Sara Brady 0:00
Small businesses generally are not prepared and they don’t think it will happen to them. And so when there is a minor, slip up, something on something that said, or something that shows up on Facebook or, you know, on Twitter, the tsunami of badness that can come after that is always a shock, and they’re left sort of flat footed and don’t know what to do.
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Jordan Ostroff 1:23
Hello, and welcome to “Let’s Get Up to Business” with Jordan Law. Joining me today is Sarah Brady of Sara Brady Public Relations, and she specializes in crisis management. Thanks for joining us.
Sara Brady 1:33
Thanks for having me.
Jordan Ostroff 1:34
I am just, I’m so excited to delve into this because my crisis is probably different than your crisis.
Sara Brady 1:40
Maybe. I work with, I work a lot with lawyers so sometimes we’re on the same track.
Jordan Ostroff 1:44
With the lawyer having the crisis or the lawyer’s client having the crisis?
Sara Brady 1:47
I’ve had lawyers with their own crises, but I’ve done both.
Jordan Ostroff 1:50
All right, well, there we go. So I guess let’s start you know, tell me more about yourself and Sara Brady Public Relations.
Sara Brady 1:57
Well, I am a former newspaper reporter and worked in the newspaper business for a number of years and transitioned into magazine works, so I worked in print journalism for a while, and then transitioned to public relations by starting out in the defense industry. And that’s where I learned what it looks like on the other side. When a reporter is calling an organization to work on a story that, and you know, nine times out of ten, it’s not a positive story.
Jordan Ostroff 2:24
When you say defense, you’re talking about like Department of Defense?
Sara Brady 2:27
Well, I worked for a defense contractor.
Jordan Ostroff 2:28
Sara Brady 2:29
And, and I started out in the PR department, and it was a fantastic job because they, it’s where I got to see what public relations is and to appreciate it instead of mocking it like I did when I worked in the newspaper. And, and I learned about, you know, how to, how to have a press conference, how to interact with news media, and how to do speech writing, and all of those kinds of things. So it was a great learning place for me.
Jordan Ostroff 2:55
Alright, so if we have somebody listening to this podcast who knows that right now they’re going through a crisis and they need some help managing it, what’s the best way for them to get in touch with you?
Unknown Speaker 3:04
Oh, gosh, you can call me at 407-408-4000 or go to my website at SaraBradyPR.com.
Jordan Ostroff 3:11
All right and that’s Sara with no H.
Unknown Speaker 3:12
No H, thank you.
Jordan Ostroff 3:14
No problem. There’s a, there’s a podcast I listen to that’s the Stacy Brown Randall and every time she’s like, Stacy with an E and it just, it sticks with me. So, we’ll make sure we, we get that correctly for you. So in a nutshell, I mean, I guess what is public relations?
Sara Brady 3:29
Public relations is sort of what it says. It’s having relationships with different public’s and that could be your customers, it could be, you know, influencers in town, it could be organizations that you want to partner with, your, it could be other businesses, vendors, effort, you know, political campaigns, projects, you want to work on, fundraising. So it’s all of those relationships that are out there in the public.
Jordan Ostroff 3:55
And it’s the actual relationship, it’s how it’s viewed, it’s how you’re seen? It’s the all those things?
Sara Brady 4:01
It’s kind of, yeah, it’s all of that. It’s, it’s sort of a big umbrella. And there are a lot of, kind of elements to it. Community relations is very much a public relations activity, I think. And, and, you know, you can kind of argue. I, with a lot of friends, will debate the difference between public relations and marketing. And so they’re all sort of falling under the communications umbrella.
Jordan Ostroff 4:22
Well, I always get the impression that like, marketing is easier to control yourself and public relations is more having to craft the right story so that other people take it in the right way.
Sara Brady 4:32
That’s, that’s, that’s a good way to characterize it.
Jordan Ostroff 4:35
Alright, so then crisis management, I’m just, I’m really stoked about this one. So tell me more about crisis management?
Sara Brady 4:41
Well, crisis management is when things go wrong. And you’re either in the spotlight or your organization is at risk. And you know, that you are at risk of your business being damaged in some way, either short term or long term, or your own reputation is going to be damaged, short term, long term. And it’s how you get through it, and try to protect and inoculate yourself from all of the bad things out there.
Jordan Ostroff 5:11
It’s interesting, I wrote an article for a local bar journal recently, and I talked about how, you know, as a lawyer without a product, all you have is your name and your reputation. And you’re talking about an entire career to build it, and just, you know, one second to have it go away.
Sara Brady 5:25
Right, and that happens.
Jordan Ostroff 5:27
So are you dealing with mostly people that intentionally are in a crisis? Or unintentionally? Or is it a good mix of both?
