Don’t get caught with your pants down when it comes to harmful misinformation
The Right Honorable Sir Winston Churchill knows a thing or two about crisis management, having been a driving force in UK politics through the first and second World Wars. His career requires little recap, so let’s move directly into the Crisis Management Quotable from the man who was named the “Greatest Briton of all time”:
“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” — Winston Churchill
Whether through personal of business experience, we’re all familiar with how quickly harmful rumor and innuendo can spread. After all, in most cases bad news is much more exciting than good news. And, conscious or not, people tend to seek out a touch of schadenfreude.
How do you get your figurative pants on and get ahead of lies racing around the world? It’s simple – get your side of the story in front of the eyes that matter. Using whatever tools necessary, frequently social media, specialized web pages, press releases, or interviews, you show stakeholders that you are the premiere source of information about the situation. Could this result in having to share some unhappy news? Almost certainly. But, the news shared will be accurate, and in the same breath you will have the opportunity to explain how things happened and what you’re doing to set them right.
Preparing the infrastructure needed to swat down untrue information after a crisis breaks is possible, but it cuts into valuable recovery time and all-but guarantees you’ll take more damage than necessary. If you really want to get your pants on in time to stop the damage that comes with misinformation, you’ll have pre-approved messaging, “dark” websites, and communications platforms in place and waiting to be used.