PR disaster – a definition

I’ve been asked this a few times recently, so I researched the definition of a PR disaster for my ‘Public Relations Disasters’ book in 2004; closest I found then was of a PR crisis by the Institute for Crisis Mgmt who said: ‘a significant business disruption that stimulates extensive media coverage’. But in my mind, I insisted it was much wider than that. By analysing hundreds and hundreds of what are called or labelled ‘PR disasters’ by the media, I had to come to the conclusion that a PR disaster was simply “anything that creates embarrassing or negative publicity for any organisation or individual”. It’s not solely about business, about disruption or extensive coverage – and it is often erroneously applied to cases of mild or fleeting mistakes.

3 thoughts on “PR disaster – a definition

  1. Thanks Bill. You made me think again, and I guess you’re right (even tho the media label something as a ‘PR Disaster’ it doesnt make it so without the(ir) shaming element.


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