Once these messages have been created, the next step is to find a credible way to introduce them into the interview, regardless of whether the reporter asks about them.
Ansell also shared the framework to use if and when shop owners find their business is in the news, and the news isn’t positive.
The framework, called the problem-solution formula, consists of one sentence, helps influence how reporters tell the story and can be used with customers too.
“In the front part of the sentence, answer, acknowledge, address or frame your problem from your perspective; in the back-end of the sentence, provide whatever solution is at hand,” he said. “Put the problem and solution together in one sentence.”
Although it goes against his short-sentence rule, if the reporter uses a quote that mentions the problem, Ansell said there’s an elevated likelihood that he or she will quote the person talking about the solution.
Ansell offered an example of a sentence that meets the problem-solution formula criteria and could be used in the case of someone at a shop doing something he or she shouldn’t have been doing: “We are deeply distressed that a customer was treated in this manner and we not only apologize and reimburse the customer, but we also terminated the employee responsible.”
“Owning a problem, especially one that’s in the news, requires people to take ownership of their problems,” said Ansell. “Not only is it the right thing to do, but it also makes it go away faster.”
Ansell lectures on crisis communications at Harvard Business School and on leadership presence at Duke University. For more than a decade, he was an instructor in an MIT-Harvard public disputes program called Dealing with an Angry Public.
For more information, contact Jeff Ansell firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about CSN Collision Centres, visit www.csncollision.ca.