Paula Deen: Crisis Mode & Damage Control

Paula, Paula, Paula Deen. Last week Ms. Paula Deen was making headlines for all of the wrong reasons. It all started with a court deposition going public and the world discovering that Deen used racial slurs. Then she was fired from the Food Network and the experts are beginning to say that she and her brand are done cooking. Like always there is a learning opportunity for your own brand. 

Brand/Image lessons for a crisis:

  • You made a commitment, so show up
    • Deen canceled on an interview because she didn’t want to address the issue. This would have been a great opportunity to face this issue and address the public because everyone would be watching.
  • Apologize and apologize fast
    • I heard that Deen published an apology video, but removed it. Not good. It was good that she posted the video, but removing it only put another wound to her already dying image/brand. 
    • Be sure the apology is sincere and heartfelt. It shouldn’t seem scripted and the public should believe it. 
  • Prepare for the worse
    • The second Deen owned her racial slurs, she and her team should have put a plan in place for this to explode. Your brand should always have a plan/kit to use when crisis strikes. This plan should not be created in the storm of the crisis.
    • Expect the worse and make a plan.

Only time will tell what all of this means for Paula Deen and the Paul Deen brand. I suggest she hires Judy Smith (you know from Scandal).

If the public forgives her she is going to have to continue to do a lot of damage control and prove to the world that she really is a changed person. 


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