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.
Over in New Zealand: first it was a TV show host’s immature jibes (think 14yr old schoolyard humour) about the name of one Delhi ministerial official, Sheila Dikshik. Then, the same host criticised that the country’s Governor General, Sir Anand Satyanand, didn’t even sound like a ‘proper’ New Zealander (Sir Anand is a kiwi born and bred). Despite the insensitive, opinionated blurtings of the star TV host Paul Henry, Kiwi PR experts believe this has done nothing to diminish Henry’s attractiveness as a media property. Sad, innit?
Apparently, Aussie PM Julia Gillard banned a senior Labour honcho – Mark Arbib – from appearing on the country’s most credible political panel discussion (Q&A) last night. Mischievously, the producers left Arbib’s seat empty thereby creating a risible talking point throughout the show. Having agreed to appear, then pulling the appearance, this looks like another major PR mis-step from the faltering Labour Party.
An informal media interview of doyen Whitehouse Correspondent Helen Thomas, and shot by a part-time film-maker and journalist Rabbi David Nesenoff, has led to Thomas’ resignation, and widespread condemnation of the tough scribe. Helen Thomas suggested that ‘Jews should get the hell out of Palestine’. With the video clip uploaded to Nesenoff’s site ‘rabbilive’ and YouTube, we see how digital and social media can prove hugely perilous to reputations; even that of a seasoned media expert like Thomas.
Three weeks time, Gerry McCusker will be delivering a Plenary Session on “Crisis Management & Social Media” at the PRINZ (Public Relations Institute of New Zealand) conference at Auckland’s Heritage hotel (27-28 May). And just to prove that Social Media can be as much about creativity as it can about crisis, Gerry will be hosting a workshop on creating engaging Web2.0 content, drawing on Soc Med campaigns he’s developed for the dairy, financial and sports sectors.