Unknown Speaker 5:35
I, wow, I don’t think I’ve ever had anybody that was intentionally in a crisis. I have a unique sort of, I guess you’d call it market or clientele. Most of my clients are individuals or small businesses, or smaller organizations that didn’t expect something to go wrong, or, you know, are the victims of something totally, you know, unrelated to what they do, and are just trying to primarily navigate the media landscape. Because when these things happen, the way of the world now, with this digital world we live in, news media gets, could even get a phone number in a matter of 30 seconds, and they’re calling crime victims, victims of accidents, and all kinds of things, they’re calling them literally just within minutes of an incident happening. So it’s, it’s helping them who have no experience and no understanding of news media and how that works and helping them, giving, serving as a barrier, as a protector. And then when there comes a time that they want to talk to media, making that happen for them so that they’re comfortable, and that they’re safe, that they’re going, that they have an idea of what they’re going to be asked, and you know what an interview is going to be like, so I have a lot of those. And then I have larger organizations, corporations that have issues that they sort of know, or anticipate something’s going to go wrong, because they’re going to do something. Doesn’t mean what they’re planning to do is bad but there’s just that aspect to it. They know that it could be misconstrued or misrepresented.
Jordan Ostroff 7:13
And I guess when I said intentionally crisis, that was not the right phrasing. But how much of it is, like this business intentionally ran this campaign that just happened to have unintentedly offend this group of people versus they have an employee who let you know, a curse word slip while on camera or something along those lines? Is that a good mix of those? Or is it more one than the other?
Sara Brady 7:35
I don’t have a lot of those that are doing a campaign or some kind of project that has sudden, you know, negative side to it. Don’t have a lot of those. So, but I, but you know, I have things like, maybe a CEO getting a DUI. Or, I mean, those are the, those are, those are pretty serious.
Jordan Ostroff 7:57
Well, I mean, you’re speaking my language for me that’s, that’s a normal day in the, I guess, not getting the DUI, a normal day in the office, but representing somebody who does, normal day in the office. Okay, so most of yours are going to be a situation where somebody committed a crime or made a mistake, or didn’t, it wasn’t something that was a conscious decision, it was an unconscious, you know, racist undertones, committing a crime in the wrong moment, you know, something along those lines. Okay. So kind of walk me through, you know, what are the most common situations you see, or at least, what’s the most common point that you get brought in for to start helping?
Sara Brady 8:36
I think the most common issue is, smaller organizations don’t think or foresee or believe that anything bad can happen to them. That, you know, I’ve done everything right, who would question me and, and I’m fine. And then when something goes wrong, or something, or somebody attacks them unexpectedly, and it blows up, they are flat footed and do not know what to do and then can’t get out of it. It just gets bigger and bigger and bigger. And that’s where the damage comes in. Sometimes, you know, a lot of times it’s not the actual incident itself or a misdeed or a mistake. It’s how you handle it. We were just talking the other day about Lara Spencer on Good Morning America, who is somebody that is accustomed to being on camera, she’s a journalist, and she made this joke about male, you know, about ballet, and then kind of mocked boy ballet dancers and it turned into a whole, you know, big old magilla with the ballet world, you know, kind of responding back to her. So on Monday, she ended up doing an apology and the cast from Share and I think other ballet dancers from around New York City came and did a class in front of the GMA building on Broadway. So it was an unintentional, it was an offhanded remark, it was, it was a little mean spirited, maybe a little homophobic but it just, really, just took off. I’m sure when she said it, she, it never occurred to her that, so that’s somebody that’s accustomed to speaking publicly on a daily basis.
Jordan Ostroff 10:15
And still puts her foot in her mouth. So I mean, look, I gotta be honest, I probably do stuff like that, you know, multiple times per week, just because I sort of have no filter, and I have thick skin. So I appreciate it, you know, coming back. What, I guess, I mean, you don’t really know where that line is, right? I mean, you’re getting brought in when it has already blown up. Is that right? Okay. So what are some of the things that have taken place between whatever the incident is, to when you’re brought in? I mean, it’s, it’s always going to be media coverage? It’s going to be a group dropping this company from something I mean, what normally happens inbetween?
Sara Brady 10:54
It’s some or all of it. And, and I come in at all different times, some times are easier than others. I worked on the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, but I wasn’t brought in for weeks after that. And they were, they really struggled with how they interacted with news media.
Jordan Ostroff 11:14
When you say they, you’re talking about-
Sara Brady 11:16
The school board, the school district.
Jordan Ostroff 11:17
Sara Brady 11:18
And so it’s sort of, it is always better to bring me in earlier. And it is, and just like, when you have an attorney, it’s always best to tell me everything so that if I’m representing you publicly, and talking to either news media, or we’re putting information out on social media, which is a whole different platform, it’s, it’s better to have, for me to have all the facts and the truth, so that I can, you know, manage that information so that it doesn’t get worse. But it’s, it’s, I come in at all different times. And so depending on when I’m brought in, the tactics and the strategy, it will change. So it’s, it’s, it’s all about timing.
Jordan Ostroff 11:59
So walk me through, I guess, the most common, you know, beginning strategies or first steps, depending upon where you’re brought in so that our, our listeners have an idea of when things have potentially gone too far, I guess?
Sara Brady 12:12
Well, I will tell you the first thing that I always say to everybody is, don’t answer your phone. Because media is calling and, and the phones just start going like crazy. And you know, when people are in the throes of, they believe that they’re in the right. So they believe that if they just tell a reporter, you know what happened, it’ll be okay. I’m telling you what happened. And the reporter is going to say, oh, you poor thing and, and write that, and that’s not how it works. So first thing I do is I say, you know, don’t answer your phones, don’t, especially if it’s a number that you don’t know, let it all go to voicemail, because then you can hear who’s calling you. And then immediately on somewhere, on a website, you know, all whatever channels you use, put me as your point of contact, so I will feel those calls. And that way I can sort of manage and I’ll know, I’ll have an idea of how aggressive media is. And whether others from other walks of life are calling because that happens depending on what the issue is. Because of the, the open channels around the world, something that can happen in Orlando, is of interest in Great Britain and you’ll see the Daily Mail follows a lot of things out of Florida.
