It was a call like many I’ve had over the years. A good, well-meaning friend thinking he was doing me a favor … paying me the ultimate compliment: referring me a piece of business. The only problem was that his client whom he wanted me to talk with is in trouble.
Perhaps I look like a firefighter. But I’m not. We do put out fires … when our clients need us to, but those are clients we work with and for on an ongoing basis … people who clearly have recognized the need to communicate with their stakeholders. They have engaged us to help them protect their reputations, communicate their messages and be sure they have the needed relationships (media, community, employees, etc.) that enable them to communicate … in good times and bad.
We don’t just show up when someone is in trouble and wave a magic wand. Media and the public can tell the difference between a sincere effort to communicate and the words of a paid mouthpiece.
We’re not 911. So if this is the first time you’re communicating, and you’re in trouble, maybe you should call 911 because the flames may already be nipping at your heels.