By Mark Macias
I just watched a 60 Minutes investigation that slammed the budget airline, Allegient Airlines. The investigative reporter described Allegient as the most dangerous airline. If that doesn’t kill a reputation, what will?
Every time I watch an investigative story on TV, I go back to my investigative reporter days and reflect on how I would have defined the story. I also compare how the accused responded in the interview.
So what could Allegient Airlines have done differently to manage this crisis situation?
There’s a rule I used to live by when I interviewed subjects on TV for an investigative story: the truth always comes out.
Defensive Decrees for Crisis Communications
If the subject in the hot seat lies on TV, a solid journalist will expose it. That’s why you never want to lie to reporters during a crisis situation. If you lie, you lose all credibility. It’s one of the 10 Defensive Decrees I outline in my book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media.
Based on the reporting and documents outlined in the 60 Minutes segment, Allegient Airlines has one of the worst records for airline safety. You can’t spin that negative news, especially when lives are at risk.
If you’re running a business and the media is about to expose a fundamental flaw in your business model, you don’t want to try to cover it up. You need to fix it.
I don’t recall seeing the CEO of Allegient Airlines in the segment but he should have been front and center for this story. For every allegation, he should have looked to the future and explained how the company was addressing those problems. And I’m not talking about glossing over the problem. The CEO of Allegient Airlines likely had several months to respond to CBS for an interview. He had time to dig deep into their safety records and hold his management accountable.
Finance Monthly and ACQ5 5 – an international industry award – named Macias PR the 2017 Strategic PR Firm of the Year, and PR Firm of the Year – USA. This was the third year in a row that Finance Monthly recognized our firm. The founder – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He is also a PR contributor with CNBC, providing media analysis, insight and crisis advice on timely business topics.