PR strategists understand the power of influence. A voice with enough clout is heard and heeded, even by ears that previously seemed to have been deaf. As the New York Times said, “When Taylor Swift speaks, even the most powerful company in the world listens.”Read More
Sometimes, companies launch marketing campaigns with slogans or events that leave consumers baffled. These campaigns prompt the question: what were the marketing teams behind them thinking?Read More
This week’s latest overseas crisis, the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, demonstrates how much effect democracy – or the lack of democracy – has on international PR. A story in the current issue of BloombergBusinessWeek, headlined “Why Malaysia Will Say Almost Nothing About the Missing Plane,” explains the “democracy effect” clearly.
The number one rule of crisis management is to communicate even when you don’t know the answers to questions that will be asked. This is PR 101. On the face of things, it’s rather shocking that an airline in a country that has the resources and relatively high standards of living that Malaysia has is not better able to manage a crisis. Western airlines have well-trained public relations advisors and staffs to cope with a crisis. However, there’s a western bias towards open communications and an Asian bias against it. One of the written comments below the BloombergBusinessWeek article summed up that attitude succinctly: “There is a saying that if a man doesn't know what he's talking about he should not talk about it. They [airline and government] didn't say much because they don't know much. That's not hiding things that's being cautious.”
In the public relations world, there is a special breed of professionals that gravitate towards turmoil and conflict. They relish the thought of waking in the middle of the night to a call from a frantic CEO seeking counsel to diffuse a high stakes crisis. They are the fearless mavericks who run toward the fire—extinguisher in hand—while others dart for the fire escapes. For these thrill seekers, 2013 has been a quite a memorable year.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few months, you’ve probably seen commercials from Walmart’s latest ad campaign, dubbed the “Real Walmart,” which sets out to revamp the company’s image as a responsible corporate citizen.
Someone once told me that the only perfect people are those who are six feet under, because they can’t make any more mistakes. Everyone else screws up from time to time (companies included).
When an interview or conversation is held “off-the-record,” it often results in misunderstandings, confusion, and finger pointing. The recent debacle involving Barbara Morgan, the communications director for New York City mayor candidate Anthony Weiner, provides another poignant example of the fallacy behind the notion of “off-the-record” and the risks associated with it.
Occasionally we see great blog posts from colleagues that just cry out to be shared. Today we feature one such post, written by Joy Scott, president and CEO of Scott Public Relations in Los Angeles. Joy's firm is a fellow member of Public Relations Boutiques International where she and I serve together as officers of the organization. We hope the history buffs among our readers enjoy this post, and that it provides an interesting lesson in crisis management as well.
Business people often mistakenly assume that because they know their companies, industries and products so well, they’re in good shape to handle a media interview. But even the most surefooted spokesperson can flop an interview when proper planning isn’t done. A little media training goes a long way, and is something you should consider as an investment in yourself.