Knowing When to Back Off During a Company Disaster

We’ve all heard about how badly BP handled the oil spill disaster back in April 2010. Basically, they needed to step in and do the right thing, and by the time they did, everyone figured it was just a token effort.

However, as poorly planned out as that response was, there is something to be said about hanging back and letting things die down a bit. Sometimes it’s just all you can do. People can usually sniff out when you’re making an effort just to make an effort and not because you really care – it generally comes off as insincere.

So how do you know when to go big and when to tuck your tail in for a while?


Luckily, we have a constant stream of information at our very fingertips. This includes not only the news but social media and even video sites like YouTube. By monitoring all of these, you can get a better idea of what the public’s opinion of you and your company is at all times.

As such, there’s no reason for you to not have a finger on at least the faintest of pulses when it comes to criticism of your company. Sometimes you get lucky and people will tell you exactly what they think of you on your Facebook page or making a video about it. Having direct feedback like this is always a good thing, even if it’s in the face of a potential disaster for your business.


If there is such a large backlash against your company, it may be time to lay low. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t do anything at all, of course. You definitely need to take steps to amend whatever went wrong.

What I’m saying is it may be time to do things from the shadows for a bit. Constantly throwing yourself out there and repeating how sorry you are just won’t work after a while. In fact, it could make things worse. Instead, focus on actions, and let them speak for you. Continue with your “clean-up” act while folks slowly forget about you.

Then, when the situation has settled, you can come back out into the public eye. Eventually, the actions you took will come to light (try not to announce them yourself – it’ll seem pompous). People will take notice and hopefully forgive and forget once they see all the good deeds you’ve done.

Now, using the same social media tactics, find out what the public opinion is. If all is clear, make a public statement regarding steps you’re taking in the future in prevention of further issues and accidents. With a little luck, all should be well, due to taking a step back for a minute and letting the fervor die down.

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of the Beginner’s Guide to Writing Powerful Press Releases here:

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