Judy Smith, a well-known Washington PR has been credited with being able to salvage the messiest of PR messes. Smith has helped Larry Craig, the senator who inappropriately attempted to find love in a public restroom; actor Wesley Snipes, who had rather a time of it with the IRS; and Monica Lewinsky, who – well, you know. And now its emerged that Smith has just been appointed by Tampa socialite Jill Kelley to help with her ongoing Petraeus mess.
Smith previously worked in Washington under George W. Bush. Since setting up her private consultancy, Smith has artfully packaged crisis PR management in a book called Good Self, Bad Self. In it, she lists the seven character straits that can propel us to giddy heights or be the genesis of our undoing: ego, denial, fear, ambition, accommodation, patience, and indulgence.
Smith argues that the character traits that can bring one success can also lead to a downfall. Problems ensue when they fall out of balance. Her PR answer? Recalibrating one or more of those seven vital characteristics and being personally responsible for the repair work. This PR approach is not just about polishing a tainted reputation; as The New York Times mentioned in a recent article about Smith, this is about creating and selling a narrative “for redemption.”
The PR Verdict: ”A” (PR Perfect) for Judy Smith. Not only has she packaged herself as the PR Ms. Fix-It, she has also wrapped a methodology around the cure.
The PR Takeaway: One-offs are fine, but methodology is better. It’s not often that a client’s personal gestalt is used in crisis communications. For a believable turnaround, each client needs to be able to communicate with authenticity in the media glare. Smith, through her methodology, might be able to give her distressed clients the key. Not easy to come by, but when accessed, this might lead to ultimate public redemption faster than any other track.
To read more about Judy Smith, click here.