[Editor’s Note: This month’s dialogue considers why two entities can react similarly to PR crises and obtain vastly different results: One company exits the crisis promptly, the other continues to experience issues. Our dialoguers are Maureen Cahill, partner, Bellmont Partners, and Dan Jasper, VP, communications, Mall of America. Interestingly, Cahill was Jasper’s predecessor at Mall of America. ]
Crisis Insider: Let’s assume two companies, organizations or people handle a crisis roughly the same way. Why, then, does one entity ‘survive,’ returning to business as usual relatively quickly, and the other seems mired in crisis debris for weeks or longer?
Dan Jasper: Given the scenario, where one company is more successful in exiting the crisis than the other, in my mind a lot of that lies in the trust that’s been built up in the years leading to the crisis. So, if the public and their constituencies, their consumers and clients, have faith that the brand is going to be transparent, is going to be forthright, is going to fix an issue, that brand’s ability to get beyond a crisis is going to be much easier than a brand that doesn’t have that reputation. That’s one reason.
Maureen Cahill: I agree, Dan, on trust. Bottom line, it’s about relationships.
Relationships with consumers, with the media, with your partners, vendors. How you react to outside [stakeholders] is important all year round, not just when there’s a crisis.
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