America loves lists, so this one made necessary by the words of former Trump Administration strategist Steve Bannon in a new book are indeed timely.
4. Put a sock in it.
3. Hold your tongue.
2. Zip it.
1. Shut up.
Are we clear?
It’s one of the most difficult and often impossible things to do when you, your organization, your brand and image is called into question. As human beings, our first gut reaction is to lash out, carve out a nice fat chunk of mental flesh, and show everyone that our button is bigger than the person in question.
This is a yet another media strategy epic fail.
My advice to clients or anyone asking for advice? Don’t take the bait. Walk away.
Stop talking. Better yet, don’t even start.
Because in a split second you, your brand, your organization, will watch as the negative impact accelerates at unimaginable speed.
OK, perhaps imaginable if one is Mel Brooks.
The book in question containing what purportedly are direct quotes and stories from Steve Bannon is outrageous, salacious, insulting, demeaning, revealing, shocking, and just might be somewhat factual. Of course, books such as these are often far from being completely truthful and often stray far afield when it comes to context. But there are more than a few who are gobbling up what’s on the pages and, having been or still close to the situation, recognizing specific instances that absolutely happened.
I can say that because I’ve spoken with some of them many times over the last 2 years and heard exactly the same stories.
But let’s not stray from hitting the “Ludicrous Speed” emergency brake here. This is about media strategy and what you should learn from this feeding frenzy.
Let others take the lead in reaction. Allow them to rant, rail, posture and preen to their heart’s content.
This is all about selling a book. The author, publisher, Steve Bannon and others will make a fortune from this pre-release publicity. From a public relations standpoint, it’s textbook how to drive sales for a controversial book.
This is not, as I heard a number of acolytes say, “the medias fault”. All the media is doing is taking what they are being given and making hay. This is being driven in large part by reaction of the “aggrieved party”.
It’s my job to teach people how to stop being made the sucker, and I’m proud to say our clients listen.
Someone coming after you? Button the beak. Take a beat. Think twice. Have a plan of response and play it out. Have a strategy.
Or wind up being the one losing in the exchange.