Bob, what were you thinking?
Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, is a public relations case study on what not to do. If he has a team of publicists, he certainly isn’t listening to them.
If you aren’t familiar with Kraft’s troubles, you can read up on it here.
When news broke of Kraft’s run-in with the law, his PR team would have taken the following steps.
Identify the players: There is more than one person or organization in this case: 1) Robert Kraft, billionaire and 2) the New England Patriots, reigning Super Bowl champs.
Analyze the game play: Take time to understand the crisis and its potential impact and map out worst-case scenarios. Document the facts and make sure everyone is on the same page. Do not let emotions rule the day.
Huddle up: Get everyone in one room, explain the game plan, elect spokespeople, crisis lead and get moving.
Set rules: No social media, no off-the-record comments, no on-the-record comments and no third parties.
Start the clock: Respond quickly and correct false information. Admit mistakes and accept wrongdoing. Always provide honest, direct and consistent information to media, staff and other affected parties.
The first rule of crisis communication is to hire a PR firm before a crisis happens. The second is to listen to them. If you refuse to abide by rules 1 and 2, then best of luck to you.
If all else fails, find a time machine, hire a PR firm to write a crisis communication plan and remind yourself to not break the law.