By: Ilana Ruben
The respected cyclist, philanthropist, cancer survivor, and celebrity Lance Armstrong recently confessed to doping on Oprah Winfrey’s network OWN. The years of denial, lies and deceit have finally spiraled out of control, prompting Armstrong to stop fighting the allegations and come clean with his confession.
According to an article on CBSnews.com, doping was the reason Armstrong won his seven consecutive Tour De France titles. He is also attributed to promoting and fostering the ‘doping culture’ in the cycling community. The fall out of these confessions include having his bronze medal from the 2000 Olympics taken away, being forced out of the Livestrong cancer charity he started, and losing a many of his endorsement deals. With all of these confessions, pending investigations and lawsuits, retirement will not be easy for Armstrong.
What Armstrong needs now good public relations, a lot of it and fast. From a PR standpoint the Armstrong camp is in crisis mode. How do you build back up a previous image and reputation that was all based on lies?
Well, you can’t, so what you do instead is create a new image. Armstrong has a lot of apologizing to do and a lot of legal issues that need to be handled to start off his quest to regain trust from his fans. He has already taken the first step in this process by admitting his wrong doing and that he is in fact “a flawed character.” A little self-deprecation goes a long way in admitting wrong.
It would also help him a great deal to testify under oath so the full extent of his doping activities can be known. Once the appropriate consequences are determined, Armstrong must take full ownership of them and comply. He must then concentrate on rebuilding a new positive image, one way to achieve this is to speak out against doping in athletics and try to put a stop to the culture he contributed to.
Armstrong has a long journey ahead of him to rebuild his image and regain the trust of his fans, luckily for him there is an arsenal of PR tactics, and PR professionals that can help him in this process.