Herman Cain — Lack of response

To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com

Larry Litwin’s The Public Relations Practitioner’s Playbook clearly lays out what one should do when faced with a crisis.

In response to GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain’s mishandling of facts and accusations, this is what experts say. The advice parallels The PR Playbook’s Chapter 14 — Crisis Communications.

This shifting story is a problem for the Cain campaign, says Jack Pitney, who appeared on NPR’s “Morning Edition” on Nov. 1

“This is not good political damage control,” said Pitney, a professor of government at Claremont (Calif.) McKenna College. He says inconsistency from a campaign can be much more damaging than the initial charge.

“They should have been prepared with a response right from the get go. Get your facts straight. Get your side of the story out and stick to it. And an inconsistent response, or even worse an inaccurate response, just worsens the problem that you’re facing.

Pitney says it’s not clear whether this is something Cain will recover from, or whether it’s the beginning of the end for his presidential run.

Republican political consultant Todd Harris says Cain cannot sit by. This is a story will not soon go away (thanks in no small part to 24/7 news).

Says Harris: “If they are simply just hoping that it goes away, I’m afraid they’re going to be as ill-prepared tomorrow and the next day as they have been this past week.”

Harris says a crisis like this bumps a campaign off its message. The campaign loses control. “That’s why it’s so important in a crisis situation to deal with it as quickly as you possibly can to pivot back onto your message, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to deal with it.”

As stated in Litwin’s The PR Practitioner’s Playbook, within minutes of a crisis, gather the facts and then:

Tell it first

Tell it fast

Tell it all

Tell it yourself

Litwin’s books are available at all major bookstores, click and mortar or brick and mortar, and on www.larrylitwin./com.

To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com