A look at the week that was in PR. This edition includes several Wells Fargo miscues and a poor showing from NBC Today host Matt Lauer during a presidential debate.
There were high expectations as NBC News headed into what was referred to as a preliminary debate between the two presidential candidates. But for many the “Commander-in-Chief Forum” that aired on MSNBC on Sept. 7 crumbled in the hands of its host, the longtime “Today” show anchor, Matt Lauer.
We’re pretty sure Wells Fargo didn’t commit its recent goof for the benefit of teachers at the nearly 500 colleges and universities in the U.S. that have programs in PR, advertising, strategic communications and integrated marketing communications. Still, the financial brand’s inexcusable print ads, which seemed to urge youngsters to forego careers in the arts in favor of positions in science and technology, provided excellent lecture material for instructors teaching the estimated 51,000+ students enrolled in PR, advertising and strategic communications courses.
An undisclosed IT problem disrupted the British Airways’s check-in process at airports around the world causing lengthy delays. But for many that were stuck on the ground, the lack of information from the brand was less than ideal. Unlike other outages experienced by airlines like Delta and Southwest, British Airways focused on responding to people individually on Twitter with generic statements.
The European Commission’s ruling Aug. 30 that Apple must fork over $14.6 billion (plus interest) in unpaid taxes, due to Ireland having granted illegal preferential aid to Apple over 20 years, was certainly a heavy blow for the tech behemoth. But when it comes to a public response, the decision has given Apple a powerful ally: the United States government.
There is a fine line between adopting a social issue and taking a position on something so controversial that it quickly escalates from good intention to crisis. While this piece is not intended to determine the rightness or wrongness of Kaepernick’s act, from a communications perspective, here are a few things that PR pros should consider if someone from your organization is preparing to make a political statement.
Ryan Lochte, the embattled U.S. Olympic swimmer who falsely claimed to be robbed at gunpoint with three other swimmers in Rio de Janeiro, began an apology tour on Aug. 20. Speaking with NBC’s Matt Lauer and Felipe Santana of Globo, one of Brazil’s largest television networks, Lochte accepted responsibility for his actions, at times appearing on the verge of tears with Lauer. But some in the PR world said his apology and overall crisis communications leave much to be desired.
The classic school of crisis management is rooted in the concept of goodwill banks, with the idea being that a company builds up goodwill over time, which is a currency that helps withstand a crisis. While much has changed in the best practices of crisis management, the concept of building a goodwill bank still holds up. Fundamentally, building a goodwill bank begins with building relationships. Just like any relationship, if it’s one sided—where one party is always asking for something—it rarely becomes a trusted relationship.
We asked TrendKite, a Texas-based media tracker, to run an analysis of media and social mentions, key messages and headlines to see if Chipotle’s plan to change the conversation worked. The data, generated exclusively for PR News Pro, could also determine how long a crisis can linger in the media. The stock market, however, has a quick way to calculate this: Chipotle shares are down nearly 50% during the past year.
It’s no secret that a crisis can pop up at any time and put an organization in a precarious position. The crisis can present itself seemingly out of nowhere—like the diving and water polo pools at the Rio Olympics turning mysteriously green, or Delta Airlines’ power failure—and dangerously skew the perception of a brand. While it’s essential to focus on a transparent and progressive external response, communicating clearly and efficiently with employees can create powerful brand ambassadors in troubled times.