Weathering a #GuptaLeaks fallout
Weathering highly topical, negative PR can be a nightmarish experience. A glance at any daily newspaper recently will confirm that. Behind the scenes, companies are lining up PR strategists or hiding their heads in the sand, hoping any potentially damaging business practices they have been involved in will blow over quietly.
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The bad news is – they probably won’t. Not if you’ve been tarnished with the #GuptaLeaks brush. If your company is somehow implicated in questionable local deals, you can expect to be splashed across newspapers and possibly even featured in cartoons and memes. So how should you prepare to weather such a storm?
Have an in-house discussion
I recommend that you start with open and honest discussions in-house. Don’t let management discover via the media that there are questions around your business practices. Bring in your legal team and risk managers to examine every deal that could be questioned, and assess the risk exposure should these deals go public.
Prepare to be transparent with shareholders and the public. Brace yourself for independent investigations. Have a strategy ready to rectify any questionable practices.
Then call in expert communicators. You’ll need a holding statement ready in case your name comes up next in the #GuptaLeaks saga. Have a senior spokesman briefed and ready to go public with the company statement whenever the ‘phone rings. Whatever you do, don’t try to avoid the media – this story is one that won’t go away.
As with most PR nightmares, transparency, communication, and a genuine effort to rectify any wrongs are the most effective way to weather bad publicity.