Saturday, September 26, 2009

Big Strategy. Small World.

Ideally, the best crisis management employs a plan that was put in place before the crisis presented itself. With certain, predictable situations, it’s easy to imagine all the things that can go wrong. But, when it comes to taking a brand or person overseas, it’s more difficult to foresee exactly what can and will go awry.

In 2007, Richard Gere was supporting an AIDS awareness campaign in Delhi alongside Bollywood beauty Shilpa Shetty. Gere jokingly hugged Shetty and kissed her cheek. The result was effigies of the two burned in streets and arrest warrants issued for both of them by a court in Jaipur.

Apparently, what they did was illegal! They violated India’s public obscenity laws. Gere issued a sincere apology and eventually the situation calmed itself.

Every city and every country has its own psychology, philosophies, and laws. This means you can’t relate to the public in Korea with the same strategies you use to relate to New York. You can easily offend and enrage, and in Gere’s place, break laws and cause an international incident. There’s no way to know all the moves that will offend, even when hiring a consultant. Just have an outlined plan in place, react quickly and intelligently when the unimaginable happens, and sincerely apologize where you can.

No comments: