The Kliemann Case
Bad advice – or rather: no advice at all
Media and PR experts agree: Kliemann was badly advised – or not advised at all – on how to communicate with the public. Instead of going public with a prepared statement, which would have given him time for further clarification, he decided to “take the bull by the horns”: even though, he did not even know the exact background. Moreover, he decided to denounce the research of the editor’s teams. He did not look for the fault in himself first but on the other side. It was just then, that the actual episode of “ZDF Magazin Royale” was published: it was about Kliemann’s masks and their production. The editors were right and Kliemann had to admit that he had made mistakes in his communication.
Kliemann reacted highly emotionally and was deeply affected by the accusations. He could not keep a cool head and presented himself as a victim of bad research. PR professionals would have saved him from such statements because his image immediately no longer matched that of before.
Change of tack: Kliemann’s lessons learned
At the end of May 2022, Kliemann published another video on Instagram, admitted mistakes, apologised to the public, and referred to evidence and statements on his website. These and his video were adopted in all news reports in Germany – an indicator of successful media management and the fact that it is likely that he was eventually advised by a PR professional. It is obvious that it would have been better if he communicated with the benefit of professional advice in the first place, as his statements have damaged his reputation and image.
Eventually, Kliemann could rebuild the trust of his community. He will have to work hard for it and stick to his promises for the future.
Finally: Destroying a good reputation can be done within a very short time, rebuilding it can take years.