‘Apology communications’ and the Woods saga
This graphic dissection of the latest Tiger Woods media statement (which I clipped by hand from today’s The Globe and Mail newspaper) illustrates some of the key elements being discussed in the news this week by PR people around the world. Like many industry colleagues, I generally think that the key to success in such situations is to communicate the facts of the matter in a fearlessly transparent fashion right away, without delay, as soon as possible, even though it often feels counter-intuitive to do so. At Edelman, I learned to call this the ‘paradox of transparency.’
Turning on a dime with a nimble response, taking responsibility while showing genuine concern and apologizing sincerely from the get-go together secure what some have called ‘temporal command’ of the news cycle, without which an ‘information vacuum’ arises, with critics and speculators filling the gap with often inaccurate rumor and gossip. When that happens, it’s hard play catch-up and achieve credible believability after the fact (related: see this story from The Washington Post on ‘the persistence of myth’).
Here’s a video where I talk about my own approach to crisis communications: