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Media Training: Your messaging matters

By Suzanne Spurgeon  July 6, 2016

Media training for executives is about more than learning to speak in sound bites and getting comfortable on-camera.  

The most important element of media training is your messaging.  Are you promoting and protecting your brand in all media platforms?  Do you know how to recover if events take you off message?  Take a look at some recent examples of how others responded when mistakes tarnished their image. 

The Red Cross is apologizing after one of its swimming pool safety posters was called out as racist.  The problem came to light on Twitter and the organization reacted promptly--pulling the poster. The Red Cross says it is committed to diversity, but clearly the artwork did not raise the red flags that it should have during the approval process.  This poster is a good example of how an organization can torpedo its own messaging.  Whether your message is conveyed on a poster, in a blog post or in a TV interview, you need to see it through the eyes of your audience or stakeholders.  Take a look around.  How diverse is your workforce?  Are the decision-makers a true representation of society or do they look more like they belong on “Mad Men?"

Dunkin Donuts is in repair mode after a viral video showed a store manager dropping donuts on the floor and then placing them back on a shelf for sale.   This disgusting thing happened at one franchise restaurant but it was necessary for the company's global office to respond--reassuring the donut-eating public that this was an anomaly. At the location in question the manager is gone but they need a good PR campaign to win back their regular customers.  Free donuts couldn't hurt.

University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey took quick action after a live video appeared on Periscope that demonstrated very poor judgment by two EMT's.  
They  decided to grab a burger rather than responding to a call, and to live stream a video of the offense. They were forced to resign and the hospital made it clear no patients were harmed because of the EMT's behavior.   You can only imagine the crisis the hospital would be facing if a patient was impacted by this.

It is important to get back on message as quickly as possible to set things right when situations like these occur.  Customers/clients/stakeholders need to be assured that your brand is worthy of their support.  








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