Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How to Fix and Avoid Dreaded PR Mishaps

There's a fine line between do’s and don’ts when a public relations disaster occurs. Within the past year there have been a handful of significant PR catastrophes that easily could have been avoided. Let's revisit them and then learn what should have been done to remedy the situation.

  1. The Paula Deen Scandal: We’ve all heard about the incident with Paula Deen and her racially insensitive comments, but what made the situation worse was that it took her days to apologize. which should have been done immediately. 
  2. The NRA’s Offensive Tweet on the Day of the Aurora, CO Shooting: On July 20, the same day that James Holmes open fired at a crowd in a movie theater in Aurora, CO, the NRA tweeted: “Good morning, shooters. Happy Friday! Weekend plans?” The tweet was taken down hours later and the NRA stated that it was tweeted by an individual who was unaware of the day's event.  
  3. Abercrombie & Fitch CEO's Comments: A&F CEO, Mike Jeffries made the unnerving statement that “he doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people.”  Jeffries did not applogize and stood by his off-putting statement.

Now that we’ve revisited a few PR disasters, here are some tips to handle a mishap gracefully.

• Consumers want results, not excuses. Don’t wait too long to respond to the situation and respond by doing something visible to make it known that you are actively trying to solve what went wrong.

• Being sincere goes a long way. If you are trying to fix an issue, people will accept what happened and move on easier if you are genuinely sorry.

• When trying to resolve an issue, writing a boring press release won’t get you off the hook for your mess up. Connect with the public on all platforms and provide all the information needed to put the people at ease.

• Communication is key. Don’t ignore people because you are afraid of what they might ask. Answer all their questions, even if you don’t really know the answer; ignoring them will make it seem like you don’t care.

• Use social media appropriately. It's easy to send a quick tweet of your current, very honest thoughts. Make sure the content you put out there is thoughtful and appropriate from all points of view.

Look at things from an outsider’s point of view and always be smart about your actions. If something you’re doing doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. You don’t want to be on the list of Top PR Disasters!

Do you have any great tips on how to avoid or solve PR disasters? Let us know by tweeting us at @MonikaDixonPR!

By Ashley Siech, MDPR Contributer

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