Sunday, January 5, 2014

Four Lessons Learned the Hard Way in 2013

In today's world, the majority of business-to-consumer connections are now made using social media. This means that now, when a business blunders, there are many people that the business has to answer to, not just "those in the know." This is why managing public relations has become even trickier than before. With that in mind, I'd like to offer some of the lessons learned from poorly executed media relations strategies this past year:

Lesson 1: Consult your communication experts

With social media's continued rise, it is necessary for companies to hire the services of communications experts. Such people have an eye on the happenings all around the globe, around the clock, keeping them well informed of all activities going on in different places. They are immaculate judges of timing, and can advise the company as to which statement to make, and when. The right tweet at the wrong time, or vice versa, can cause much damage.

Lesson 2: if you have made a mistake, own up to it, and move on

Take into consideration the public relations misstep of the Lululemon chairman when he was asked about the quality of the yoga pants that they produce. He wrongly, from a media relations standpoint, stated that this was not a fault of the company, but rather the fault on the part of the women who were heavy and stretching the pants so thin that they were transparent.

Lesson 3: The CEO must be available to bear the brunt when things go wrong

When one of the ships belonging to Carnival Cruise Lines lost power, it was impossible for anybody to get in touch with their CEO, Mickey Arison. Amid the power disaster on the cruise liner, it was a younger executive who came out to deal with the grueling questions, demands and backlash. People were outraged by this, especially when Arison took to Twitter to discuss other matters, like his basketball team. The public seized upon this -- Arison should have been available to answer questions, and offer solutions for their oft-plagued cruise ships.

Lesson 4: If you have made a statement, stick by it

When you develop a customer base, you are bound to have established some form of loyalty from them. It is therefore foolish to say something, and then do the opposite. When companies take a stance, they must make sure that their actions are in agreement with what they project. Going against your stated values can cause you to lose your audience, and turns off new/potential clients, current customers or other strategic partnerships.

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