How do you manage a brand in crisis? Damage control is critical for brands whether they are personal or corporate. Their future hangs in the balance while time elapses and the court of public opinion spins out of control. The worst time to try and learn what to do is when you are going through a crisis like Jayru Campbell.
Jayru Campbell is a four star class of 2015 QB according to Rivals and attends Detroit Cass Tech High School. Based upon recent reports he is facing assault and battery charges for body slamming a security guard caught on video.
One thing is for certain everyone makes mistakes people and multi-million dollar brands like Michael Vick and KitchenAid. They are also two classic case studies of brand restoration. Some mistakes have more consequences than others but responsible people and great brands face them head on to garner support, build brand loyalty and restore their brands in times of adversity.
If I were advising Jayru Campbell from a personal brand standpoint this would be my advice to him and his family.
1. Confront the Crisis Head On
Get in front of the situation you can’t allow the court of public opinion to determine your fate because you will lose this battle every single time. When there is a real crisis you can’t ignore it or act like it didn’t happen. Based upon the brief cell phone video footage it is difficult to determine who was the aggressor which in this case only matters in the legal proceedings.
2. Provide a genuine, timely, remorseful public apology
Public apologies during crisis are critical and have to be timely and communicated with contrition. Based upon the situation the response time varies from a few minutes to 48-hours.
Jayru and his team need to make his statement immediately and it should definitely be made before his court appearance next week.
People are usually willing to give you a second chance if you are genuinely remorseful for your actions. His apologize needs to reflect the following:
- Don’t admit to anything. This is a legal matter and admission weakens his position of claiming ‘Self-Defense’.
- He should apologize to his parents, teammates, everyone who has supported him and Cass Tech for reflecting poorly on the school and nothing more. This is not your time to ‘Tell Your Story’.
- Don’t address being recruited by Michigan State University publicly (handle this behind closed doors).
- Don’t speak to the media.
His family also has to understand they are an extension of the Jayru Campbell brand and what they say can impact his future.
3. Address Social Media Head On
Social media can be your friend or enemy and buzz can be spun whether it is negative or positive to restore and build brands. If the situation is initiated in a specific medium like Twitter then your response should include that medium as well. That is not the case in this situation so I wouldn’t respond via Twitter or any other social media platform.
He should shut down any social media accounts he has especially his Twitter account for the following three reasons:
- He needs to eliminate the opportunity to post comments online that are out of emotion and photos that communicate a pattern of behavior consistent with poor decision-making.
- He needs to resist the urge to respond to others speaking out about this situation that has negative sentiment.
- He has to eliminate previous tweets and online comments, retweets, shares, likes, and favorites that could impact his college playing opportunities.
4. Move Forward…Every Crisis is An Opportunity
Jayru Campbell has a real situation to deal with and some major hurdles to overcome. The court of public opinion will continue to spin which he has no control over it, but he can control how he responses. I wouldn’t focus on anything except getting through the court situation next week and restoring my personal brand over the following year which will be proven by his actions not his words.
Here is my position…a lot of people are going to say he doesn’t deserve a second chance. I am not ready to throw this young man away and I recognize he has couple of marks against him.
I don’t know Jayru personally and I have never met him, but I will say this. I believe in second chances and I am a strong believer that ‘Every Crisis’ is an opportunity. I am hopeful that he will use this as learning lesson and can demonstrate overtime by his actions that he has developed his character so that he can live his dream of playing major college football.