Communications agencies, which include former media journalists and strategists capable of accompanying a company or executive in their crisis process, have learned to value their work in front of law firms.
A few years ago, when a client had to face justice, he only called his lawyer to get him to the best legal specialist to defend against charges against him.
Today he knows that this is not enough; he must also worry about the image: what the press will say about him, what image will remain in the market in which he works, and finally how to defend himself against the charges against him – whether they are false or true – so that this does not end in an economic damage of unthought-of consequences.
It is in this way that legal specialists have also learned to integrate in their weekly boards of strategy reviews partners from crisis companies or lobbyists, since they have become aware that without that part of the analysis they will not be able to win their cases.
Many lawyers have even included public disqualifications as a way to litigate. And the evidence shows that companies have been destroyed, sold and come to be worth zero after a crisis erupts. The same happens with executives: if their reputation falls they will never be able to access new jobs or even close personal deals. And nobody responds for it.
This type of specialists we are talking about are people capable of understanding the media, of anticipating the intentions behind the calls to journalists, of investigating, asking, and based on accurate data, to reconstruct the facts and explain them in a simple way so that everyone can understand them.
This specialty within communications is developed together with the creation of the term Corporate Reputation, which is so much talked about today in seminars and articles. This concept – already hackneyed- has been overcome by “fake news” and post-truth, since around conflicts many false news are created to affect the image of a person or to form a distorted appreciation of reality in public opinion.
This is not a new practice in the field of communications, but now there is awareness that there can be serious consequences in the judicial field, which can be aggravated by social networks. A prominent Chilean jurist noted in a recent article: “It is the social sanction to which it is invoked that can often be harsher than that of the courts themselves.”