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Crisis management expert: Here's what Google should do about '60 Minutes'

Michael B. Kelley
Head of Audience Development

The tech world and investors are awaiting a “60 Minutes” segment highlighting “The Power of Google” on Sunday evening. On Friday, shares of Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc. (GOOG, GOOGL) dipped on the impending feature. And experts think some sort of damage control will be required.

“You don’t know what’s in it. And you know it’s going to come out. I think I like to call it controlled panic,” Dean Crutchfield, CEO of Crutchfield and Partners and a crisis management advisor, told Yahoo Finance’s Jen Rogers.

‘The Achilles’ heel for Google

Crutchfield said that “there are four most important founding kind of stones of a good crisis management program. First of all, number one, of course, do you have a plan? Now, this is Google. They have faced lots of issues before, so they must have some kind of crisis planning in place. 

“Do they have a team from the CEO down that are there to be accountable, but also available? Is that team going to open up all the lines of communication, including with Yahoo Finance? If you do that globally, you can be looking at 20, 30 people just manning that. 

“And then the fourth one, which I think is the Achilles’ heel for Google, is hide nothing and tell all.” 

(Screengrab from CBS/YouTube)

Asked to explain why transparency is Google’s Achilles heel, Crutchfield said that Google’s position as an imposing pillar of the internet landscape works against the company in this situation.

“How do you prove the case that competition is fair in the market when you have so much dominance of it?” Crutchfield asked. “It’s very hard to be very open and honest about that when, of course, your immediate priority is to protect yourself.”

‘What did you eat last Wednesday?’

At the same time, much like the recent of Facebook (FB) data scandal, a company as dominant as Google will likely weather the storm if it manages public relations effectively.

“There’s also something else that a very famous PR man once told me years ago. ‘What did you eat last Wednesday?’ Most of us can’t remember,” Crutchfield said. “That’s the same case with this. After a while, the news cycle will go away. But not privacy and transparency. That’s not going away. That’s big. It’s going to stay there. And it’s really a question of how Google handles it.”

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