Jordan Ostroff 13:26
Like our Florida man stories that we post or like actual things?
Unknown Speaker 13:30
No, actual stories, they can follow a lot of things here. And, but, you know, that, so, but then there are also people that are just individuals, human beings, who may be conspiracy theorists or have other interest in whatever field, you know, my client might be working in, that you’ll start seeing them on social media or calling sometimes. So it’s best to just not answer your phone so that you can be protected and have that layer between whoever’s trying to get information. So that’s the first thing.
Jordan Ostroff 14:02
And what’s, before you go on, what’s the normal timeline for that? Not answering the phone? I mean, is that going to depend on the story? Are we talking- okay, but we’re, I mean, we’re talking could be weeks, could be months, could be?
Sara Brady 14:14
It depends on who you are. It depends on how bad that story is. It depends on if it’s dragging out, there are some stories that go on for a couple of years. So it really just does depend. So yeah, it really could go on for a couple of years.
Jordan Ostroff 14:28
Okay. Alright, so that, so that was one of the most common early stages. Have you get the calls, have them forward it for those most common early situation, or, I guess situations where you’re going to help at the beginning.
Unknown Speaker 14:43
I, you know, I sit down with the, with the people involved. And, and we have a, you know, real heart to heart talk about the circumstances, what happened? And I ask a bunch of questions. I’m a former journalist, I’m going to ask the same questions the media is going to ask. And then I ask how comfortable they are to talk to media. How, how comfortable they are to maybe, you know, help with a strategy. Are you comfortable with us saying these, you know, and begin working and creating a strategy to address it in the immediate, that’d be the, the first phase, and then, you know, the next phase, and if there’s another phase, and plot all of that out, but in those first hours, it’s, it’s just hitting the ground running.
Jordan Ostroff 15:26
So in that situation, I mean, worst case scenario is going to be they’ve already said too much, or worst case scenario is going to be, there is nothing to defend, you’re just apologizing? I mean, what’s, what’s the worst thing for you?
Sara Brady 15:40
Worst case scenario is that they have already spoken to media and said too much. Because it’s usually not thoughtful, it’s emotional. And, you know, news media isn’t going to want to come back and do any kind of major follow up and correct it, they got their story, they’re on to the next story. So those first hours are really critical.
Jordan Ostroff 16:02
Really critical to make sure their side gets out there or to make sure it doesn’t get worse, both of those things?
Sara Brady 16:09
To make sure that they don’t do any damage, that there’s no damage being done. And, you know, it’s not uncommon for me to step in and say, listen, they brought me on, we don’t have any information for you, right now. We may, we may be able to talk to you, you know, tomorrow, or, you know, in the next couple of hours, or we’ll send you a statement. So I think, you know, I always, I, I’ve been, I make fun of news media sometimes but I really love news media. I love. that’s where, that’s where I come from, they have a really important job to do. And certainly in this climate, where news media is being sort of treated really badly, I think we all have to value the role they play in our society, because it’s so important. But that doesn’t mean that when they come to the door, or when they call that you should be talking to them, because it’s not necessarily in your best interest. So my job is to, you know, let’s just, let’s just wait. And let’s be thinking about what we want to say, we may want to tell everything, we may want to say nothing. So you have to have the time to understand what happened to, to know what you can or can’t do next.
Jordan Ostroff 17:22
See it’s funny, you talk about this, and I always kind of go back to the NFL, you know, no offense to the NFL, but I think they are the absolute worst when it comes to public relations, because so it’s like, oh, yes, you know, I understand that our player’s been accused of, you know, beating his girlfriend for the last six months, we’re doing an internal investigation. He’s not currently suspended, please give us time to let the legal system play out. And then two days after that TMZ runs the video of him, like on top of her, you know, beating the heck out of her in the elevator and whatnot when the NFL is like, oh, well, we never saw that.
Sara Brady 17:50
Jordan Ostroff 17:51
So, you know, I guess it really has to come back to that case by case basis. But how do you, how much are you pushing the client to getting something out there versus nothing out there versus?
Sara Brady 18:04
Well, it again, no case is the same.
