When the next crisis management textbook is written, there had better be a chapter on Prince Harry and how his Las Vegas PR debacle has turned into a great big PR win.
We don’t have to go into all of the details (the photos have gone viral). Suffice it to say, one of the most famous faces in the world has revealed much more than just his face to an audience of millions.
When the news broke it was almost universally described as a “PR disaster” both in the tabloids and in more “respectable” media.
Just a few weeks after the event, you’re not hearing words like disaster anymore. Instead, you’ve got London’s Daily Mail proclaiming “Harry goes for PR gold (and wins)” in the headlines.
How did he pull it off?
By using tried-and-true PR techniques like:
Relying on a trove of goodwill (his charitable works)
Immediately going about building fresh goodwill
Emphasizing his patriotism (his service in Afghanistan)
Being transparent (no pun intended)
After two weeks of silence, Harry’s PR advisers created a magnificently orchestrated coming-out party. Harry’s first public appearance saw him meeting with a 6-year-old boy, a survivor of acute leukemia. Harry is a patron of WellChild, a U.K. charity dedicated to the needs of sick children and their families.
In an interview with the boy on the day before the meeting, the boy told reporters he was going to say, “I'm glad you've got your clothes on, Prince Harry.”
Harry was briefed on those remarks and said to the boy, “I heard you were on ITV earlier and you said something cheeky—but let’s not talk about that here.” Brilliant!
From there, Harry went to the Paralympic Games, where he cheered on competitors on Great Britain’s team, including a 37-year-old discus thrower who had lost both legs in an explosion in Afghanistan. The two were seen laughing and joking together.
You don’t have to have a Royal as a client to avoid royal headaches with great PR. Crises will happen. They always do. Those who have some goodwill in the bank, who are willing to use humor and who pick themselves off the ground and immediately go about building more goodwill are the ones who won’t just survive…they will thrive.
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