PR Disasters are usually caused by something; bad choices, behaviour, inattentiveness or wanton disregard. This precise article from the UK Telegraph’s Oliver Brown is “ace” in the way it describes the defects that drive Nick K’s manifold PR disasters. “…indeed hundreds of those fans on No 2 Court who watched his petulant implosion with mounting incredulity, felt most put out by was Kyrgios’s spoilt-child syndrome.” Nicely served, Oliver.
Our PR experience suggests you can pretty much coach and train an intelligent person in media performance skills in around three or four sessions.
However, you cannot instill – far less embed – impeachable character and interpersonal maturity in an “unreconstructed personality”, without also addressing the candidate’s emotional intelligence and self-awareness. And that calls for a much deeper investment of effort.
Successful media interviews are as much about context as they are about content, agreed?
Sydney-based media trainer Geoffrey Stackhouse asked me for my take on a clumsy media interview (from some years back), asking for my analysis of what went wrong. Here’s my armchair punditry on this one:
Analysing the recently posted media interview/PR disaster, my observation is that it went wrong because of El Presidente’s emotional intelligence deficits. In short, his inability to listen effectively (perhaps through nerves or rote-based media training) simply derailed the interview. Continue reading
The Aussie political race is sometimes a one-legged one; especially when candidates shoot themselves in the foot by agreeing to TV interviews, yet not knowing at all how to handle even gentle journalistic probing. Today, media performance skills are more telling than political proficiency.
As electioneering begins, we have a couple of pearler PR disasters which display manifold perils; like knowing how to give an interview, bragging on your 6-point plan (but not knowing what the points are), knowing that Islam isn’t actually a country, knowing who your competitors are, knowing that it’s better to stay out of the media limelight, until you’ve done your A,B,Cs in media training. And while older politicians rush to defend these young goats with kind kid gloves, the fact remains that politics is a career that depends on the ability to understand and assimilate complex issues, having a strong position pertaining to key facts, staying on message and knowing how to deliver the sound bites the public will remember you by. Not the PR disaster interviews that become your e-legacy. It’s not easy, but it is a mandatory for those seeking a ridicule-free political career.
As social media continues to prove problematic for organisations with suspect elements within their ranks, Australia’s Chief of Army has secured nigh universal salutes for his authoritative and impassioned new media message on YouTube. Watch it; it’s a triumph of scriptwriting craft, audience awareness, key message insertion and a no-BS delivery (tad wooden if I’m being uber-curmudgeonly). Corporate PRs and executives need to pay attention to how to weave these elements together – and how to harness social media to get the viral share effect – next time they have to front up to handle a social media or PR disaster.
TV interview alert!! Not that global kiddies brand The Wiggles should be expect to be PR slicksters, but this bumbling, stumbling interview is so cringeworthy…not just because of the lack of PR preparation (who’d’a thunk Rich Wilkins could be such a probing Kerry O’Brien type??) but due to the lack of emotional intelligence or empathy shown by the band to the now-dumped Wiggle (“What about Sam…whaddya mean?”. Yet what kind of maturity should we expect from performers who spend all day singing songs and talking burble to infant audiences? Hot potato, hot potato indeed.
Australian Liberal leader Tony Abbott has opened 2012’s PR Disaster contender list with an on-air gaffe comparing the sinking of the Costa Concordia to boat arrivals in Australia, News Limited reports: “Speaking on Triple M Adelaide’s morning show yesterday morning Mr Abbott was asked: “This is just a bit from left field, the captain from the Costa Concordia wants to know if you need any help with your boat policy?” Abbott replied: “Well that was one boat that did get stopped, wasn’t it,” and almost immediately was forced into damage limitation mode. He alluded to a lack of taste/judgement, but then attacked Labor pollies (quite rightly) who had tried to make editorial capital from his not so slick quip.
IABC (New South Wales) is hosting a workshop featuring online reputation expert and author of “Public Relations Disasters” Gerry McCusker. The lunchtime social media marketing session – at L47, MLC Centre, 19 Martin Place, Sydney – explores how to better control and manage your online reputation via social monitoring. On 13 April, McCusker will show PR firm and in-house practitioners the best ways to create positive digital assets and equity. The rationale for this “media social” event is that anti-corporate and activist publishers are brilliant at promoting bad news in digital spaces. Because their ‘bad oil’ can quickly rise to the top of search engine finds, mis-informing and negatively influencing stakeholder perceptions, organisations need to know how to respond to these PR threats. McCusker answers the question; “What if you could keep negative commentary and coverage off the first few pages of Google? As a canny Scot, McCusker also asks “What if you could do it for free?”
Sh*t happens in media interviews: Bullish Australian Liberal leader Tony Abbott is copping highly critical flak for seemingly being fazed into dumb silence when confronted by a newsman about comments he made about the death of an Aussie soldier in Afghanistan. Abbott defenders are saying he was maintaining a dignified silence, others opine it was blind rage. Some say rabbit in headlight syndrome. Whatever the reason, inability to think quickly and respond appropriately when in an interview tight corner can define the reputation of any politician.
Following the sacking of roughneck Scots football commentator Andy Gray for sexist comments while unknowingly still “on-mike”, the Guardian presents a rogues gallery of Yankee and Pommie sports pundits who have created PR disasters via their unguarded, often nasty, verbal snipes.