I've been fortunate to have been interviewed quite a few times by Sheelagh Caygill of global agency, Communicate Influence.
Here's a link to my main interview on reputation management.
And you can find other interviews on her really valuable and insightful site, including one about the writing of Stand Out and Step Up. Check it out !
Apologies are double edged swords.
Do it with truth and good heart and you may be forgiven or at least appreciated. Do it cynically or through a third party and see the wrath of a nation ( in this case) rise quicker than your gold medal winning mountain bike race win.
Yesterday, Simon Gaze won gold for himself and New Zealand. A proud moment for many. But amongst his celebrations, he managed to diss his compatriot and second placed, Anton Cooper and accuse him of bad sportsmanship. I'm not going into that part. What interested me was the statement that was made within hours by Gaze , apologising for his comments.
Now we will never know who engineered the statement and who crafted it but it sure didn't feel like Gaze. Having been involved in high profile sports campaigns for many years, I'm fully aware that trusted media representatives as well as the Chef de Mission are always ready with their damage limitation statements should the need arise ( and it inevitably always does). It is a fine line ( and a master skill) to write an authentic statement on behalf of someone and balance the needs of the national body and all the stakeholders that represents, including a nation of sports lovers who don't like ungracious winners ( or losers for that matter).
This one was not a great example. The statement was so slick and so polished and "appropriate" that it conveyed little sincerity but instead showed a massive lack in authenticity and therefore trust. If Gaze did write it - he should have been given assistance. I'm betting he didn't.
The authors of the statement didn't do Gaze any favours. It is a tough job but it's critical to get it right. Many reputations depend on it.
Today I joined over 200 people to listen to the (current) Prime Minister of New Zealand who has 3 days before the country decides whether they like what he and his Government have been doing or whether they want fresh blood.
It made me think about trust.
I found myself - as I usually am- more drawn to how he was presenting the information and who he was aiming to connect with rather than the carefully crafted content and also how he was projecting his authenticity. He did well. My immediate take is that he is a genuine man who has been thrust into a public arena that bows down to and celebrates the sound bite and snapchat. He may not be as polished as his predecessor but neither is he a show pony.
He instils trust. That's something that is not learned in media. training. He is authentic and I for one value that. Whether that's a view shared by the country in 3 days time, only time will tell.
Living your values is fundamental in building and developing your brand.
Re-reading that sentence I almost deleted it as it seems so obvious, sort of like 'the sun will rise in the morning and set in the evening'. It just does.
So why do so many people struggle with that. The values, not the sun bit!
Being real and honest in what you purport to be is one reason. Not really understanding your values is another. Whatever it is, we are reminded almost daily by those in the public eye ( and therefore under most scrutiny) that they are not living their brand ( today's example - think politician , ex Police Minister, breaking the rules publicly by driving with cellphone in hand etc etc...) .
But they're not alone.
If you want to be successful at whatever you do, be consistent in how you act and what you do. It's hard to come back from breaking the 'trust' of not actually being what you seem.