Posts Tagged ‘public relations industry’

In the Evolution of Media relations, the Urge to Avoid the Sensational

December 6th, 2009

High and mighty finger-pointing at the White House gate crashers.  Sarah Palin’s book tour.  Typical, tired coverage of the first big holiday shopping sprees.

If you notice, these are the types of stories that many media outlets have been bombarding us with in the past couple of weeks.  Maybe you feel that these items really don’t offer insightful, cutting-edge news.  From our seat, you’re not alone!  Even media relations specialists are human, and get bored at times with the news they digest.

Praecere’s philosophy embraces the theme of improving the aesthetic in the media.  As traditional media outlets continue to fold (or ideally evolve), a gap exists in comprehensive news coverage.  Now is the time for new media outlets to put a premium on and develop appreciation for thoughtful and informative content.  Excellent coverage can turn even the most boring story into a riveting narrative.

A fantastic example of such efforts is The Texas Tribune.  Texas is a big state, and with that come massive media markets and numerous issues that can easily distract from covering impactful events.  The Tribune is definitely more meat-and-potatoes when it comes to informing readers, with its emphasis on policy and politics.  But, don’t view this as a bad tactic or trend for the publicity industry.  Most recently, the U.S. ranks 18th in education out of 36 countries surveyed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.  When it comes to being aware, we need all the help we can get.  Media, along with other institutions in society, have a responsibility to inform and educate the citizenry.  What the Tribune does should be emulated by other media outlets looking to evolve, with a greater emphasis on making us more aware of important facts about our society, government and economics.  After all, these are the very pillars that will determine our post-recessionary futures.  And, communications consultants and the public relations industry should tailor their offerings to encourage such media evolution.

So when was the last time you thought about consuming less gossipy sugar-highs and more astute media?  Now’s as good a time as any, and hopefully niche publications like the Tribune will expand their offerings and become more widely accepted as a new journalism model.

Tale of the Tiger, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Hire Public Relations Crisis Management

November 28th, 2009

In a crisis situation, clients with high visibility often are lost on the best way to interact with their crisis counselor.  In the crisis management industry, what role does the public relations specialist play when helping a client?

Take this weekend’s Tiger Woods story – or debacle, depending on who you ask.  We can thank the era of the rapidly evolving media platform for broadcasting a torrent of details in the past 24 hours.  The narrative already involves the world’s best golfer, a supermodel, possibly a mistress, rumors of prescription medication, a car crash, the parties avoiding police investigators, and who knows what else.

Here’s how smart PR crisis management should approach this media lightning rod:

First, when it comes to crisis communications, a competent public relations firm must adopt strict confidentiality protocols similar to those of a lawyer or physician.   The public relations industry doesn’t have a licensing system like law or medicine (though perhaps it should!), but a letter of engagement or contract for services must include non-disclosure agreement (“NDA”) principles.  As with these other professional services, confidentiality encourages frank discussion about the client’s problems, which allows the publicist to generate creative, thorough solutions.

Second, the publicist should recommend crisis communication steps only when they believe the client has provided all the facts.  That way the first public response – which is likely the one most media will cover immediately – can address all pertinent details and define the terms of the debate before any outspoken commentator or enemy does.  You can take control of the story and then begin driving the narrative the way you want it to go.

Third, any crisis communication plan must NEVER, ever say “no comment.”  The veritable confession of guilt before the media’s eyes, “no comment” begs reporters, pundits, bloggers and anyone else to speculate on what really happened instead of you telling people the actual facts (see the second point above).

Crisis management 101 rightfully instructs the embattled person to run straight into the crisis so you can wrestle it to the ground.  Each crisis situation is unique in its own details, but like the laws of physics, the fundamentals remain constant.  It’s a long weekend, so Tiger’s publicists still have the chance to steer the narrative favorably to their client before everyone beats their Thanksgiving hangover and gets back to the grind Monday morning.  The clock is ticking…