December 3, 2009

‘Apology communications’ and the Woods saga

PR dissection of Woods media 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:

  1. Bob. Great to see you through your blog after all. Congrats. Woods case is an interesting piece from apology perspective indeed. As you pointed out, here timing of apology was an issue. I also plan to write something on this event soon. Talk to you often here.

  2. Thanks for this very intelligent and insightful deconstruction, Bob. There’s been so much written about the Tiger Woods incident from a PR perspective, but most of it has been very superficial and rote. This is a welcome analysis of what actually occurs during the successful implentation of a thoughtful and decisive crisis management strategy.

  3. This is something that I heard from you and Hoh at the time with Edelman. Glad to see you through your new blog.

  4. Interesting stuff Bob! And congrats on the blog launch! Reminds me of my first project (?) when I was a intern at Edelman which was about crisis management – obviously not of this sort though. 🙂 (I wonder what Hoh is going to write! keke)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *