A PR team should know its clients’ dark secrets

The News Corp. scandal offers reminders about getting to the bottom of a crisis. You don’t want to take on a client and find out later that they’ve been lying to you.

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If they are, then find out who knew about it and what they are planning to do about it.

Based on these findings, you can formulate an effective response plan or decide that maybe this is not the client for you to represent. It gets down to whether you want to become a dartboard if it is true, or an advocate for the other side of the story if it is false.

The latter, easier approach might help you sleep better at night.

Even a client who has done wrong deserves a chance at accuracy through public relations representation. It comes down to a different approach, one focused on providing a defensive plan with minimal comments. For this approach, get a tough skin.

In a better scenario, you can offer a client a chance to offer a real apology and effective reforms. Remember, the public tends to forgive in light of public apologies and promises to do better.

A prime example of the importance of asking these crucial questions is the exploding phone-hacking scandal that is threatening to take down Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.

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