Sunday, November 09, 2008

Crisis Communication

London, UK

Graham Jones recently posted this about the Jonathan Ross/Russell Brand affair. Graham criticises the BBC for dragging its feet whilst those 27,000 complaints rolled in to the Corporation's switchboard.

Jonathan Ross, Russell Brand and your web site

Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand are at the centre of a perfect storm - it's got everything; sex, money, jealousy, a grandfather, an attractive young woman, an iconic corporation, stardom, - the list goes on. However, it's a story that could have been knocked on the head within hours, rather than allowing it to drag on for almost two weeks.

It was a stupid prank, a juvenile stunt and an indication of weakening editorial standards within the BBC. But while the world is suffering recession, people are being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the USA is about to select the most powerful man in the world, two so-called "comedians" have dominated the news agenda in the UK for days on end. Why?

The reason is simple; a complete mis-handling of the crisis by the BBC top brass. They have dithered, delayed and danced around the issue, rather than being decisive. Research on crisis communications has shown consistently that what we want is immediate, decisive action that shows the bosses understand our perspective. When a company is in the doo-doo we expect the boss to act immediately. We expect the boss to see it from our perspective - not the company's. We expect the communication to be consistent and swift.

What have the BBC given us? Bosses that remained silent for over 10 days, bosses that disagreed with each other in public and bosses that were telling us about their internal perspective. Indeed, it's taken almost a fortnight for the Director General to say a word - that's a resignation offence in itself. In other words, the BBC that reports week-in, week-out on the crises of other companies has shown it does not even understand the principles of crisis communications itself. That's the real issue here - how inept the top brass at the BBC have revealed themselves to be. They have allowed a rather silly and embarrassing event to escalate into a full-scale disaster for the organisation. People wonder why we are spending money on "talent" like Jonathan Ross, but I wonder why we are spending money on such poor management and a clear lack of leadership.

To read the rest of Graham's article, go here


Anonymous said...

The BBC certain has a lot to answer for.

James Higham said...

There is considerable egg on quite a few faces.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Indeed James. This may cause the BBC untold trouble.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for pointing me in the direction of this interesting article, Jeremy.

My own blog features a post about this matter and the difference between humour and humiliation.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Tx Nick. One mustn't humiliate another. Understanding and empathy ought to be the order of the day.


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