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Friday, 27 July 2012

Top 4 PR mistakes directors make when delivering bad news

it’s not difficult to see why the arrogant
former RBS boss Fred ‘The Shred’ Goodwin
became one of Britain’s most publicly
detested bankers.

What are the most common PR mistakes that company directors make when they have to deal with bad news?

Here are E=MC2 Public Relations top four executive PR blunders:

1. They delay in announcing the bad news or try to bury it by issuing a press release late on a Friday night hoping the media have gone home for the weekend. Never delay, the longer you do, the bigger and uglier you’ll become in the news when the story does break.

2. They don’t own up to their mistakes and show genuine sympathy and compassion for those affected because they’re too worried about the legal implications of saying ‘I’m sorry’.  Apologising is not necessarily an admission of guilt but an expression of empathy and concern.

When bad news breaks, showing you care can go a long way in building good brand relations with the public and your customers.

Just look what happened to the reputation of BP’s ‘Woe it’s me’ chief exec Tony Hayward when the Deepwater Horizon disaster broke. Not only did he wait weeks to apologise to the millions of people affected by the oil spill – he made it quite clear to the US public that he wished it would be over so he could get back to his holiday.

That arrogance in the face of an environmental catastrophe of massive proportions generated the wrath of America’s President Obama, cost BP billions of dollars in compensation and Hayward ultimately, his job.

3. They blame it on the lawyers because they’ve been advised to say ‘no comment’. ‘No comment speaks volumes which is why legal eagles are not media relations experts. Their job is to keep people out of prison, not out of the press. There is no such thing as no comment so don’t go there!

4. They don’t take immediate action and address the problem or situation. People want to know that you are doing everything in your power to fix the problem or at least alleviate it on day one not day five. Keep them informed about what you are doing throughout the PR crisis unlike former Royal Bank of Scotland boss, Fred ‘The Shred’ Goodwin – Britain’s most vilified banker.

While Captain Smith took responsibility for sinking the Titanic and went down with his ship, greedy Fred, sank the world’s biggest bank and the British economy while trying to save himself and keep his massive pay-off and multi-million pound pension.  No wonder he’s wanted for ‘bank robbery, looting and criminal neglect!”