Applying the 80-20 rule to crisis management

In the not-so-original words of Taylor Swift, haters gonna hate. More accurately, in an issue or crisis, your adversaries will have powerful reasons to double down on their position: they may have a diametrically opposed worldview or a need to maintain the rage of their supporters.

Ten per cent of your audiences will always be against you.

Conversely, another 10 per cent of your audiences will probably be supportive of you.

That means your efforts need to be concentrated on the persuadable 80 per cent. They are the audiences who are willing to listen, even though they may not agree – or even approve of you – right now.

Think of it as an inverse of the Pareto principle.

It doesn’t mean you can ignore the other 20 per cent. Harness your supporters to be advocates, and be ready to rebut and respond to your detractors depending on their volume and level of influence.

Just don’t expect to change their point of view.