If past foibles did not teach the average CEO, politician, public figure, etc. on how and when to respond to a crisis, what will?
Too numerous are the case studies of late. Dominos. Toyota. BP. Jet Blue. Tiger Woods. All examples of why you need a crisis plan, or at least the framework of how to respond when s*** happens. Read: get a response out fast.
So, why did Sarah Palin wait five days to post a video response to the attacks on her that rose from the Tucson shooting? More importantly: Why did she post the response ON THE SAME DAY when President Obama was going to give a pivotal, emotionally laden address to the nation at the memorial ceremony in Tucson?
Who is advising her? Who is writing her stuff?
The contrast is captured perfectly in many stories, most notably today's New York Times piece by Michael Shear.
Besides being prepared to respond quickly, the other major lesson learned here is not new, either. Experienced crisis communications counselors will frequently advise to "take the high road" and avoid "being negative" in a response. Sadly, Palin attacked her critics. Rather than talk about the issues she felt were important, she went on the defensive.
Big mistake. You never win being defensive. The public will remember how you responded. They may not remember every word, but they will remember your overall tone.
It wasn't as if no one saw the tone of Obama's speech coming. The calls for being civil in discourse were everywhere.
Finally, I'm curious to know my colleagues' thoughts about format? A video posted on her Facebook page? Did she come off, with that direct look at the camera, a little cold and a little flat in delivery? Contrast this with how Dominos CEO did his response. More relaxed worked for the pizza king. Stiff for the Alaska queen didn't.