It's not fair, but it's true: Perception of your company can hinge on a single incident. And it doesn't matter what else you've done. Here's how to turn a negative situation to your favor:

  • Think before you speak. Be sure you understand the situation, as well as any other related aspects of your company, before you speak publicly.
  • Provide a frame of reference. Remember, people don't know what you know about your company.
  • Don't try to hide. Be honest about what happened, why it happened and what you're doing about it.
  • Get some training in dealing with the media. Your spokesperson needs to look and sound as professional as your best marketing materials. Designate and train him or her before any crisis occurs.