SportBusiness – Calm head in a crisis: 7 ways to deal with a negative news story

“IT IS RARELY THE CRISIS that destroys a reputation – it is how you deal with it that shapes the future.”

So said David Alexander, managing director of independent sports PR consultancy Calacus when SportBusiness International asked him to reflect on the way that Maria Sharapova handled the news of her recent drug offence.

Ignoring for a second whether Sharapova was guilty of doping, or indeed whether it was sensible for her to say so much in her press conference now that Wada has issued new guidance about Meldonium (see page 13), Alexander has a grudging respect for the choreography of the Los Angeles press conference and Sharapova’s performance in front of the cameras.

“She was humble and proactive, took responsibility and accepted that she had let down her fans and her sport, rather than focusing on her own personal reputational damage as some sports stars may have done.”

So what else can we learn from the Russian star’s story?

1. ESTABLISH THE FACTS

2. TAILOR THE RESPONSE TO THE CRISIS

3. SELECT THE MEDIUM AND THE SPOKESPERSON

4. BE CONSISTENT

5. BE CIRCUMSPECT ON SOCIAL MEDIA

6. SPIKE THE POLITICIANS (AND THE ‘JERKS’)

7. KEEP YOUR STAKEHOLDERS INFORMED

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