from pickett&associates … exploring PR, social media and entrepreneurship

Big Company … Big Crisis December 14, 2010

Filed under: Crisis Communication,Strategic PR — pickettwrites @ 2:19 pm

Long time no blog.

Back to that “cobbler’s children have no shoes” theory. I know it is essential that a business maintain the stream of awareness created from relevant-content blogs, Tweets and Facebook posts. However, my workload of late is a good reminder WHY so many businesses have turned to Pickett&Associates to assist with their social media management! When you’re trying to run a business, marketing for YOUR business slips down the priority list.

So, after a brief absence, I’m back on the blog wagon hoping your heart has grown fonder. And the last few weeks have certainly given me lots to blog about: trends in public relations, new developments in social media management, myth-busting search engine optimization and a litany of observations.

So, for today, how about the wonderful world of public relations? Fineman’s annual “Worst PR Blunders of 2010” list is out and, honestly, the fact that they were able to cull it down to 10 is pretty impressive. Mind you, these are the “biggies of national scope.” Topping the list is British Petroleum and their monumental bungle, including the CEO’s ill-conceived quotes “it wasn’t our accident” and “I just want my life back.” I was just waiting for him to say, “You’re doing a heck of a job, Brownie.”

Toyota’s web of “pay no attention to that car behind the curtain,” was a close second followed by the NPR/Juan Williams fiasco. You can follow the link above to read the report in its entirety. What it proves beyond a shadow of doubt is that money and company size certainly don’t buy good public relations’ smarts. And of course, I always wonder, “How did their public relations professional allow this to get so out of hand?”

For the record, a trusted communications advisor should be just that: They serve as respected member of your senior management team, whether that is an internal or external position. And in that role, they are not necessarily a cheerleader; they will probably, from time to time, have to clear their throat a little and tell you something you really don’t want to hear. A communications advisor thinks in terms of “what if” scenarios and acts proactively as a result. If you have a business, there will, at some point, be a crisis. And, as we can see from the behemoths mentioned in the Blunders list, the bigger the company, the bigger the potential crisis. The difference between a crisis and a permanently damaging incident is the way in which the company reacts, takes ownership and makes restitution or amends.

So, do you agree with Fineman’s list? Any additions? I’d love to hear!


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