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.