DRIVE AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO
Just two days after New York’s new Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a major new initiative to prevent traffic deaths and slow drivers down, a local TV crew caught the mayor’s two-car caravan blowing through two stop signs in Queens, changing lanes without signaling, ignoring stop signs and speeding, putting drivers and pedestrians alike at risk. During a subsequent press conference, the mayor refused to answers any questions on the incident and left it to the Police Commissioner to comment (who by the way defended the mayor’s transgressions on the weak premise of ‘security’). This despite the promise he made during the election of transparency should he win as Mayor.
The Mayor’s handling of his administration’s first crisis, and the advice given to him by his PR team, was dead wrong. We would have advised the Mayor differently. The basic tenant of Crisis PR is to get ahead of a crisis, be honest, own up to your transgressions, provide the facts and apologize – be transparent. Whether you are a mayor of the country’s largest city, the CEO of a company, involved in copyright infringement or a physician being sued, once you lose the trust of the press and the public it is hard to earn it back. Mayor de Blasio would have been far better served if he had responded to all of the press questions with honor and integrity.
A hard lesson learned.