Finweek English Edition - - INSIGHT: LOCAL -

Os­car Pis­to­rius’s trig­ger event was the tragic shoot­ing of Reeva Steenkamp on Valen­tine’s Day. Ini­tial re­ports were that it was an ac­ci­dent. Once the alarm bell was trig­gered, it was dif­fi­cult to de­ter­mine the facts, spec­u­la­tion was ram­pant and mes­sag­ing went hay­wire across the sys­tem.

In this phase, ef­forts are made by the cri­sis man­ager to ar­rest the sit­u­a­tion, con­tain the level of spec­u­la­tion and es­tab­lish com­mand of the com­mu­ni­ca­tion lines.

Tac­ti­cally, a cri­sis team must be con­sti­tuted, a spokesper­son ap­pointed and a cri­sis cen­tre es­tab­lished. In this phase, team Os­car re­sponded by hir­ing an ex­pert le­gal team and called in heavy-weight PR guru Stu­art Hig­gins, former ed­i­tor of The Sun, to deal with me­dia. Un­like a cor­po­rate brand, a per­son brand does not read­ily have cri­sis back-up re­sources and the sys­tem is paral­ysed. There­fore, the cri­sis man­ager has to act swiftly to ex­pand the team’s ca­pac­ity to with­stand the mount­ing force coming at it from all sides.

As news of the story broke, there were many gaps. As

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