There’s a trend in many large organisations and it’s certainly true in some governments and political parties. When they’re looking for support with media relations and crisis communications – they get their pals in.
The ex director, the well liked senior member of staff that’s now out on their own, the ‘PR consultant’ already working with them in other areas – the individual they like. Someone who is supportive of their aims and objectives.
Often, that’s a big mistake.
These individuals owe you something. They’re pleased you chose them. Happy to work with you, dining out on the fact they had a good career with you. They might even have a past with you – they’ve made mistakes, had some ‘secrets’ covered up and, basically, you like them and they like you. The risk is, all of this, clouds their judgements.
They know what you want to hear. They understand what you’re trying to do, and it’s in their DNA to sympathise with you.
Far better, I think, to enjoy the benefits only an outsider can bring. But by all means, have your full-time PR adviser or consultant in on the session too.
Outsiders owe you nothing. They don’t care who they upset, aren’t bothered about hierarchies and don’t have any embarrassing history with you. As a result, they’ll give it to you straight.
Outsiders don’t have the benefit of knowing and understanding what you are trying to do. If it doesn’t make sense to them, what chance have the general public got?
A good crisis communications or media training consultant should be capable of being as tough on you as your harshest critic, or the most awkward journalist you’ll encounter.
It’s also worth looking at their business and the number of clients they have on their books. If it’s only 1 or 2 this should concern you, because it could be a sign that the consultant has a vested interest in your organisation experiencing a crisis. Dealing with someone who directly profits every time you experience difficulties is not a great position for your to be in.
Yes, at Comsteria we certainly enjoy providing crisis communications and media training advice to clients, but what makes us different from our competitors is that we would rather put you in a position where you can avoid a crisis occurring in the first place and deal with it effectively yourself if it does.
You’ll find us friendly, trustworthy, good company and we hope you’ll enjoy your day with us. But when it comes to crisis comms and media relations training, there’s no place for the ‘old pals’ act.