How Do Others Do It?

September 25, 2013

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Consultants are expected to have repositories of examples available, because we serve multiple clients and each has every license to probe us for our experience. I get this question all the time, and concede that external examples certainly give color to any given situation, but I will also argue they will rarely resolve anything. Because authentic companies usually don’t care how others do it – they focus on how they can do it.

Taking some liberties with Robert Benchley’s Law of Distinction, it would read: “There are two kinds of companies in the world, those who believe there are two kinds of companies in this world and those who don’t.” Arguably, the latter stand a bigger chance of being perceived as authentic. But in extension, do authentic companies also stand a better chance of resolving their issues and crises?

It depends on the alignment of three things: their brand architecture, geographic footprint and corporate culture. A monolithic brand in one country may have an easier time responding to a crisis quickly than a branded house with a large multinational footprint. Additionally, Swedish management might apply authority and control differently than Korean or American executives, regardless of where their company operates in the world. And in that same, fast paced, social media driven world, everyone will have to navigate societies mired with endless legal, political and social variations.

The realization we strive to hammer home with every client, is that the market will decide if you are a winner or a loser within seven to ten days, of which the first 48 hours are critical. “Getting to grips” with that concept will only effectively work for leaders if they ensure that their brand, organization and culture are in alignment, and that differs within every company.

Don’t mind too much how others do it, organize your strategy so that it works for you, as you meet the expectations from stakeholders faster than you ever did before. In crisis communications, not every company needs to be authentic, but every company certainly should be quick and act with a resolve to take control.