Jordan Ostroff 18:07
Sara Brady 18:08
No situation is the same. But I, but I will tell you this, and I talk about her a lot, because she’s a really good example of how things are done right and, and well. When I represented Barbara Poma with Pulse Nightclub and so just hours after the shooting, she had been out of the country so she came back, I was, so I was brought in, I was in her home with her and her family. And so that first night, you know, it was chaotic. And I, I’m setting up camp, telling them what we’re going to do, what we need to do, talking to her, getting to know her, and all her lawyers, her family, all of those things. And media is calling her and I’ve taken those calls, and managing that. The next day, she, I got to her house early in the morning, and we’re talking and she said to me, I need, I need to speak, I want the public to see my face. And I said, what do you mean? And she said, I want the gay community to see my face, I want them to know that this club is not going to, I’m not gonna let this club die. And I said, okay, so we tried to take her downtown to the media site that the city had set up, and that couldn’t be done. It was, it was just too complicated but that’s where all the media was. And so I called a friend of mine, and we did an interview, a network interview and, and it was fantastic. She is a highly functioning individual. So in the worst case scenario, because that was really one of the worst days of her life, she was able to write her remarks. I looked at them and tweaked them a little bit, her lawyer looked at them, and she did an interview. And it was fantastic. And she was clear and focused. It was hard for her. But in that case, it was so important for her that the gay community see her because she had, that was her community. And, and I thought that was a really good idea. And normally, in that timeframe, the people in those circumstances aren’t really able to think clearly and be articulate and convey what they want to say. And she was amazing. She’s still amazing.
Jordan Ostroff 20:20
Well, and so yeah, I mean, and for our listeners, I mean Pulse is less than half a mile from our office. I mean, that’s something that has hit close to home for all, for everybody in Orlando knows somebody or knows somebody who knows somebody, and just, it’s a terrible thing. But from your perspective, I mean, that’s got to be like, here’s this lady who did nothing wrong, who had security from the police that wasn’t able to stop it. That certainly wasn’t, you know, stoking any fires, that’s running a club that’s, you know, gays and homosexuals here in Orlando. I mean, here’s somebody who is not the, nobody’s going to tell you she’s the problem in this story. Does that make your job easier? Or is it still hard to make sure that it doesn’t become something where the finger gets pointed at her or she takes the blame or whatever?
Sara Brady 21:07
Well, you’re a lawyer. You know, where, you know where that was going to go. I think from, you know, I think at the very beginning, certainly the expectation was, there was going to be litigation down the road that that was, that was the, that was a step in her future. And that has happened. So, you know, I think that was not a, you know, a major issue that we just, we just knew it would be coming. No, I think that’s the, that’s the whole, for me, somebody in my role, I have to be hypersensitive to the needs and the desires of somebody in trouble and what they want to do versus what they should do. In her case, she’s so unique, because she is so highly functioning, that I was pretty certain that she would be fine. I also knew the news crew was NBC that came in and did it, it was Matt Lauer who, who’s, you know, has always been really great to me with these kinds of things. And he treated her, you know, really well, respectfully. And she, she was able to say what she wanted to say. And NBC ran her remarks, her, that she had written, they ran those on their website. So she got kind of a double whammy. She got the interview, and which they ran, I think in the Today Show, and then Nightly News. And then, and they ran her full remarks on the website.
Jordan Ostroff 22:30
Gotcha. Okay. I mean, that’s, I, but I guess you did that and you had the Marjory Stoneman Douglas, so it just seems like anything in Florida, I mean, the, the most important stuff they’re calling you.
Sara Brady 22:41
Yeah, I’ve worked, I worked the Christina Grimmie shooting two days, you know, that same weekend, over at the Plaza theater. I also represent the family whose child was killed at Disney.
Jordan Ostroff 22:52
By the alligator?
Sara Brady 22:52
And that was, that was, mhm, that was in the same week. So, but that’s why I say, you know, there’s a family that they’re just ordinary people and all of a sudden, you know, they’re, they’re in the news media. Same thing with Christina Grimmie and, and the theater. They’re just a little venue in town and all of a sudden, they’re on international news, because news media from around the world was here, especially after the Pulse shooting. So it’s just an extraordinary experience for people that are just living their lives and then something terrible happens and it, it, it becomes a world event.
Jordan Ostroff 23:30
So what are some of the other, I guess, mistakes that you see people making when it comes to these things? Is that a fair word to use, or?
Sara Brady 23:39
Yeah, I think, maybe not, maybe not mistake, but you know, probably just better ways to do things, I think. So I think I struggle with this desire, that seems to be so prevalent of everybody wanting to be in front of a TV camera. I don’t know why that is. I mean, you see people go on TV without a shirt on. They’re so desperate to be on TV. They’re not even gonna put a shirt on. But I don’t understand that drive. So, but there is a belief, you know, when somebody is in trouble, they think if they just have the opportunity to tell their side, everybody’s going to believe them and say, oh, yeah, and it’s just, it just doesn’t work that way. So for me, I am, I have a podcast called “Stop Talking”. And, and, you know, I think I want people to stop talking temporarily, so that they can be thoughtful about a decision to go forward and do an interview and tell your story that way.
Jordan Ostroff 24:37
Hey, swap interview for the police and I 100% agree with you. But no, I agree with you. I mean, I think it’s, everybody wants those 15 minutes of fame. You know, like I love, I guess I shouldn’t say I love, but it’s always, it’s funny to me, you know, you get somebody who gets arrested, they were had this giant meth lab, they killed 27 people, whatever and then they interview the neighbor and the neighbors like, well, they were always so quiet. Thanks for coming out. You know, I just think, we would grill on Fourth of July and they never launched fireworks and whatever. And I’m like, who cares? But that’s, you know, it’s, it’s a story.
Sara Brady 25:09
And the neighbor has her hair in curlers or something. Yeah.
