In a previous post, I talked about how being a public relations professional helps me think on my feet to work around threats.
In conducting and updating my SWOT analysis for this wedding, one of the opportunities for the bridal party turned into a serious threat:
The bridesmaid dresses didn’t fit 40% of the bridal party!
Now with less than 30 days to the wedding, I had to think fast to avoid raising the bride’s stress levels. Well it turns out my solution worked!
Here is how I turned an original opportunity that changed to a threat back to another opportunity…and technically into a strength.
The bridesmaid dresses are one of the most expensive items to acquire for the wedding. Normally this would entail the bridal party to go dress shopping and place the dress on order. In this particular instance, we decided to go the least expensive route and find a dress on a website. Pretty dress but to our disbelief, the FIT didn’t work out for our curvaceous features. We took the risk and lost.
It’s now less than 30 days to the wedding. There was no way we could order dress to have them arrive in time and even if they did, the fit out would not be favorable. With two bridesmaids not being able to fasten the hooks, I decided to throw a ribbon on it and have all the bridesmaids wear a ribbon around their waist to cover the hooks.
It was my job to break the news to the bride but I had to make sure I present it in a way that would ease her worries. The sandwich method helped (start good, drop the bad, top it off with good):
Complimented the beauty of the dress
State that the dress could not be secured for a couple of bridesmaids due to the tight fit
Offered a solution that would solve any issues AND compliment the colors of the wedding
After having the bride check with her wedding planner, the ribbon worked and would not clash with any other decor. Whew, crisis averted. I Pope’ed it! This ribbon not only solves a problem but includes the bride’s favor color more in her wedding vision.
Anyone can complain and pout but the resilient figure out a way to make it happen. Most entrepreneurs push and strive to see their vision come to life so get out there and MAKE IT HAPPEN!
The National Football League is clearly in the public eye regarding all of the domestic violence scandals brought on by such players as Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and Greg Hardy. It has been harsh criticism towards how NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, handled the Ray Rice’s disciplinary action. There is even more pressure on what the “standard” disciplinary action should be within the NFL for players who are irrefutably responsible domestic violence situations. Accountability throughout the NFL was dropped over these scandals.
The NFL has yet to lose any sponsors over this yet however they are requests from media buyers asking to shift their ads during Viking and Ravens games. Players have personally lost endorsement deals including Rice’s endorsement with Nike.
Here are 6 leadership lessons, originally provided by Clinton Colmenares and paraphrased by me, for any organization to reference when they’re in a sticky situation:
PR is strategic. It should not be used to “spin” stories, especially in favor of the ones at fault.
Find out ALL the facts. In the Rice incident, it was the implication that the NFL had no knowledge of the video of Rice in an elevator showing physically attacking his then fiancée although the Associated Press says differently. Plausible deniability is not an effective tactic in public relations as everything, especially in a huge viral scandal, will come to light.
Be honest with stakeholders. The initial punishment for Rice was a two-game suspension. The NFL probably didn’t think the video would go viral months after initial punishment was implemented. Now Rice is suspended indefinitely, thus showing the NFL was not serious about punishing its’ players. The league also mentioned that they would conduct an “independent investigation.” Reporters easily noted that the investigator had NFL ties and would answer to NFL owners.
Think long-term. The Rice incident happened back in February but it went viral in September with the release of the video. In this case “no news is good news” did not work in the NFL’s favor.
Get ahead of bad news. The NFL should have used this tip back in February. If the public knew that action is being taken, people are more forgiving. If you have to explain, you’re losing wrong and you’ve lost control over the situation
Rely on values. Continuing to allow bad decisions based on poor judgement and weak values to be made can be the decline of an organization. It can become a societal issue. Controversies, particularly within the NFL (domestic violence, concussions, player violence, substance abuse) can and have created mistrust, inefficiencies, and chaos before the situations became public.
When the NFL still had control over the situation, they should have:
Found out the facts
Got everyone to sign non-disclosure agreements that had access to the video
Held a press conference about Rice’s suspension only disclosing what’s necessary, noting that he will be receiving the help that he needs.
What else can you think of that an organization can keep in mind for a crisis?