Do we have any Scandal lovers out there? Some of the Wellington Group team are absolutely obsessed with the show and are always anxiously waiting each week to see what Olivia Pope will do next. If you’re unfamiliar with the show, Olivia is the owner of a crisis management consultancy firm and is the go-to “fixer” in Washington, D.C. Her team, known as the gladiators in black suits, offers solutions for various problems ranging from White House scandals to criminal secrets. Intense, right?
As we mentioned in our recent post, Common Marketing Mistakes, mistakes our bound to happen. Whether you’re dealing with a company crisis or a personal problem, here are three things that Olivia Pope has taught us about dealing with our dilemmas:
Timing is everything
When responding to a crisis, every second counts. At Pope & Associates, Olivia divides and conquers. This is a great strategy that allows her to work quickly and effectively. Be speedy, but don’t forget to breathe.
An example of this is the Taco Bell “scandal” that occurred in 2011 when the company was sued on the claims that their seasoned beef contained less beef than they stated in their advertising. Within days, management at Taco Bell released a new advertisement that read, “Thank you for suing us. Here is the truth about our seasoned beef.” Because Taco Bell was quick on their feet, the lawsuit was dropped and loyal customers were still staying: “Yo Quiero Taco Bell.”
Be a glass window
Why a glass window? Because it’s clear and transparent. During times of trouble, it is absolutely necessary to be honest. Don’t be afraid to take responsibility for your faults. The more clarity you offer, the more relatable you will become to customers, potential clients or others. Maybe that’s why Olivia’s office is full of glass windows?
To get a better idea on how to be transparent, look at the CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings. In 2011, he sent an apology e-mail to his customers where the first sentence read: “I messed up. I owe you an explanation.” He went on to discuss the recent price changes and split between the DVD and streaming businesses. Mr. Hastings took the blame and offered a clear explanation of the changes that were occurring. Olivia would be proud.
Lastly, always remember to seize the day. Every crisis has the potential to become an opportunity for your company to grow. After all, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. Not only can you save your image, but you can also strengthen your brand. Whether it’s the PR you maintain, the campaign you begin, or the way you interact through social media – your weakness can become your strength.
What other strategies has Olivia Pope taught you about crisis management? We’d love to hear them!