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Say Your Piece: Amid A Crisis, Telling Your Side Of The Story Can Retain Customers With One Foot Out The Door In a world where reputation is as valuable -if not more so- as revenue, I worry about startups that choose to stick their heads in the sand whenever they find themselves in a tight spot.

By Aby Sam Thomas

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

It's now been more than a month since news came out about a MENA startup getting rapped on its knuckles by regulators in the jurisdictions it operates in. Incidentally, that's also how long the rest of us have been waiting for a public statement from the company on this matter.

For an enterprise that invests significantly in its marketing and public relations outreach, I found its choice to remain silent about this misstep rather odd. After all, a Google search currently returns a bunch of news reports about the company's misfortunes, while its own channels engage in what can only be called deliberate ignorance.

But then again, I suppose this is par for the course in a business ecosystem whose constituents are inclined to sweep errors of judgment under the carpet as quickly as possible. I suppose the logic behind such moves is a belief that the storms they are going through will eventually pass, and that people following the situation now will, sooner or later, forget about it as well. As such, these enterprises think that operating business as usual -while pretending a wrench hasn't been thrown in their works- is the best way to move on from the predicaments they find themselves in.

Related: Reputation Management In An Increasingly Transparent World

Now, most crisis communication experts will tell you that it's a never good thing for businesses to go quiet when they find themselves in the middle of a public crisis. However, let's be honest- there are a fair number of enterprises out there who have made use of this approach when faced with a bout of negative publicity, and, well, they seem to be chugging along fine now.

But that's not to say that this is the best way to act in such a scenario either. Going back to the example of the startup I noted at the start of this piece, I find myself wondering about the points it could have scored in the public domain were it to simply acknowledge its mistakes, and then declare how it was addressing them. Wouldn't that have allowed it to build stronger bonds with the customers it already had onboard, while also impressing potential new ones with its sheer forthrightness?

In a world where reputation is as valuable -if not more so- as revenue, I worry about startups that choose to stick their heads in the sand whenever they find themselves in a tight spot. Sure, they may be able to find refuge in silence- but they are also losing out on a chance to showcase credibility and true leadership.

Related: Is Your Business Prepared To Handle A Crisis? Start By Acknowledging The Issue
Aby Sam Thomas

Entrepreneur Staff

Managing Editor, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East. In this role, Aby is responsible for leading the publication on its editorial front, while also working to build the brand and grow its presence across the MENA region through the development and execution of events and other programming, as well as through representation in conferences, media, etc.

Aby has been working in journalism since 2011, prior to which he was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London, and New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.  


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