Case Studies

Why Ryan Lochte’s Lies Matter

Ryan Lochte’s attempt at an apology for lying about being robbed at gunpoint was no apology at all. Instead it was more subterfuge that suggests a gaping hole in his character, it demonstrates an undeniable level of cowardice.  

We live in a pretty forgiving society.  Everyone makes mistakes.  We pay the price, hopefully learn from it, and move on.  When it comes to strategic communications in times of crisis, the idea to alleviate the problem.  Lochte’s statement has exacerbated the issue.

LochteThe non-apology issued by Lochte suggests that he thinks the gold hanging from his neck exonerates him from his frat-boy behavior. It also suggests that he is alone or perhaps just surrounded by people who see no future for the swimmer (how else to explain that attempt at an apology?).

Olympians occupy a special place in sports – more than representing a team or themselves or sponsors, they represent their country. The rampaging of a gas station bathroom by Lochte and other American swimmers reflects poorly on all Americans.

Their actions are the embodiment of the Ugly Americans.  Not only did the swimmers vandalize a small business owner, they then attempted use Brazil’s reputation for crime as a getaway scheme and position themselves as the victims.

Lochte and Co. need to sincerely apologize.  No more statements.  They should meet with the media to explain exactly what happened and express their heartfelt regret for their actions. This is their chance as Americans to show the world they not only made a mistake but they are willing to completely own up to it.

At this point, few people really care about the swimmer’s reputations or what happens to them — they need to do the right thing on behalf of their country.  It’s an opportunity to show the world that they are winners and not cowards.

Lochte has played second fiddle to Michael Phelps his entire career.  Phelps was able to successfully rally back from a career threatening mistake. He owned his errors and seems to have become a better person for having endured. Lochte has the chance to again follow in Phelps footsteps.  We will if he is man enough to do so.  

Master Chef Peter Chang’s Flawless Crisis Management

In the restaurant business, reputations are made and broken with every customer interaction.  That includes how customers are treated from the moment they walk into a restaurant, the service they receive and of course the meal.  Customers judge all of it. Extreme restaurant experiences – either awesome or awful – tend to be the ones customers talk about.

Last week at Peter Chang’s Restaurant in Arlington, Va., some servers attempted to secretly ridicule customers they thought were being obnoxious.  After the meal the customers noticed on the check that the servers had identified them as “plaid asshole” and “i have a small penis.”

These customers told people about the experience.  And by people, I mean The Washington Post and suddenly the story went viral.  Peter Chang, was the head chef at the Chinese Embassy before launching his restaurant empire that now numbers seven locations in Virginia.  He is so popular among some devoted diners they call themselves “Changians.”

So, what to do when your reputation is being smeared in the Washington Post?  Take swift action. In a business where your business depends on reputation, customers must be reassured that action is being taken and steps are made to try to ensure the same mistakes are not made again.

Peter Chang took action.  He responded by firing everyone involved in the incident: two servers, the manager on duty, and his daughter who is responsible for running the restaurant.  He didn’t stop there.  He launched an investigation to understand exactly what happened; he’s hiring a professional management company to help train employees; and, he invited customers to contact him directly with complaints or criticism.

These are all excellent steps addressing the unfortunate situation and avoiding a catastrophic crisis.  The steps send the message that the customers always come first and he takes the situation (and his reputation) very seriously.  Below is the statement of apology Chang sent to the media:

Peter Chang’s Statement                                   

I sincerely apologize to the guests who were offended on 05/07/2016 when they dined at my Arlington restaurant. I am deeply disturbed by the incident. I am sorry, my respected guests. I also apologize to all my friends who have had trust in Peter Chang. We made a mistake and let you down.

We made a mistake and we must correct it. The following is what we are doing to correct and improve:

  1. My company has fired Qian Cheng, the manager on duty on 05/07, and the waiter and waitress on duty. Manager Lydia Zhang will also be fired after the investigation is completed.
  2. My company is contacting a professional management company and will have it as our consultant in improving the management of all the restaurants in my company. My goal is to enforce discipline, supervision of all employees and to better the training of services [sic] so as to build a managing team that is professional and effective, so that the quality of services will be guaranteed.
  3. My company will make greater effort in improving the food quality monitoring system so my insistence on offering fresh and healthy food with Chinese characteristics will not only be upheld but improved and perfected.
  4. We accept guests’ complaints and/or criticism wholeheartedly. Please call Gen Lee, who is one of the founders of my company, by dialing (434) 227-0006 if you are unsatisfied with any aspect of my restaurants. He will contact you quickly.

Dear guests and friends, I found dignity in being a chef due to your support and encouragement. I need more of your help in supervising my employees, so my restaurants will be nicer places for you to enjoy fine food in the future, and I will have a stage to continue to present my culinary skills.

Peter Chang

Triad Racing Technologies

Tuckahoe StrategiTriadVerticallogoes provides strategic counsel and content development services for Triad Racing Technologies.  Triad  successfully builds racing engines, body parts and is a primary vendor for Toyota Racing Development in NASCAR.  Tuckahoe helped Triad to develop dynamic content including testimonials, blogs, and photography as the company was redesigning its website.  Tuckahoe also updated Triad’s social media presence by rejuvenating or creating pages for Facebook, LinkedIN, and Twitter.  Once the website was completed, Tuckahoe successfully executed a plan to launch the new website and social media platform.  The Triad website can be see at:www.TriadRacingTechnologies.com

MOORESVILLE, NC - SEPTEMBER 17:  during a commercial photo shoot at Triad Racing Technologies on September 17, 2014 in Mooresville, North Carolina.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Photo to Triad Engine shop

MOORESVILLE, NC - SEPTEMBER 17:  during a commercial photo shoot at Triad Racing Technologies on September 17, 2014 in Mooresville, North Carolina.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

TRD Engines looking good