Thursday 4 November 2010

President Obama in a crisis

The White House has posted President Obama's extraordinary press conference from yesterday on YouTube. It is long but you can watch it here.

In a crisis situation you want your spokesperson to be humble, open, honest and to either show or generate empathy. Watching this press conference Mr Obama meets all of these criteria but then may arguably go too far. He also seems slightly shell shocked and uncertain. If your spokesperson in a crisis seems to not be dealing with the situation, is overwhelmed by events or over emotional, then people's trust in that organisation will be affected.

Often, the way an organisation handles a crisis can, if done well, lead to a boost in trust or measurable connection with that brand or business. Worse case scenario is the crisis undermines the authority of an organisation's leaders.

With all the other coverage around the US elections this press conference may go largely unnoticed by the majority of voters. They may welcome his contrition. Or it could signal a weakness in President Obama's character that the Republicans may try and exploit between now and 2012.  

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