Jordan Ostroff 25:11
Right. They just got out of the pool, they’re wearing a towel. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 25:15
Well, and this is kind of what happens. Do you remember the young lady that was swimming in the Wekiva River, this was about four years ago, and she was, she was attacked by an alligator and it almost killed her, she survived, but it took her arm off. And so they airlifted her, took her to the hospital, she’s at Orlando Health and she, I think it was she just had surgery so I think this might have been the second day she was in hospital. She’s had surgery and she’s, and she’s talking, she’s awake and she apparently had her cell phone by the bed. She, I represented her too so she’s in the hospital and a reporter calls her and says, can I come and talk to you? And she said, no, I, I just was attacked by an alligator, I just came out of surgery. And he said, I know, we want to kind of hear your story, it’s an amazing story. And she said, I haven’t even had a shower yet. And he said, well, can I come this afternoon? And she said, no. So we were able to give her some breathing room, she got to come home and, and help, you know, helped her along the way. And, and then we finally, she did an interview with Beth Kassab from the, Beth Kassab from the Orlando Sentinel who, who treated her just beautifully.
Jordan Ostroff 26:32
Gave her a lot more time to overcome getting her arm bit off by an alligator.
Sara Brady 26:35
Yeah, yeah, I’m actually having dinner with her on Saturday. The woman, the victim, Rachel. So, so, I mean, so she did not want to be in, in media. After, just days after that attack, some of these magazine programs, there was one in particular that called her and offered to pay her to buy her a prosthetic device, and pay her medical expenses for that, if she would give them her story. So she wouldn’t be able to talk to anybody for a couple of months and they wanted to do an interview. They, she wanted a particular arm, then there was a, there was a whole big deal about would they give her what she really wanted and needed and you know, got to be such a mess. But the commercialization of, here’s just this woman, she’s a professor at Rollins, and this horrible thing that happens to her and now she’s a media, you know, interest and, and everybody’s pursuing her. And she doesn’t know what to do with that.
Jordan Ostroff 27:37
You know, I’ve negotiated over a lot of interesting things for clients, but never over which prosthetic arm. Well, hopefully I mean, she’s doing better now?
Sara Brady 27:46
She’s amazing. She doesn’t, she doesn’t have anything. She doesn’t use any kind of prosthetic. Okay, she Yeah, she’s incredible. She’s, she takes a yoga class. I mean, she literally just has like a little bit of her shoulder. She’s extraordinary. And she, I met her, I think three days after it happened and I found her to be incredible then. She’s just an amazing, amazing person.
Jordan Ostroff 28:06
So what are some of the other, you know, best practices that you try to institute for people when you’re coming into, you know, towards the beginning of these things?
Sara Brady 28:15
Don’t lie, don’t lie, Don’t lie. It’s, it’s tempting for people. You know, I don’t know why, but it is. But don’t lie. It is okay to say, I don’t want to talk to you, I can’t give you any information. That is much better than spinning, distorting, you know, messing with your story in any way, other than what is true. So, and I would so I mean, that’s, that’s a big one. But also to, if you’re, if you’re a small business, and you have an issue, you really should call somebody to help you. You can’t do it on your own. The hardest thing I think is, when you’re in the middle of something awful and terrible, it feels, it physically feels bad. I mean, emotionally, it feels terrible, and it physically feels terrible. So you, you’re not in your right mind to make sound decisions that are in your best interest. So it’s really better to get somebody who is an expert, if it’s a lawyer, yes. If it’s a PR person that understands these kinds, because not all PR people do what I do and they’ll say they do. But I do the real meat and potatoes, the real heavy hitting stuff. And it is much different
Jordan Ostroff 29:30
Trust me, if anybody’s listening this podcast doesn’t agree with you on that point, I don’t know what else they want to see. Like literally everything bad in Florida, you are the good. Unless the hurricanes can hire you, we have one of those coming.
Sara Brady 29:40
I do some hurricane work.
Jordan Ostroff 29:42
Not on behalf of the hurricane though.
Sara Brady 29:43
No, no. But, but you know what, that’s actually how I started with my job. I used to work for Bright House, and I was hired to help the Bright House when, after Hurricane Charley, because they were accused of not being ready for the hurricane. And the reason was, is the preception was, after the hurricane, nobody could get their cable back on. Well, you can’t have cable if you don’t have electricity and so the utilities weren’t on and the cable company comes in after that. So we had to, we had to, we had to sort of explain that to people and so they, they hired me to help change that perception. So that was after, that was hurricane.
Jordan Ostroff 30:20
It’s just so interesting how so much of what you’re talking about is very similar to a lot of what we do from the legal standpoint.
Sara Brady 30:27
Well, I work in the court of public opinion, and you’re in the court of law. And they’re both messy.
Jordan Ostroff 30:31
Right, depending upon the day we’ll decide which court makes better decisions, right? So, you know, I’m just again, I came into this being fascinated, and I’m sitting here 40, something minutes later still fascinated. What are some of the other things that you know, don’t lie, prep the story, I mean, what’s, I guess the one that we always struggle with or our clients struggle with is, how do you decide to put your story out there or just let it die? You know, you have somebody who’s in our case, usually accused of a crime that they didn’t do, or there is a really good other side to it, you know, how do you help somebody make that decision on putting something out there or just letting it go?
