The CEO—the top dog—is not necessarily the best choice every time.
Here’s the bottom line: Is your spokesperson capable of connecting with stakeholders in a compelling, compassionate, and credible manner?
Does he or she have grace under fire? Does this person keep his or her emotions under control? Is the spokesperson authentic and convincing?
Disasters and crises are defining moments. They are the biggest test of a company’s (even a nation’s) values. Rudy Giuliani became a hero and household name as New York mayor on Sept. 11, 2001. President George Bush’s slide began when he took three days to properly respond to hurricane Katrina. BP’s Tony Hayward was sidelined not long after his now infamous, “I want my life back” quote during the disastrous Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
So what makes a good spokesperson in a crisis, and why?
First, the question of the CEO: Should he or she be the default spokesperson in a crisis? After all, the CEO is (or should be) the most prized communications asset at a company’s disposal.