There are myriad reasons companies fumble responses, be it a social or political issue or a PR crisis. Obvious reasons include moving too quickly, without thinking much about external or internal implications of what you’re saying or doing and what it could mean for your business. The lack of a wide perspective can result when PR pros are excluded from the decision-making process.
Sometimes a bungled response is viewed best as a combination of the likes and dislikes of those humans who crafted it. As former Burson-Marsteller chair Jim Lindheim said about companies responding to PR crises, “Egos, fear, organizational tensions, panic, personal agendas [and] strong personalities in the C-suite can get in the way.”
Using Lindheim’s personality-driven view of interpreting corporate behavior, it seems fair that emotion is a driving force in how companies arrive at decisions on what to respond to, when and how.
Yet when you’re in the heat of a situation, emotion and loud voices can overtake reasoned thinking. Sometimes this is the case when a company lurches from situation to situation without having formal guidelines for crafting responses.
Removing emotion from responses is part of the thinking behind STAR (Social Threat Analysis and Response), a tool that Washington, D.C.-based ROKK Solutions created several years ago for a global pharmaceutical company struggling with responding to external social issues.
Essentially, STAR is a framework in the form of a scorecard.
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