Public relations is one of the most challenging parts of heading up a company.
In a world where a small portion of your statement can be taken completely out of context, the way you say things and the principles behind your public relations interactions have more weight than a ton of lead. But you know that. It’s why you’re reading this article.
If you’re finding yourself constantly stumped when it comes to public statements and how to navigate the complexities of modern events, it may be time to go back to your mission statement and the core values of your business.
Everyone in business had to take some sort of stance when COVID hit the world, and your stance often dictated who was going to do business with you.
We knew that we would have to take some sort of stance on COVID: our place was precarious. As a security firm, our employees are guards who have to physically be on-site with other individuals and it was never an option for us to just brush the issue under the table. The issue itself was charged with so many vastly different opinions and positions that we weren’t going to be able to find a diplomatic position that pleased everyone.
Here’s what we did:
Instead of focusing on the world and the opinions of people who might disagree with us, we went back to our core values.
One of our core values is the freedom of the individual’s choice. Because of that, we knew we weren’t going to mandate vaccines for our employees. Instead, we took a risk/reward approach. Guards were allowed the freedom to choose whatever kind of protection they wanted as long as it complied with the client’s requirements, and we provided it. Additionally, we offered reward incentives for individuals who received the vaccine.
But never did we make a rule regarding the issue itself: we simply enforced our client’s wishes and moved guards who wouldn’t to different sites.
Apply it to Your Company
Instead of jumping first to “how do I calm down the media” when something changes, goes wrong, or you have to make a public statement, first go back to your core values.
Your company will have to take a stance for something, somewhere along the way. Which means that your first question should always be “what course of action aligns with our brand and company values?”
From there, you can begin to work on a well-crafted public statement on any problem. Sometimes, you may not even need a public statement. As with our situation, we simply instituted different operations systems and never actually needed to make a public statement.
So keep in mind: you don’t always have to make a public statement, sometimes all you have to do to address an issue is create a change within your company.
And when crafting a public statement, remember that what you don’t say is just as powerful as what you do say.
Opinions expressed by CEO Weekly contributors are their own.