The Hot Waters of PR

In the blink of an eye, sometimes even less, public relations 
disasters can occur. That brilliant idea that made so much at the strategy table goes awry often in the most unexpected ways. This is especially true in the fast-paced world of social media. If you don’t have a crisis plan in place you may be out on the streets along with the client project that were attempting to promote.

According to Gerry McCusker of, many public relations professionals don’t “craft connective, meaningful, believable and winning crisis management statements” in the first place. He suggest that maybe aren’t equipped to help their clients express themselves well enough to get out of the hot water they just boiled.

Here are some examples of scalding situations:

  • A McDonalds website  advising employees to avoid fast food restaurants, not because they were competitors but because they were unhealthy.
  • Abercrombie & Fitch caught offering someone money to NOT wear their clothes.
  • 2 Domino’s Pizza employees filmed themselves (and then posted online) stuffing cheese up their noses & sneezing on sandwiches.
  • Financial giant AIG used $440K of bailout money for a company retreat.

In some cases, though, the constraint of legal counsel might quell efforts to humanize the disaster in a way that speaks to our better humanity which is something most people crave.

To develop relevant and true statements (because people really are smart enough to tell the difference between fluff and honesty), he recommends, for example, that public relations pros ask that misguided people/company  ‘caught in the act’ these questions among others:
A) What really went on for YOU that time?
B) why did YOU make that choice?
D) Didn’t YOU fear getting caught? And
 E) What feelings did YOU have at the time, and what do YOU feel right now?

We couldn’t agree more. It’s no longer enough to say “Oops, I made a mistake.” These questions can get to the heart of the matter, of the disaster, because they say something. In many cases, they allow the hot water to cool down.
 To read McCusker’s complete blog, click here

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