THE TRIGGER EVENT
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