Crisis Communication Lessons From Scandal’s Olivia Pope

Attention gladiators, there is a lot more to the hit show Scandal than meets the eye. Olivia Pope, a crisis communications consultant in Washington, has the tough job of handling some of politics biggest scandals. While tampering with evidence and discarding murder victim’s bodies is a common occurrence, not all of the actions of Pope & Associates should be overlooked. At its core Olivia embodies many of the qualities of a successful public relations professional.

How to handle stress like a pro: Public relations is considered one of the most stressful job industries, full of difficult clients and crisis situations. Olivia handles an overwhelming amount of chaos in her life at all times, but when it comes to her clients everything is always handled. She never lets anyone see her sweat and she makes seemingly impossible tasks manageable. Olivia Pope represents what careful strategic thinking can achieve.


Always have a plan: When a crisis strikes, having a crisis communication plan is the quickest way for action. Anticipate potential threats before they occur so you are prepared for whatever the crisis may be. Olivia always tells her clients she needs to know the full story before going to the media in order to be prepared for whatever dirt they might dig up. By knowing the facts in advance, you can make a proactive plan as opposed to being caught off guard when the crisis hits.

Keep up with the news: Pope & Associates deal with high profile political clients, so staying keyed in with the news is a requirement. Without knowing what is changing in politics, Olivia would not be able to most efficiently create and implement client strategies. It is in the same in a real world PR crisis. You need to be immersed in the news to identify changing trends or spot potential threats that could occur.

Pope & Associates highlight some of the key elements for successful crisis communications in their work. While their unethical behavior is not something to imitate, Olivia and her team work tirelessly to always put their clients first and fix the situation. As a whole, the show Scandal portrays some of the important aspects of working the industry. And Olivia Pope is a smart, savvy crisis communication professional worth emulating.

By: Jennie Osber

Jennie Osber is a senior mass communication major with minors in advertising and psychology. Along with PRSSA-UD, she is a member of Gamma Sigma Sigma, the national service sorority and Lambda Pi Eta, the communication honors fraternity. Follow her on Twitter: @JennieOsber.

Link used for research:

Image: from Google Images

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