Sara Brady 31:08
Everything comes back to strategy. And so, and strategy is, what is it that you want? What, what is your objective? What is your goal? What’s your long term goal? And sometimes the need is to change the public dialogue about what has happened. So if you’re a company, and you want people to know that you are doing things right and that you fixed whatever went wrong, that’s a, that’s a reason to tell your story. And the idea is that you find the right outlet to do that and it may not be a news media outlet. Much of the time, what you’ll see are companies using their own, their own platforms, their own channels, to to, you know, tell their own stories that way, and drive their audiences to that instead of relying on a third party that’s, that’s going to filter what you say. But, but news media can be really, really helpful in some of those circumstances. You know, Beth Kassab talking to Rachel was really nice, people got to understand and see who she was, because she’s so amazing and she survived this attack. So, but it just sort of depends on what your needs are. And you know, and again, that may not be, that may not be a media event, it may be, it may be a public speaking engagement, it could be a newsletter, it, you know, so that’s what you have to look at is, what can go wrong? How can you be hurt if you go that route? So if you talk to, it, you know, if a reporter calls you, and you’re in a reactive state, you still want to consider it. So who is the reporter? Who do they work for? What, what would be their interest? What else have they covered? And how is this going to impact you? Is this going to help you in any way? And sometimes there’s the risk is, so if it’s 50/50, I don’t think it’s necessarily a good idea. But sometimes the client wants to so then my job is to negotiate. They’ll talk about this, this this, are you good with that? Can I go off the record and share and tell you why? Because you need that, you need somebody like me to help manage that aspect of that relationship with that journalist so that, you know, journalists can be really helpful and understanding because they want a story and they generally, an experienced journalist knows that there are some things that we can’t talk about, and maybe they’ll negotiate them. So there are all these little pieces involved in it. So you really just have to go back and look at what does it you want? What do you need? And how do you get there?
Jordan Ostroff 33:36
So then what about I mean, I guess it’s probably going to be the same answer. But what about at the end of it like you’re, how do you know that it’s over?
Sara Brady 33:46
Well, this world that we live in, has a really short attention span, number one. And in, but, but the unfortunate side is, with social media, things come up, you can always go back and find somebody. So things really, the actual event might be over. The fallout, it’s sort of always going to be there. And that’s what you have to sort of take into account. You know, I think there’s a case that’s happening, I won’t say who it is, but it’s some, it’s a well known person and there’s an accusation that was made, or of an event that took place 50 years ago.
Jordan Ostroff 34:27
Sara Brady 34:29
Jordan Ostroff 34:29
Sara Brady 34:30
Yeah. And, and it has gotten legs. So, you know, we have like a 24 hour lifestyle. We have a 24 hour news cycle. And I think we just have a perpetual negative cloud around so I, these things don’t necessarily go away.
Jordan Ostroff 34:51
In that instance, though, I’m assuming like this, that story had not come to light until recently. It just had happened 50 years ago.
Sara Brady 34:58
It, it happened 50 years ago, allegedly.
Jordan Ostroff 35:01
Sara Brady 35:03
And, and yes, somebody, somebody brought it forward, recently.
Jordan Ostroff 35:06
But from the standpoint of, you know, terrible thing happens, there’s all this media coverage, it goes on for, you know, X period of time. Like, how does, how does that person know that the story’s over that it’s, that it’s run the full cycle? I mean, is there any way to know?
Unknown Speaker 35:21
Well, sometimes, yeah, I mean, you can see it, I mean, nobody’s calling you anymore, nothing’s being reported. If you check social media, and you know, something, it’s not, it’s not trending as, as actively as it had maybe two days before, you know, these social media attacks there, they have an interesting cycle of their own. Because again, those are people that are not involved in anything, and people jump on the bandwagon, and it’s, you know, gang mentality. And you’ll see these things go for about, you know, 36 hours, 48 hours, and then they sort of go away. The trouble is, it’s still out there, so you can always find it. So if you’re applying for a job, and you’ve posted something awful on Facebook, or you’ve tweeted something, it’s so easy to find. So you could be a, you get a new job as a manager, and you work your way up to CEO in a company, and your board is looking at something and, and you know, 15 years before somebody said this about you on Twitter, that stuff’s always out there. So, so I’m not saying, you know, things are over, because nobody’s in the immediate, but you have to be aware that it can always come back.
Jordan Ostroff 36:24
Well, going back to the NFL, you know, it seems like every year you got one or two, you know, 21, 22 year old quarterbacks that at 16, or 17, posted a racial slur, an ethnic slur, a homophobic slur on their, you know, Twitter after a big game or something. Alright, so I guess, so when you’re helping somebody, I mean, you’re helping them for as long as they need, through as much of the process as they need?
Sara Brady 36:47
Jordan Ostroff 36:47
And so that would be you know, the initial, the initial situation, the initial fallout as well as helping them make, you know, the follow up?
Sara Brady 36:55
Right, sometimes it’s, it’s how do we turn it around? So we address the immediate activity and, you know, get past that. And sometimes that’s my time, I’m done. You’re welcome, see you later. And then I, sometimes I stay on, and help them with whatever they’re doing next, or helping them turn it around and helping them find a new path. So just depends, you know, I haven’t had any two that are identical.
