3 things to keep in mind when issuing a public statement

We all have people or organizations that inspire us. It may be as personal as a grandparent or mentor or seemingly less personal like a celebrity you’ve never met, an alma mater, shoe retailer, or charitable organization. And the messages they send tend to matter (and I’m guessing many of us can admit that we’ve teared up while watching a car commercial that tugs on our heart strings).

What about the many organizations commenting on the intense struggles rocking our world to its core in recent years? From the pandemic to the murder of George Floyd to intensified conversations about racism in our society – organizations are weighing in with their reactions and opinions about the heavy stuff more than ever before.

When you peel back the onion and look at the data, it starts to make sense. Wall-to-wall, 24-7, communications immediately coming from every device and source imaginable. Declining trust in elected officials and government. Rising consumer expectations for brands and organizations to be clear on their values and to actively take a stand on them.

RELATED: When is it appropriate to issue a statement?

When I had the opportunity to moderate this webinar about public statements that featured my rockstar Goff Public colleagues (“Crisis Coach” and COO Jennifer Hellman and Vice President of Public Relations Chris Duffy), I jumped at the chance. Not shockingly, this somewhat cynical politico and discerning consumer learned a few things about navigating and breaking through increasingly volatile public landscapes:

1. Authenticity matters

Dropping a 280-character tweet denouncing racism is an action, not a strategy. Jen reminds organizations to consider, “what are the values that are going to drive your decisions?” Chris noted that consumers “want statements that are tangible, that are bold, that are real and that reflect your organization’s distinct personality.” Phrases like “thoughts and prayers” miss the mark and just don’t cut it anymore.

2. Don’t forget your most important audience

Internal audiences pay the closest attention to an organization’s messaging choices – or lack thereof. Oftentimes, your employees are your most important audience. Make sure you are communicating with them before publishing a statement on social media.

Additionally, organizations can plan for these events ahead of time. The next time a major news event happens, are you prepared to communicate? Do you have a team assembled to make decisions? Do you have a list of questions to ask yourselves when considering whether to weigh in publicly? One pro tip Jen and Chris shared is that organizations should create a plan now to smartly navigate crises later.

3. You don’t always need to say something

Keeping authenticity in mind, not every current event is going to be ripe for comment by every organization. Sometimes that voice can be more powerful by joining other like-minded organizations on a common message. And sometimes, it just doesn’t make sense to comment. And that’s okay. Just be mindful about thinking through a decision not to make a statement just as carefully as when you consider making one.

RELATED: Top 5 takeaways from our ‘Future of Media’ webinar

Goff Public Webinar Series

Goff Public is made up of knowledgeable, savvy and straightforward experts who bring invaluable insights to their work with clients each day. We’re also a team that thrives on connection and relationships, and as our world has become socially distanced, we want to stay in touch by bringing our expertise and insights to you! We are excited to present our new webinar series, with topics ranging from pre-election analysis to lobbying during a pandemic to creating a crisis-ready culture. You’ll get everything you need to keep your public affairs, public relations and crisis communications strategies fresh in a constantly changing environment – all from the comfort of your couch or office!

And if you’re one of our valued clients you’ll also get access to client-only events where we’ll take a deeper dive on these topics with the Goff Public team. For questions, reach out to your account lead or email Jennifer Hellman at Jennifer@goffpublic.com.

We can’t wait to Zoom with you!

Watch one of our previous webinars listed below and check back for newly added events.

NEW | Tactful vs. tone-deaf: The ins and outs of public statements

It’s an all-too-familiar topic for companies and organizations large and small: When, where and how should we respond to major news events?

Public statements on current events can make or break even the most prepared organizations. On July 27, Goff Public’s Vice President of Government Relations Elizabeth Emerson moderated a spirited discussion with our own “Crisis Coach” Jennifer Hellman and Vice President of Public Relations Chris Duffy. Each shared their top tips for navigating and breaking through increasingly volatile social and public media landscapes.

Reflect on the future of media with Minnesota’s newest news outlets

Featuring panelists from Axios, Eden Prairie Local News and Minnesota Reformer, Goff Public’s Vice President of Public Relations Chris Duffy moderates a lively discussion about the future of news in our most recent webinar.

Goff Public brought together representatives from emerging news outlets to talk about the opportunities they see in the state’s media market and their role in shaping its future. Read our biggest takeaways here.

Featured panelists:
– Torey Van Oot, Axios Twin Cities
– Brad Canham, Eden Prairie Local News
– J. Patrick Coolican, Minnesota Reformer

Advocating during a remote legislative session

How do you advocate at the Capitol when you are not certain who will be there?

We don’t know exactly how, but we know the look of next year’s Minnesota legislative session will be unlike any other. A virtual or even hybrid legislative session will present new challenges (and maybe opportunities) for organizations hoping to strengthen relationships with newly elected officials and advocate for their interests. During this webinar, our Director of Government Relations Pierre Willette and Senior Manager of Public Relations Ashley Aram discuss best practices and actionable tips for how to connect with legislators and activate your base during the 2021 session.

Pandemics, protests and politics: What to know on election night

A pandemic. An economic downturn. Protests.

Goff Public President/CEO Chris Georgacas, Vice President of Government Relations Elizabeth Emerson and Gene Ulm from Public Opinion Strategies provided unique, cross-partisan insights to help viewers disentangle fact from hype in preparation for election night 2020. View the full recording of this webinar below: