Tuesday night marked a huge upset for international football. Not only did Uruguay qualify for the round of 16 sending Italy home, but astonishingly Luis Suarez bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini. This is the third time Suarez has used his teeth before his brain; sparking controversy worldwide. So what can we learn about PR and crisis management from Luis Suarez?
1. Suarez’s bite might not have been premeditated but businesses need to be prepared when danger dawns. Making sure there are strong and fast links between departments is critical so that businesses aren’t playing catch-up when things spiral out of control.
2. There should be a spokesperson for the company that can provide an authority on the matter with the correct tone of voice. There’s nothing more frustrating for people in a crisis when they’re forced to deal with a faceless organisation.
3. The worst thing a company can do is ignore the situation; much like Suarez’s denial in the post-match press conference. Being open and honest from the beginning will soften any criticism that follows.
4. Companies could try and turn a negative into a positive with any type of situation – it’s about taking control and leading the story’s narrative. A good example of this was when O2 calmed their own “Twit-storm” by engaging with customers who lambasted the network provider for providing a lack of coverage.
5. Luis Suarez also represents Liverpool Football Club, which are a global brand and not just a sports team. Last time Suarez blighted football’s code of conduct the city of Liverpool stuck with him and defended their most prized asset. The club is yet to comment on this incident and the world of football fully expects them to take action.
Suarez can’t do much for now, the PR storm is crashing down on him and he’s been banned from all football for the next four months. Maybe he can profit from his mistakes with an endorsement for gum shields or royalties on Suarezetti Bolognese? How would your company deal with the incident? Let us know in the comments section below.