When Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg took a trip to DC last week to assure politicians that Facebook was taking serious the claims about Russian meddling in our elections, it was referred to as a “PR Blitz” by The New York Times, which also mentioned in the NY Times article that the social network hired three crisis… Continued
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ESPN’s social media guidelines boil down to “if you wouldn’t say it on our TV or website screens, don’t say it in social.” That leaves a lot of room for interpretation, especially in today’s highly charged climate, but it’s a rule of thumb most of us understand. We all know it’s much easier and safer to express fury and strong opinions on social media than it is to express them in face-to-face situations or on, say, national television. But still—there’s that gray area between personal expression in one’s own social media accounts and one’s responsibility to an employer.
Let’s make the alleged Tillerson “moron” comment a PR question. You are the person responsible for building and maintaining the reputation of a brand. A senior official makes a derogatory comment about the CEO that eventually becomes public. What do you do? If the senior official leaves the company shortly after making the comment, what message do you convey to staff and stakeholders to keep morale high? What if the senior official remains with the brand?
Unlike Amazon, which began as an online bookstore and moved beyond that singular identity to become an online store for anything you could possibly want to buy—as well as a search engine and entertainment content producer—Twitter has stuck to its initial identity. Being just one thing is dangerous in a marketplace that keeps getting reshaped by advances in technology and changes in consumer habits.
President Trump’s use of the moniker “Rocket Man” to refer to the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, was purely Trumpian communications. Like or hate the president’s politics (and yesterday’s speech), he has a way of using language that cuts through the clutter and gets people talking about subjects he’s passionate about. That’s similar to what communicators strive to do every day.
Growing up, most of us were encouraged to play well in the sandbox, to share our toys and pay attention in class. Fast forward to now, and imagine your boss telling you to do the same. It would feel patronizing, right? Truth is, we could benefit from those childhood reminders. As the tools at our disposal work across multiple disciplines, it’s become more critical for brands to promote an omni-channel message that will resonate.
As Katie Paine wrote about Bell Pottinger in PR News this past July, “PR counselors long have argued that ethics are critical and apologies, honesty and transparency are the best cures in a crisis. It’s a bit mind-boggling when one of the world’s leading PR firms ignores its own advice.” This was before its recent death spiral.
Brands have to be extremely sensitive about how they show support in times of crisis. It’s all too easy to come across as crass and opportunistic, despite the best of intentions. Airlines, though, are in a unique position when a natural disaster strikes. They can take real, life-changing action.
In the Houston area the priorities are rescue, assistance and recovery. Finger pointing about who’s to blame has started, but properly should come much, much later, if at all. Still, there are PR lessons in the early stages of what looks to be a years-long issue. Here are a few.
“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” In French, “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” In a rough sense, that aphorism sums up what 24 senior communicators told us in response to the following question: “How can public relations leaders become stronger strategic business advisers as the lines between PR,… Continued
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