Jordan Ostroff 37:20
I can’t imagine, I mean especially when you’re dealing with such high profile type stuff. So I know, obviously, you know, the Pulse situation, thank God, is going to be a very out of the ordinary situation. But from your experience, either you personally or just kind of in the crisis management thing, what’s an example of, I don’t want to call it a success story, but like, what’s a famous example where there was a crisis that the company did a really good job overcoming, working in their favor, turning it to work for them? Or are there any? Or is it all just mitigating, you know, making the harm as little as possible?
Sara Brady 37:53
No there are some that have done a really good job, nothing comes to top of mind now, let me think because I deal with so much that’s wrong.
Jordan Ostroff 37:58
We’ll have Mark edit out the downtime, take whatever you need.
Sara Brady 38:00
Okay, I can’t think, I just talked about the, you know, I work a lot with law enforcement. I work a lot with smaller police departments, I just did a training for a group of new police chiefs to talk to them about this issue about you know, because, because police departments are so vulnerable, in this day and age. And we just talked about this on my podcast with the Dayton Police Department after the shooting there. Because police departments generally don’t want to give any information because they know that there’s going to be court work afterwards and they don’t want to compromise a case. And so they’re very, very closed about what they have. In the Dayton shooting, their police chief came out less than, I think it was less than 12 hours after the shooting and walked the public and the media through virtually everything they know about that event. They showed the path, they showed where he parked his car, they showed where he went, they, they showed video of the officers going in and neutralizing the shooter. They gave a, an obscene amount of information. It was very impressive. And I think that, that openness that that department demonstrated, shows great competence in the police department’s work, but also gave the community great confidence in the police department and showed transparency, which is an overused word. But, but, but helped news media get what they want to know, because the public’s interest is so great. So they did it, they did a really, really great press conference, it was very well organized, very well structured, and the way that they showed everything. And then when the chief was asked questions, you can see he’s really experienced, he understands communications. And he would say I don’t understand the question or can’t answer that, he was very clear and confident. Everything about that was so perfect. And but then there’s the flip side, because I’m such a non fan of social media. Because I think it brings out the worst in some many. It, on the live, they live streamed that press conference, you can watch it on YouTube. On the right side, you know how live, on live streaming you can see, you can put the hearts and bubbles and comments. There is so much, there’s so many derogatory comments posting as he’s standing there giving out this information. And for me, I’ve worked five of these shootings. The reality is, if you’re living in Florida, and you see a shooting in Dayton, Ohio, there’s a big disconnect. But the reality is human life was taken, lots and lots of human life and the ripple effects for the loved ones that are still there, the survivors, the family members and friends, workplace, it is such a swath of sorrow. And so to see that happening, alongside this chief who is dealing with everything, including his own officers, who saw the worst of the worst, it’s remarkable that there is this element in our society. And-
Jordan Ostroff 41:03
You’re talking about for the standpoint of like victim shaming, like their?
Sara Brady 41:06
Oh, everything, just all kinds of just nasty.
Jordan Ostroff 41:10
This is proof that God hates, you know, whatever.
Sara Brady 41:13
Yeah, it’s got, yeah, yeah, it’s awful, awful, awful things, and calling the police chief names, you know, just everything. The worst you can imagine. It is being posted there.
Jordan Ostroff 41:25
And it’s those idiots looking for their, you know, five minutes of fame commenting on something like this. I mean, I guess the thing is, you know, the more we get into this, the more this is going to happen, just because there’s, you know, everybody has a camera phone, everybody has social media, everybody can post. There was actually an article or a news story that came out a while before that was like, if you see an emergency, please call 911, please don’t post about it on Facebook or Twitter because the police are not following your Facebook and Twitter to make sure that you know, this robbery that you’re live streaming from the benefit of your, you know, your house.
Sara Brady 42:01
That’s the other thing, that everybody does have a phone, everybody’s on camera 24/7. So I mean, people are recording what you say people see everybody, I’ve been a victim of it. It’s, it’s everywhere. And you really do, I think this Lara Spencer thing is, you know, in the grand scheme of things, she made a joke. It wasn’t, it was kind of mean spirited. But it wasn’t intentional. It wasn’t her intent to be hurtful. But, but it’s the exact thing that inspires all these people out there on Twitter and Facebook to start just bombarding her and saying terrible things about her. And you know, it, I didn’t actually didn’t see that much negative about her in what I was watching. It was kind of interesting, too, because I think because it was ballet, most of the people responding and commenting were ballet dancers. So, so there was a lot of grace in, in the commentary. So it wasn’t this sort of, you know, Lara Spencer should die, we should strangle her with a pair of ballet slippers. There wasn’t any of that, it was you just realized, you just don’t know how hard it was for me when I was eight and wanting to dance, I wish you could understand the hard work that I had to put in. So there was a lot of that, it was really interesting. So this was a very different response, at least from what I was looking at. But normally, it’s death threats. I think some of these actors and celebrities might make an offhanded comment and all of a sudden they’re getting death threats. And why people go from that to rock bottom is stunning to me.
Jordan Ostroff 43:38
Oh, it’s the power of being behind a computer screen where you don’t think that people will know who you are or find you. So I guess, I mean, we, you just see this getting, I don’t want to say worse than worse, but at least more and more prevalent because there’s more access, there’s more video, there’s more news channels, there’s more, there’s more people to spend more time to make everything into a story.
