Getting Ready for “60 Minutes” — or not.
We have prepared a number of clients for major public appearances — including the crucible of “60 Minutes”. Often the real challenge is persuading clients that it is not always in their best interest to appear on “60 Minutes” or any other high profile program. Just because “60 Minutes” offers an enormous audience doesn’t mean it is the right audience. It is almost always more complicated than simply “telling your own story.” Knowing your story, understanding its vulnerabilities, and having clear objectives are factors that must be considered.
Managing the response to the outbreak of a contagious disease.
The SARS outbreak in Asia was a major international public health and economic issue. We developed a three-phase plan to respond to the crisis for a government most affected by the outbreak. In a factual and transparent way we were able to reassure the various internal and external constituencies that the process of containment and response was methodical and thorough. These stakeholders included governments, international organizations, the global media and private enterprise. Once the medical issues were under control we provided the strategy to rebuild the social, political and economic links vital to getting the country back on track.
Beware of unintended consequences.
Ideally, decision-makers look at the broadest implications of their decisions before taking action. Too often, however, narrow decisions are made and unintended consequences emerge. In one instance, there was a very dicey situation involving a foreign government and a creditor wanting to re-possess jet airliners from a national air carrier that was in default. It is a tricky exercise in the best of circumstance, but in this case it could have left thousands of World Cup followers stranded and caused an international diplomatic and PR crisis. The worst outcome was averted because our client understood the broader implications of the repossession and adjusted strategy and tactics. A very public disaster was avoided while the business objective of repossessing the aircraft was achieved.
Nothing focuses the mind quite like a coup d’etat.
A coup d’etat is the most extreme form of crisis. Tensions are high, the guns are out, and it is make or break for leaders on both sides. In real time we offered our client a clear strategy and set of actions that led to a successful resolution without bloodshed or ignominious media coverage. In yet another coup attempt, we worked quickly to resolve lingering issues that included suspension of liberties, and brought the entire equilibrium back to normal within a week. Not every crisis involves a coup, but it does involve leadership, smart thinking, a good plan and perfect execution.
Unlocking the value of a company one step at a time.
A certain client was like Velcro when it came to bad news: everything stuck. As a regulated industry with high consumer interaction, a simple Google search was like a rap sheet. First, we recommended renaming and rebranding the company to indicate a fresh start. Second, we developed a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy that move d out the bad and replaced it with more positive reflections of the company. Finally, we aligned the company’s public policies with its new profile. In the end the company was sold with a decent return for its shareholders.
Meet Christopher Dorval
Christopher Dorval has served at the highest levels of business and government – at the White House, State Department, U.S. corporate suites and foreign capitals alike.
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