PR missteps and masterstrokes? Let’s get the definition right….

posted by Brendan Hodgson

Mike Manuel points to this interesting tidbit from Businessweek and, although an entertaining read, from this PR practitioner’s perspective the title of the article “PR missteps and masterstrokes“ does not seem an entirely accurate nor fair representation of our industry.

It may simply be a matter of semantics, but to consider Airbus’ problems with the A380 a PR misstep is, in my opinion, giving our industry way too much credit. Airbus’ problems were largely operational. And while these issues resulted in a significant negative hit to their reputation (and bottom line), it would be more accurate, from a PR perspective, to analyze the effectiveness of Airbus’ communications efforts to help repair the company’s credibility post-crisis.

A similar argument could be applied to many of the other examples cited. For the most part, the crisis in question was the result of poor business judgement or operational mishaps vs bad PR, which likewise led to negative perceptions among the audiences upon whom these organizations relied. In my view, only Wal-mart’s “Wal-marting across America“ campaign could be considered an example of a crisis generated through PR.  

It would be interesting to consider whether some of these incidents would have happened had an experienced communicator been at the table. However, in all liklihood and as with Airbus, the real case study is the effectiveness by which these companies use(d) PR to help preserve or rebuild their reputations following these crises.

Now I really think I’m done for the year. See you in 2007.

Add a comment