Sara Brady 43:58
Right, right. And there are, there are a lot of outlets or people that claim to be, you know, citizen journalists, those are, those are really problematic. And they’re those, those continue to grow and they get set up and some of them get press credentials, which I don’t know how that happens, but it does. So yeah, it’s just we’re, we’re just, we’re just headed down drain.
Jordan Ostroff 44:20
So I mean, I guess, you know, we’ve talked about some of the things that business owners need to know and I always go back to like my rule number one is don’t be a jerk, you know, as much as possible, don’t be a jerk. What, any other, you know, quick takeaways for businesses to try and you know, prevent these things from happening to, to, things they need to realize to prevent you know, needing your services down the road or after something’s already come up?
Sara Brady 44:46
I think you have to understand, accept that it can happen to you and, and be prepared for it. You know, know what you’re going to do if something goes wrong. Have a point person. If you have a receptionist, make sure the receptionist knows what to say if a TV camera comes in the front door. Know what you’re supposed to do. It really is being, about being – but, but understand that it can happen to you and, and have, have somebody like me in your Rolodex. Does anybody have a Rolodex anymore?
No, but I think it’s an app now. I have to check. Oh, that didn’t really good app. But, you know, have a lawyer available. I think you always have to have some level of protection out there. Because it’s just dangerous from that from that perspective.
Jordan Ostroff 45:35
So now that we’ve scared you know, myself,
Sara Brady 45:38
I know you’re not scared.
Jordan Ostroff 45:41
Yeah, I guess I’m not but now that we scared rational people and our listeners, can you give us your contact info again?
Sara Brady 45:47
Sure, be glad to. My website is SaraBradyPR.com and my email is [email protected] and my phone number is 407-408-4000.
Jordan Ostroff 46:00
And that’s Sara without an H?
Sara Brady 46:01
Without an H.
Jordan Ostroff 46:02
Alright. So before we finish with this podcast, you know, we are relatively new podcast, I think this episode will be about episode and let’s see 17 or 18 at some point we’ll be on track, and I’ll get all the numbers correctly. You know, we’re on iTunes, Google, Stitcher, everywhere. So if you’ve listened to us, and you’ve enjoyed the podcast, we’d love an honest review. At the very least you can score us based upon our fantastic guests, you don’t have to punish them for having to deal with me for 40 minutes.
Sara Brady 46:28
This was a fun interview.
Jordan Ostroff 46:29
Good. I’m glad. So alright, so we end all our podcasts the same way. And, you know, Mark can edit out whatever dead time you need. So I always ask everybody the same question at the end, if somebody takes nothing else away from this, if they only remember what you’re about to say now, what is some advice that you’d like to get into the hands to as many of our listeners as possible?
Sara Brady 46:49
Jordan Ostroff 46:53
I know we save the hard hitting questions for the end.
Sara Brady 46:55
Yeah, I would say to, you know, understand that that, you know, bad things can happen to you and your business. Acknowledge that.
Jordan Ostroff 47:05
Yeah, what is it, bad things always happen to good people, right?
Sara Brady 47:07
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s sad, but it’s true. And, you know, be thoughtful about what you put out on all of these social media. You know, I did an interesting thing. I left social media. I mean, I have to watch it for business, but I left it. And I’m not, I’m only on Instagram and LinkedIn, but, but really Instagram. And mainly because I have a little dog and I like to put our pictures up there. But, little Margaret. But the, I’ve probably gained back about five hours in my week because I used to never be able to leave my office early on a Friday. Now I can. And I am so uncluttered and my temperament is so much more pleasant, because I don’t see all of that stuff out there anymore. So when the client has an issue, you know, I have, I have to look at that. But, but I don’t, I’m not out there anymore. And it’s really refreshing. So I would suggest, you know, take a month off and see what happens to your life by not being on social media.
Jordan Ostroff 48:10
I’m going to add one thing, like the Jordan Law Facebook page and then go.
Sara Brady 48:13
Yeah. You can go once a month and look at it.
Jordan Ostroff 48:17
There we go. No, you know, I agree with you because it’s,
Sara Brady 48:22
Jordan Ostroff 48:22
No, I just I, I unfollow people that don’t post funny things, positive things like I don’t have FOMO, thank God. So you want to post about a million vacations, I’m so happy for you. I’m glad that you live in a position where you can take those vacations. I want to see all these gorgeous places for me to go. But yeah, anytime you get just those negative people and most of the time it’s like on the different community pages like oh, for ours and all these big, oh, saw young kid with a backpack walking around suspiciously. I’m like it’s 2:30 in the afternoon, they’re coming home from school like I don’t know what you mean. But no, I hear you. So all right, there we go.
Sara Brady 48:56
Jordan Ostroff 48:57
Thank you so much for joining us.
Sara Brady 48:58
Well, thank you.
You’ve been listening to “Let’s Get Up to Business” from Jordan Law. We hope you’ve enjoyed the podcast and would consider sharing the show. We would also love an honest, five star review through iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or whatever podcatcher you use. If you are interested in being a guest on the podcast, please contact Producer Mark through email at [email protected] Use the subject line “Podcast Guest” in your email. Thank you. We look forward to speaking to you again soon.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai