Taming the Beast: Tiger Woods' Worst Enemy
As business owners, there are many good lessons that we can learn from celebrities and their PR representatives. Just look at the most popular scandal that was, and still continues to be, in the media day in and day out – Tiger Woods. If it were to have happened 5 years ago, could the majority of the damage been prevented? I would have to say yes.
The Way it Used To Be
If we jump back 5 years or more and a celebrity scandal or business guff were to have occurred, damage control would be much easier and reputations could possibly be saved.
The reason is simply because the medium over which the news traveled was much slower and could not reach as many people. News stories, depending on subject matter, would be released through certain channels that only catered to a certain percentage of the population and the news would only be published daily.
If we look at Tiger's example, if it were 5 years ago, his story would have only been released in the tabloids, entertainment news shows, and a few blogs; all of these catering to only a specific audience. And the thing about "specific audience" is that they usually hang out and socialize with people who are just like them or as Seth Godin would say; their tribe.
In this case the news would usually stay confined within certain groups and would not travel as fast to outsiders and therefore be much easier to control and put out the fires. Today things are different.
How Tiger Fell
It's all because of Social Media. The minute Tiger's car crash happened millions of people were already hearing about it. They were on Facebook, linking to the news story that one of their friends decided to "like" (give a thumbs up) from someone that they are friends with. Tiger Woods was a trending topic on Twitter – with links and comments happening by the second. Later there were parody videos published on YouTube. Everything online was all about Tiger and all of it was there in front of your eyes, whether you wanted it to be or not, within an hour, at most, of the news first breaking.
Now how is a celebrity PR specialist or a business supposed to manage their damage control when everything happens so fast?
Don't Go Into Hiding
The worst thing your business can do when bad news happens is to keep silent. If you don't address the problem the story will just keep spreading until there is nothing left you can do about it.
Your business should have eyes and ears in the field 24 hours a day. This doesn't mean you have to be active for 24 hours, you just have to have the tools that will help you out.
Setup some Google Alerts and have it email your Blackberry or iPhone using the "As it Happens" option. Use products like Radian6 which also allows you to monitor the dialogue on the social web. Just don’t sit and do nothing.
There are a number of other tools and services that you can add to your tool belt to help you get to the front lines on any mention of your company, product, or service. All you need to do is be prepared to put out the fires before they spread out of control.