By Meg Souza, Chapter Member
Being accused of using crack cocaine is something no one wants tied to his or her name. Just six months ago, Toronto’s Mayor Rob Forb was faced with such allegations. For the duration of the last few months, Ford has denied the rumors and videos that say otherwise. However, last Tuesday Ford called a press conference and finally admitted to the alleged rumors of being true as he has smoked crack cocaine before.
When it comes to a PR crisis, people have different views on what steps should be taken in order to prevent damaging one’s relationship, reputation, and overall name with the public.
“We always recommend to our clients, if something has gone wrong, if something has happened, admit it and move on,” says Mark Sherwin, president of Toronto-based crisis management firm CorpWorld, “But the longer the pursuit goes, the worse it is for the individual involved.”
Just like Sherwin, I also believe that you should admit your faults, as the truth will set you free. When you lie, you have to keep up with these lies, which will ultimately become a burden to your conscience because only you know the truth behind the lie. In Ford’s case, the longer he lied about the allegations, the more the public was interested in the scandal and the longer the crisis went on. If he had admitted his faults sooner, the crisis would not have prolonged the way it did.
Now when you look at this from a PR point of view, to just come clean one day after months of denial seems to be chaos in the eyes of Bill Walker, general manager of the PR firm Fleishman-Hilliard’s Toronto office. Ford admitting fault was a surprise to all, as many believed the press conference was called so Ford could resign as mayor, but that clearly was not the case.
When it comes down to it, what is Ford planning by finally coming clean after months? Is he trying to play the sympathy card with the public to get votes to win a re-election, or is he simply just sick of holding the burden of the lie on his shoulders? One will never know, but the fact that he waited six months to clear the air, the mayor has caused great damage to his name, and it will take a creative and well developed PR strategy to get him back to be seen in a good light with the public.
Photo Credit: http://wpmedia.news.nationalpost.com/2013/10/robford-conference.jpg?w=620&h=464