The untapped, unappreciated
potential of public relations
for keeping you out of trouble
Sometimes that is needful. More often, it only makes a scapegoat of the PR department after some moronic corporate action has blown up beyond recovery.
An effective PR department should have the savvy* and wherewithal, and you must ensure them access to you and immunity from your umbrage, to warn you before you do something irreparably stupid. Else, you deprive yourself of a valuable opportunity to keep your foot out of your mouth in the first place.
Myriad bad examples abound. I could cite one that popped up in my home town not two days ago, but I’d rather share a positive example and, happily, I happen to have one.
One of my clients, a multi-state operation, had been taking a beating in the press. (Between you and me, it was deserved.) Over lunch, their marketing VP told me they were going to pull all of their advertising from a TV station that had been particularly aggressive in exposing them.
I am not a PR person, but I didn’t get to be good at marketing by not understanding a thing or two about how minds work. I said, “The station is portraying you as a big, powerful, heartless corporation. What you propose will validate that and elevate them to martyr status. On tonight’s news, they will accuse your giant corporation of using economic pressure to keep brave reporters from telling the truth about you.”
The marketing VP returned to headquarters and convinced the CEO not to pull their advertising.