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How to Save your Reputation during a Media Crisis

Something has gone wrong. Your reputation, your brand is under fire. How should you respond to protect your reputation?

The strategy you choose today will make or break your candidacy tomorrow. You’ll need to use the best-suited communications strategy possible to extinguish the fiery news that’s burning up your positive reputation.

Consider three strategies from the following situations:

Situation #1

Your actions have brought about negative public attention


Own up to the incident. In other words, if you’ve caused damage that creates massive public outcry, you’ve got to take responsibility for the incident and apologize to your victims.

Cautionary Tale

Last week, a “liberal” and “progressive” candidate apologized all over himself after Time Magazine leaked a 2001 photo of him in “brownface.” News representatives asked if there were other occasions and he volunteered a second instance of racist make up during an immediate apology via the press. But wait. There’s more. The candidate’s opposing conservative party discovered a third incident and gave to a news outlet. The 1990’s video revealed the candidate dancing and singing while wearing blackface. The positive lesson is that Trudeau came out quickly with an apology. The downside is, he didn’t fully disclose all the incidents when asked and now he’s viewed by many as unethical and untrustworthy.

Situation #2

Someone has accused you of some wrongdoing and the accusation will damage your reputation.


You’ve got to defend yourself. Defend yourself fiercely. Be unapologetic and unrelenting.

Cautionary Tale

Representative Tony Cardenas has reportedly spent nearly $150K fighting a civil lawsuit that accused him of sexual misconduct against a minor. Cardenas vehemently denied the allegations. His lawyer said the suit came from the daughter of a disgruntled former employee. The young woman has since dropped the suit.

Situation #3

Someone has accused you of something minor; it’s not true, and the accusation won’t destroy your brand.


Don’t spend a lot of time on it. Deny it, or possibly ignore it, and get back to work.

Cautionary Tale

In a small news blip, Representative Ilhan Omar was accused of marrying her brother and being the cause of her political consultant’s divorce. She denied the incidents and has since refused to make further comments.

How to cope?

Attacks against your reputation and/or business brand can come out of nowhere. You can’t predict them or stop them from happening to you. The best thing you can do is work daily to strengthen your relationships and your image. Building support and goodwill in your community will help buffer you during the crisis.

Disclaimer: Disclaimer: Every situation has its own set of facts and nuances. These three guidelines provide overarching guidelines that may or may not prove successful in YOUR circumstance. We recommend you seek consultation with a communications professional to be sure.

If you have any questions or concerns, contact me at