A study commissioned by the @deanshaw Institute indicates that the majority up America couldn’t could less about the outcome of this year’s Super Bowl. Based on a survey of one respondent the results clearly showed that from coast to coast there was very little interest in who the eventual winner would be. There were three outliers in the data clustered around Maryland and Northern California. There also appeared to be strong interest in Southern Nevada.
In a related study, it was determined that 97% of people would rather pour buffalo wing sauce in their eyes than see Ray Lewis do that stupid dance again. The other 3% classified themselves as legally blind.
Granted she is just the smokin’ hot young actress from the Twilight series, but if the acting thing doesn’t work out Kristin Stewart might have a career as the world’s great Crisis Management Consultant. No really, I’m serious about that. Witness her recent scandal where she was caught canoodling with the very-married and 20 years her senior, director of the Twilight series, Rupert Sanders.
Her response to the allegations were straight from the “Here’s how you handle a crisis” playbook. Let’s take a look:
On July 17, 2012, the actress was caught by photographers in a series of steamy rendezvous with her Snow White and the Huntsman director, Rupert Sanders, 41 and on July 24th those photos were splashed across the pages of US Weekly.
On July 25, 2012 Stewart issues the following statement to People Magazine:
I’m deeply sorry for the hurt and embarrassment I’ve caused to those close to me and everyone this has affected. This momentary indiscretion has jeopardized the most important thing in my life, the person I love and respect the most, Rob. I love him, I love him, I’m so sorry.
So what did she do right?
1. She responded quickly. Rather than let the media or tabloids (are they the same things?) drive the narrative, she immediately responded to the allegations. By owning the story you own the direction it takes. Typically, companies will adopt the “close your eyes and cover your ears” response and hope it will all go away. As John Edwards will tell you, it doesn’t always happen that way
2. She told the truth – Many crisis experts will recite the adage “it’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up.” Isn’t that right President Nixon? Rather than to the typical knee jerk “The allegations are totally false and I will work aggressively to clear my name” routine, Stewart admitted to the affair and in doing so neutered the story in its tracks. Is any of this making any sense to you U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner?
3. Her statement was brief and to the point. Rather than write a soliloquy explaining herself she stuck with a simple, matter of fact admission. No excuses. No detailed explanation. This is in contrast to the epic Tiger Woods’ explanation of his sordid affairs which almost needed commercial break s it was so long.
4. She apologized – There was no finger pointing, no scapegoating, just a simple admission and apology. She didn’t even name her canoodling partner. Is this making any sense Time magazine writer, Washington Post columnist, and CNN host Fareed Zakaria?
5. She was sincere – Her statement is an obvious heartfelt apology. This wasn’t something run through her publicists or legal team and it shows. Any of this sinking in Rush Limbaugh?
Of course, her perfect response to the allegation put her “team” into panic mode as they worked to downplay and even deny the affair, which only served to bring focus back on the rumors when Stewart had effectively squashed the story. This brings us to another rule of crisis management:
6. Manage the crisis through a clear and consistent message – preferably through a designated spokesperson. In this case Stewart was that spokesperson. By contradicting her statement they have only reignited the scandal and begged the media to wonder what really happened. Way to go overzealous publicist people.
Has she taking her lumps? Of course she has and so will you. But she minimized the damage by following a perfectly executed crisis management plan. And if losing that douchebag Robert Pattinson is part of the punishment then I would say she’s already way ahead!
So say what you will about Kristen Stewart’s acting chops, but if you’re ever in need of a good Crisis Communication Consultant give the Trampire a call because she probably handled her crisis better than you’ll handle yours.
Men don’t care what’s on TV. They only care what else is on TV. – Jerry Seinfeld
Recently Jeremiah Owyang (@jowyang) tweeted a photo from the stage of his panel at SXSWi. His intent was to show the throng of people who had showed up for his early morning panel. I’d like to discuss how attending a 9:30 a.m. panel classifies one as a “morning bird”, but that post is for another day. What struck me about his picture is the fact that not one, let me repeat that, “NOT ONE” of the people pictured in his audience is in a conversation with their neighbor. Seriously, look. Everyone’s attention is focused on whatever is happening on their mobile device. Here we are at SXSWi – the “i” stands for “Interactive” by the way – and there isn’t one person “interacting”. An entire conference focused on how to engage with people, communicate your message, develop your digital listening skills, and we have an audience doing none of that…
I’ll admit that I am being hypocritical here, and I am as fused to my phone as anyone. Hell, I’m not even paying attention to myself as I write this because I’m more curious as to what’s going on in my Facebook news stream. But this photo is stunning to me. When did we become so adept and aware of the importance of communication yet completely lose the ability to communicate?
Everywhere I go, I see the scene in Jeremiah’s audience playing out. In airports, malls, family gatherings, and most frighteningly, behind the wheel of cars!!! We have become so consumed with consuming the world within our mobile devices that we no longer notice the real world go on around us.
Technology allows us to do magical things that we couldn’t have dreamt about even 10 years ago. And that is a good thing. But it has also made us slaves to those things. Paraphrasing Seinfeld, we don’t want to know what’s going on around us; we want to know what’s else is going on.
I got an idea. Let’s take some time everyday and look for opportunities to engage with the people around us, you know, like in the olden days before iphones, when we really communicated with each other. Next time you’re in the audience at an event, waiting for Jeremiah (or whomever) to tell you how important it is to communicate with your audience…communicate with your audience – those people around you – ya, that guy sitting right next to you. Stop tweeting, stop checking in, stop posting, stop texting, and stop browsing because that guy right next to you has a fascinating story to share, and so do you.