A few months ago I personally experienced an episode that perfectly exemplified the importance of fully understanding the power of the media, especially during legal proceedings. A person of public standing wanted to hire me specifically for the market launch of his product. It was a revolutionary service that had enormous chances of success. The road seemed so clear that the businessman could only heard the chimes of glory. Even the investors were on board, determined to finance the project.
There was only one problem. Our entrepreneur was immersed in legal proceedings. I tried to convince him that it was crucial that he this into account when designing his communication strategy. I warned him that not doing so would negatively impact his business. He ignored me. He insisted that one thing had nothing to do with the other, that they were two different issues and that, besides, the legal trouble was in its last final stages.
Quite evidently, the media didn’t understand it in that way. Just a few hours after launching new brand before the public to great acclaim, journalists threw harpoons and dragged our budding entrepreneur down right back in his place, certainly not where he wanted to be. Inevitably, the product suffered and so did the image of its mastermind. But even that wasn’t the most important thing. The investors who, quite logically, follow the media, started to believe that there was some risk in their investment and chose to abandon what they thought was a sinking ship.
A different approach would have saved the project, no doubt, and today things would have fared differently for the entrepreneur. Designing an adequate communication strategy with experts in the legal field, knowing how to adapt it to every circumstance and executing it with flexibility are crucial not only to successfully weather the media storm, but also to take advantage of the wave and improve the reputation of the client. Glory is never assured in this of communication, but putting the right means puts things on track.
Director of Proa Comunicación in the Valencian Autonomous Community