Lessons Learned from Brett Favre

By: Kristin Rabas, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past month, you’ve certainly heard the accusations recently brought against Brett Favre for the “revealing” text messages and voicemails he left for a female New York Jets reporter. When this story first came out earlier this year I thought, well, his reputation is completely blown so I doubt he’ll come back for another season. But then a strange thing happened and the story fizzled away before it really got any major attention. Well low and behold, he’s back for another season, back into the spotlight and making headlines across America.

Working in PR, this story got me thinking about a number of things that Brett Favre has done wrong since this story broke and how it translates to the business world.

  • Public Perception / Reputation. It can take years for a company to build a positive reputation within a community. It took Brett Favre multiple seasons as the Packers quarterback before the community accepted and believed in what he could do for the team. However, just like in Brett’s case, a company’s reputation can be tarnished in a split second. The worst thing a company can do when negative news or speculation surfaces is to ignore it. As of today, I have not seen one report of Brett Favre publicly apologizing (except to his team which happened behind closed doors) for his actions or even trying to tell his side of the story. This just makes him look guilty and unforgiving. Once seen as one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, he now looks like a joke who cares about nothing but himself. Long story short, businesses need to have a plan in place for when a crisis arises and tackle it head on. Ignoring it let’s everyone draw up their own conclusions.
  • Social Media Policies. Technology and social media have given us the ability to send information, pictures, music, databases, thoughts and more to hundreds, thousands or even millions of people worldwide with the click of a mouse. While I’m sure Brett Favre didn’t intend for anyone else to see his text, once it was sent, he no longer had control over what was done with that information. This should serve as a reminder to businesses that social media policies need to be in place for anyone who’s tweeting or posting about your company. Once information is sent there’s no turning back.

Sometimes mistakes and crises are unavoidable. But looking at Brett Favre’s story serves as a reminder of what not to do and procedures companies must have in place in order to combat such situations if they do arise.

What is your take on the way Brett Favre is handling his current situation? Will his reputation ever recover after this latest blunder?