If one of your athletes is involved in an issue which threatens to damage their reputation, you must respond in a timely manner.
Being up front and honest about the problem will make things easier in the long term.
The Athlete365 Personal Brand Toolkit can offer pertinent advice on how to manage an athlete’s image in the media.
Timing is key
We all make mistakes, that much is inevitable. What we can control is how we correct those mistakes. With the immediacy of breaking news nowadays, it’s vital that athletes understand how to combat any stories or revelations that damage their reputation.
While it is important to compose yourself and your athlete to prepare your outgoing message with a cool head, it’s also vital to clarify any issues as soon as possible. Waiting several days, or even several hours in some cases, can only lead to making the problem worse.
Tell the truth
This may seem like an obvious point, but it is one often forgotten by those in the middle of a PR crisis. Even if the truth might seem like a bad option at the time, dependent on circumstances, it is almost certain that the real story will come to the fore at some point in the future.
You must take it on your shoulders to come forward and tell the truth from your perspective to be in the best position to manage the aftermath. If it transpires at a later date that you were not truthful about the story, it can often become more damaging than the initial dilemma.
Resolving the issue
Showing regret and remorse for the incident in question is, of course, very important.
Your initial response to the matter should be to talk to those who are directly affected first, and to do it in private. Clarifying the circumstances and your position with others in a private setting can go a long way to clearing the air and establishing the ground for how to proceed with the next steps.
When making your public statement, make sure not to go into unnecessary detail. Of course, you need to acknowledge the incident, but don’t cross any lines that might make things worse.
Finally, be respectful and courteous, even if others are not towards you. Being the bigger person and actively working to resolve the issue will only work in your favour.
Want to hear more about handling your image in the media? Athlete365’s Personal Brand toolkit can help you control and grow your own brand.
We all make mistakes, that much is inevitable. What we can control is how we correct those mistakes.