A few weeks ago I was contacted by a prominent attorney on behalf of his client. They were anticipating some bad news and wanted advice on getting out in front of the story. Before engaging us, he wanted to know what – in general – is our approach to adversarial situations.
There is only so much I can share with a prospective client without … well, you know. But as I mentioned a while back, I've always been fascinated by how principles from other disciplines can be applied to communication.
Now, everybody’s heard of the Red Barron. Heck, they even named a pizza after the guy. But the most respected German pilot of World War I was a guy named Oswald Boelcke.
While training other pilots, he developed what is now known as the Dicta Boelcke. These are the rules of engagement used by pilots from biplanes to supersonic jets.
And with a little adaptation, by PR pros.
1. Try to secure the advantage before attacking. If possible keep the sun behind you.
2. Always carry through an attack once you have begun.
3. Fire only at close range and only when your opponent is properly in your sights.
4. Always keep your eye on your opponent and never let yourself be deceived by ruses.
5. In any form of attack it is essential to assail your opponent from behind.
6. If your opponent dives on you, do not try to evade his attack but fly to meet him.
7. When over the enemy's line, never forget your own line of retreat.
8. For the Squadron: In Principle, attack in groups of four or six. When the fight breaks up into single combats take care that several do not go for just one opponent.
It might be interesting to keep these dicta handy as you watch contested issues – and elections – unfold.