Portland law enforcement officials have cleared former Vice President Al Gore in the sex assault case filed by a massage therapist. Owning a crisis PR agency, I’d like to share my views on what’s next for Gore?
An acquittal in the court of law does not imply a similar outcome by the court of public opinion. Gore’s legal win received a mere fraction of the coverage enjoyed by the blockbuster harassment charges.It’s time for Gore to gin up his PR game to protect his “ambassador of global warming brand.” Here are some practical ways to recover from a crisis:
1. Break the silence: Strategically attract a top-tier media for a “softball” interview. This will get the attention necessary to put a positive spin on the resolved case, identify how easy it is to make false accusations, and how baffled you were by the accuser’s actions.
2. Make factual points: For example, the public was not present in the interrogation rooms. Only a few among the media mentioned that the allegedly harassed woman failed a polygraph test or that the case was closed for conflicting details in her testimony. Consider sharing these details to make a basic point of “knowing-the-facts” before making any judgments.
3. Present your new “you.” What’s next on your agenda? How will the public benefit from your service to the country, the environment, or any other cause you choose to promote. Make sure the public wants your name to be cleared – because you act for and represent the public’s best interest. Attract sympathy and support showing you’re willing to find new energies.
4. Inspire: The public loves comeback stories, so give them one. Make the private viewer relate to you by telling how this was a learning experience and how we all face ups, downs, and crises in our lives, which only need to strengthen us in our different directions.
5. Replace the news items under “Al Gore”: PR crises of the sexual kind are particularly hard to control and they don’t fade quickly. Internet searches will bring up results covering this humiliating topic, but it’s only true up until you provide some new items that relate to your true actions. Tiger Woods had to wait to replace his mess with the U.S Open scores and achievements. Your brand is associated with many more aspects of life, giving you the leverage to relate to various issues. Make sure to strategically bring us new news.
It’s not easy to recover from a crisis PR situation, but public figures can apply professional communication strategies to make, and even remake, their positive reputation. Every crisis is also an opportunity.