05. December 2018
The Marketing Club Köln-Bonn hosted a panel discussion on the subject of "Truth or Lies? How companies can survive in times of fake news". Thomas Müller, CEO of DIE PR-BERATER, took part.
The agency "Zum goldenen Hirschen" in Cologne invited to the discussion that focussed on questions such as: Are there more lies today than there used to be? Should companies deal with false media reporting on them? If so, how? What are successful defence strategies? How can companies act preventively?
Three experts exchanged their opinions on that issue: Philipp Keller, Managing Director of the agency "Zum goldenen Hirschen", media and press attorney Professor Ralf Höcker, and crisis communication expert Thomas Müller. All three panelists agreed that it is particularly important to act quickly in times of crisis. To ensure that lies are revealed quickly and do not spread uncontrollably through all information channels, possibly across countries, false reports should be slowed down at an early stage.
Höcker stressed that legal strictness is required when it comes to a genuinely false report. Every media house has its own agenda. This leads to the fact that the press spreads untrue information on a regular basis. In such cases, the company should contact an attorney as early as possible. According to Höcker, even the guiding principle "The Internet never forgets" is not irrefutable.
Hirsch and Müller, on the other hand, agreed that a company has to counter false reports consciously instead of arrogantly dismissing them. “The point is to tell the story anew”, says Hirsch. In this way, a new storytelling could emerge from a false report. Müller emphasized that this is particularly important because fewe attacks are based on a justiciable lie, but on slanderous allegations that are protected by freedom of expression. Or the lies are published anonymously. Here, it only helps to stress one’s own story to question and attack the reliability of the opposite side.
According to the crisis PR expert, emotions are the key to success.
In times of false reports, media such as texts, images, animations, and films must be conceived in such a way that they convince and move the public.
Around 40 experts, particularly from the marketing sector, contributed to the lively discussion with the three experts. Even though the basic direction seemed the same, each of the three experts would encounter false reports with different methods.
The Cologne-Bonn Marketing Club is an established network of marketing experts. Lectures, discussions, network meetings, and general meetings take place regularly. Non-members can also participate in the events for a fee.
More information on this event can be found here.
From the left: Thomas Müller, Prof. Ralf Höcker, Holger Geißler, Philipp Keller