Pre-empting the competition

Regardless of how one feels about the controversial, highly-secretive Opus Dei sect of the Roman Catholic Church, one has to admire the aggressive, proactive public relations campaign underway to manage its image and reputation.

As most everyone knows, Opus Dei was pilloried in Dan Brown’s blockbuster bestseller "The DaVinci Code." And, while Opus Dei spokespeople defended the organization at the time the book came out, they’ve really shifted into high gear in anticipation of the May 19th movie launch starring Tom Hanks. In just the last 48 hours alone, Opus Dei has been positively profiled on the front page of The New York Times and Good Morning America.

Opus Dei is clearly receiving some very smart counsel. Its campaign is intended to demonstrate how how wrong Brown was and how normal its policies, procedures and people really are.

This is classic crisis communications strategy. By landing the first punch, Opus Dei is helping to frame its image as opposed to allowing the media and the movie to do so later on. It’s a smart move that would make even Mona Lisa break into a big grin.

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