearing in Tim Tam ads, with Tim Robards trading roses for Australia’s favourite chocolate biscuits. The new television spot explores the familiar, playful dynamic between genies and their masters, as wishes rarely turn out the way you […]

McCann Sydney Snares Lucy Gavan For Senior Strategist Role
  • Advertising

McCann Sydney Snares Lucy Gavan For Senior Strategist Role

McCann Sydney has announced the appointment of Lucy Gavan as senior strategist. Gavan joins McCann Sydney, part of independent network, HERO, after five years at brand consultancy, Interbrand, building and reimagining the identities and experiences for many Australian iconic brands, including Telstra, Westpac, Federation Square and Sydney Opera House. Executive strategy director Roshni Hegerman says […]

VCCP Sydney Adds Tilly Treloar, Nathan Pashley & Heath Sims
  • Advertising

VCCP Sydney Adds Tilly Treloar, Nathan Pashley & Heath Sims

VCCP has kicked off 2021 by adding Nathan Pashley and Heath Sims to its creative department, and Tilly Treloar to its the strategy department. Pashley and Sims are an established creative team who previously worked together at 72andSunny, creating campaigns for the likes of Tooheys Extra Dry, Byron Bay Brewery, Google Nest, Amaysim, and Kosciuszko […]

Dentsu’s Ad Spend Report Forecasts 5.9% Growth In Australia In 2021
  • Media

Dentsu’s Ad Spend Report Forecasts 5.9% Growth In Australia In 2021

Global advertising investment is forecast to grow by 5.8% globally and 5.9% in Australia in 2021, according to the dentsu 2021 Ad Spend Report. The report combines data from 59 markets and anticipates that $US579bn will be spent globally with all regions enjoying growth to offset a fall of 8.8% in 2020. Australia’s forecasted growth […]

David Pullinger, Former JC Decaux Sales Director, Appointed QMS Media GM
  • Media

David Pullinger, Former JC Decaux Sales Director, Appointed QMS Media GM

QMS Media has appointed former JC Decaux national sales director (independent agencies) David Pullinger to the newly created role of general manager, independent agencies and direct sales. The appointment comes in a bid to further drive growth in what QMS describes as the “significant independent agency and direct sales market”. With more than 20 years’ […]

Stan Officially Announces Pricing For Stan Sport
  • Media

Stan Officially Announces Pricing For Stan Sport

Stan has today officially announced pricing for its new add- on Sport package in the lead up to the Super Rugby season kicking off. Stan’s add-on Sport package will be available for $10 a month and Stan will be the only place to watch every match. Consumers can enjoy Rugby ad-free, live and on demand […]

?stanbul, Turkey - February 10, 2014: Businessman figurines standing in front of Apple iPad monitor  displaying start-up screen of Facebook application. Facebook is one of the most visited social networking website in the world.
  • Media

Facebook Introduces New Measures To Stop The Spread Of Holocaust Misinformation

Facebook has introduced new safeguards to limit the spread of misinformation around the Holocaust. The new measures, announced on International Holocaust Rememberance Day, will see any Facebook user who searches for terms associated with either the Holocaust or Holocaust denial recieve a message from Facebook encouraging them to connect with credible information about the Holocaust. […]

Busting 6 Of The Biggest Ad Tech Myths
  • Partner Content

Busting 6 Of The Biggest Ad Tech Myths

When it comes to header bidding and wrapper solutions offered by sell-side platforms (SSPs) – it can be a pretty confusing landscape out there. The technology itself is complex, and this is further compounded by a lot myths doing the rounds. Before we start, if you need a quick refresher on the basics – what […]

Partner Content

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Droga5 London Rolls Out New International Visual Identity For CUPRA
  • Marketing

Droga5 London Rolls Out New International Visual Identity For CUPRA

Droga5 London has launched a new corporate and visual identity for CUPRA, the new high-performance car division of SEAT Group, challenging the conventions of design in the car category. The identity is part of the new brand platform, ‘Another Way’, and provides CUPRA with an unexpected modular visual language that shows both the car and […]

The acquisition of TurboSquid establishes Shutterstock as the premium destination for 3D models.
  • Technology

Shutterstock Acquires 3D Marketplace TurboSquid

Global creative platform Shutterstock has entered an agreement to purchase TurboSquid, considered the world’s largest 3D marketplace. For more than 20 years, TurboSquid has been a 3D industry leader, offering a unified 3D workflow, and operating a marketplace offering of more than 1 million 3D models, a 2D marketplace derived from 3D objects, and a […]

M&C Saatchi’s Timothy Ng: “To Those Who’ve Thought About It”
  • Opinion

M&C Saatchi’s Timothy Ng: “To Those Who’ve Thought About It”

M&C Saatchi’s webinar series Open House kicked off last night, with an introductory session from Justin Graham, Group CEO AUNZ and Timothy Ng (pictured below), Account Manager. Open House is an initiative that consists of a series of free webinars, as well offering participants the chance to secure a paid internship, aimed at career movers, […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
WPP Named In Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index For Third Year In A Row
  • Advertising
  • Media

WPP Named In Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index For Third Year In A Row

WPP was today named in the 2021 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI) for the third consecutive year. The Index recognises companies committed to advancing gender equality in the workplace through policy development, representation and transparency.  The 2021 GEI is made up of 380 companies from 11 sectors headquartered across 44 countries and regions, all raising the […]

Australian Road Safety Foundation Utilises Geo-Targeting Technology To Protect Kids In School
  • Media

Australian Road Safety Foundation Utilises Geo-Targeting Technology To Protect Kids In School

The Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) has teamed up with Spotify and some of Queensland’s leading musicians in a national first that will geotarget drivers within school zones. The Slow Down Songs campaign, which is being piloted in Queensland, will work to keep kids safe within school zones by dramatically slowing down songs and serving […]

Tokyo, Japan - July 29, 2019: The skytree tower is illuminated at night announcing the olympics of Tokyo 2020 with a hashtag.
  • Uncategorised

Florida Financial Officer ‘Offers’ To Host Olympics With “Bonkers” Pitch

Florida’s chief financial officer on Monday (local time) told the International Olympic Committee that Florida would be happy to host the Olympics amid speculation that current host Japan may back out. Jimmy Patronis sent a letter to Thomas Bach, the head of the IOC, as Agence France-Presse reports, “to encourage you to consider relocating the […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
When You Do And Don’t Need AI
  • Technology

When You Do And Don’t Need AI

Here's top tips for when you do and don't need AI. Alternatively, ask Alexa if she thinks it's worth reading.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine