Ara Chekmayan is the CEO of New York City based Tactical Public Relations. He’s a public relations, media and crisis management expert, yet he’s so unassuming you’d never hear him describe himself that way.
He’d tell you he just helps his clients state their case to the world to the best of his abilities. Of course, Chekmayan’s modesty is belied by that fact that he is in demand by the very media itself, particularly when it comes to commenting on the big story.
Just today, powerhouse New York City radio station 1010 WINS asked Chekmayan to give comment on Tiger Woods eminent return to the public eye.
As busy as Ara is, we are appreciative he gave us some of his valuable time, to comment more extensively on the Tiger Woods situation and crisis management in general.
Listen to the Ara Chekmayan interview:
Chris Yandek: What is the strategy for a public relations company when preparing a high profile client for a major announcement?
Ara Chekmayan: “First, be honest. Even if you must convey bad news, be honest. In the mid and long term, cover-ups hurt more than honestly, conveyed bad news. Second, keep it simple. Elaborate statements confuse people. Speak in basic terms. Ornamentation might be for certain kinds of artwork; it’s not, however, for public announcements.”
CY: Many public image consultants say that it’s always important for their client to get ahead of the story. Have Tiger Woods’s management people waited too long for this press conference?
AC: “It is not about getting ahead or being behind. The media is so extensive and so layered, that there are multiple entry points to stories. The key is consistency, congruence and integrity.”
CY: Is a press conference a better option for someone in Tiger Wood’s situation over doing a sit down with someone like Oprah?
AC: “Oprah is great. She is an industry unto herself. She sets the tone for many conversations in the media. However, Oprah is powerful and independent. Can you tell her what questions to ask? Can you dictate conditions to her? I don’t think so.”
CY: Is the public expecting some sort of apology from him and only then they will finally let him move on even if that deals with actions in his personal life?
AC: “That’s a good question and a tough question. First you have to define who the public is. There is the public and there is Tiger Woods’s public. I don’t think golf lovers will care either way. I don’t think Tiger Woods’s fans will care either way. However, sponsors will care. Industry will care because they sell to a broader public than Tiger’s particular piece of the market. In that sense, an apology will be made – a series of apologies actually – to meet the needs of corporate sponsors. It will give them cover to continue to work with him, or re-up with him if they have already left him.”
CY: Finally, is the hope of Woods’s management people that the media will fully move on to covering other things including what Tiger does on the course?
AC: “I never try to mind read. I have no crystal ball. I only know what I would counsel my clients. Be honest in times when most would want to be deceitful. Be unafraid when most will want to run and hide. Face the music once and let it be remembered that you had the integrity to own up to a tough situation. Then, even if the story continues, eventually its trajectory will turn in your favor.”
Check out Ara Chekmayan at Tactical Public Relations at http://www.tacticalpr.com
Photo Credit: Tactical PR