Monday, 9 May 2011

Got a super injunction? Plan as if you didn't

The super-injunction debate will continue to roll. Should celebrities be entitled to protect their private lives? Or are super-injunctions a curb on freedom of speech. What today’s developments and the wikileaks expose have made clear is that social media and other technological developments have made it much harder, even impossible, to control what is published.

The more you would like to keep a story under wraps, the more newsworthy it is likely to become. Given the speed with which the story is like to break, if it does, then you need to have a communications plan already in place to ensure that you are able to take control of it as much as possible. Here are a few things you can do just in case.

  • Anticipate the reaction from different stakeholders to the story and what questions/ concerns it will raise
  • Draft responses and answers
  • Make sure you have a plan to address the most important stakeholders, ie wife/ husband, clients etc not just the most vocal ones. Ideally they should hear the story from you.
  • Accept responsibility – trying to shirk responsibility makes you look weak and avoids trust. Take responsibility where it is appropriate and disclose as fully as you can.
  • You won’t be able to talk with everyone. Have a plan about how to reach your wider stakeholders and what you will say. Will you be engaging with your fans on facebook? Or will you email all your clients directly? Alternatively it may be appropriate to hold a press conference or brief journalists one on one.
  • Avoid a slow trickle release of information – the longer it takes for all the information to come out, the longer the story lasts. Every time you issue a correction or reveal more details, the less credible everything else you have said becomes.
ETA: This is a guest post by Richard Ellis, PRCA Communications Director

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