Publicists are known for the saying, “All publicity is good publicity.” Well…I disagree.
I would, instead, say, “All publicity HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BE good publicity.” That’s why PR professionals prepare crisis communication plans.
Take Jussie Smollett for example. He’s all over the news right now. Jussie just entered an exclusive category of celebrity which includes names like Ryan Lochte and Lance Armstrong.
Sure, we’re talking about him. But it’s for all the wrong reasons (if you just climbed out from under a rock, I’m linking some coverage below).
That being said, Jussie does have an opportunity to control the message. He’s all over the media and, if handled correctly, he could absolutely take advantage of that. Now is the time for his crisis communication plan to kick into gear. With all eyes on Jussie, this is his make or break moment. Here’s a few ways this could go down:
Option 1) Crumble under the pressure. Hide away from the public and avoid confrontation. Eventually, everyone will forget anyway, right?
Option 2) Keep fighting. Deny, deny, deny. Blame everyone else and force your fans to choose a side.
And finally, if Jussie were my client…
Option 3) Apologize. Take ownership of your actions and communicate a plan to make amends. Find a related cause that you are passionate about and redirect attention.
Ultimately, everyone makes mistakes. And if you are a celebrity like Jussie, your mistakes will be under the spotlight — magnified and dissected. You must have a crisis communication plan in place.
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Ray Drasnin’s recent media interviews about the Jussie Smollett case: