Prince Andrew would have done well to follow the Green Cross Code as he stepped into the path of the oncoming Newsnight interview. There has since been much scrutiny of the Royal’s press advisors and why they failed to follow the basics when it comes to media handling in a global reputational storm.
Taking time to stop, look and listen to external communications advisors during a crisis is critical to long term reputation. Like a friendly Green Man, people like us, reiterate life outside the crisis bubble and wider public perception both in the moment and the hours, days and weeks to follow.
Surviving a crisis means understanding how the situation will play out in the real world and how people perceive you as a result. Forget this at your peril. Just last week, we were advising a major consumer brand, facing speculation about their future and press calls for senior level comment. Knowing the rumour to be untrue, the temptation is to go on the record, and go hard. But that impulse needs to be tempered against public perception where aggressive denials can be misconstrued as a business in the death throes, prompting a stampede of consumer confusion.
External voices, like ours, outside the senior team help you navigate through the complicated landscape, delivering added value, as trusted advisors.
One of Prince Andrew’s PR hires reportedly left after his advice for low key proactive activity with charities, to rebuild reputation, was ignored. We will never know whether this tactic would have worked. But it is safe to say that as interest in Prince Andrew grows, legal commentators fill the airwaves and he steps back from Royal duties; his media handling constitutes a major road safety fail.
Featured Image by Matthew Feeney