PR disasters and powder-puff apologies

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It gets up my nose when PRs access the ‘lazy file’ when their clients do dumb stuff.

I mean, why do acclaimed professional communicators deliver hollow, default statements when required to craft and coach authentic and credible expressions of responsibility and regret in the event of celebrity PR disasters? What’s the purpose of these generic communications? Why do we get apology by cut ‘n’ paste?

We continually get a predictable grab-bag of cliches, half-truths and wholly unconvincing claims of accountability and remorse. Read this generic statement and you can pretty much substitute the name of the un-saintly football player with the name of any basketballer, cyclist, rugby or soccer player caught with his pants down, brain addled, veins full or fists balled.

In PR disasters, perhaps many PRs don’t craft connective, meaningful, believable and winning crisis management statements because they don’t have the emotional intelligence in themselves to be able to help the client process and express? It’s also true, though, that spin doctors are often hamstrung by the instructions given by lawyers advising the company, club or code.

Next time a sports star or celebrity makes “a mistake” (a patronising misnomer), PRs should try asking: A) what really went on for YOU that time? B) why did YOU the player make that choice ? C) what was ingesting the substance all about for YOU? D) didn’t YOU fear getting caught? and E) what feelings did YOU have at the time, and what do YOU feel right now ?

Then a PR might prefer to compose something like this:

“First off, this was not a mistake; this was about my decisions, actions and stupidity.  It was also about me thinking I was too cool and too big to ever be caught.          Honestly? I was partying hard and intoxicated. I thought my edgy “cool” lifestyle would make me look like a rockstar to my mates.

I don’t know why I feel the need to impress them when I should be impressing the code, the club and the fans who have genuinely trusted and respected me. I will think about that and get to the bottom of it most likely with a specialist counsellor.

Recording the incident was simply stupid. I’ve done courses and had advice to be careful with online media but I made a daft choice which lead to this trouble. Again, my mistake was in thinking I was too special, too cool to be caught. Right now, I am full of self-recrimination and shame for the hurt I’ve caused to everyone who cares about me. I will work on this and hopefully emerge a better, more mature and trustworthy person as a result.”

No-one expects footy players to be angels or Saints (geddit?). But with the myriad of PR disasters – and subsequent player education courses about using social media and drugs – you’d half-expect these young men to use at least half of the wits they have! (Note; not many female athletes do such dumb sh*t!).

Generic PR apology statements appear to say all the right things but they only tell us one thing for sure: THAT THE ATHLETE DID NOT ACTUALLY SAY THESE WORDS!

And that shows they’re reluctant to be truly responsible and remorseful as they look to recover from being rumbled.
Hat-tip ColorCube for image loan.

 

 

GC Sun may set on speed merchants’ AFL careers?

Gold Coast Stuns. The AFL and its multi-million dollar babies – the Gold Coast Suns – are embroiled in brand damaging illicit drug use allegations. Was anyone else struck by the irony of KH’s admission that he bought ‘gear’ outside a pizza shop. Not implying it was one of the club sponsors (a pizza chain), but how long before the sun sets on deals with sponsors and partners including HostPlus, Fiat, Virgin and United Petroleum and others?

Treasurer Hockey pays for his cheap advice

MP Andrew Leigh MP launches an online political attack saying that a “median-priced house now costs over $666,000 – that’s more than six times average incomes. Where are all these ‘good jobs’ the Treasurer says will help you pay for that?”

Treasurer Joe quickly became the subject of a social media backlash

Treasurer Joe quickly became the subject of a social media backlash

McIntyre’s PR disaster tweets played the man, more than the ball

Twitter Twit
As an avid football fan, I’ve sampled ex-SBS reporter Scott McIntyre’s contributions and musings on the world game; he struck me as a decent researcher and succinct communicator.
In respect to his recent controversial, non-football microbloggings, his PR, career and reputational issues bled out of two of them in particular.
In both cases McIntyre did what he would surely recognise as a football no-no; he played the man not the ball: Continue reading

Belle Gibson; extinguished (distinguished) psychopath ?

Online, anyone can pretend to be anything they like. Social lives get ‘larged’ on social networks, suitors misrepresent on dating websites, resumes get burnished on Linkedin. Some even claim to have self-cured from cancer, blogged on the topic and profited hugely from a book and wellness App based on a BFL (big fat lie). So, is it just PR spin, web entrepreneurialism, shysterism or even a case of a psychological malaise – as is subtly questioned in this useful News Ltd piece...

As ever was, PR reparations start with “Sorry”, and proceed to responsible, remedial action.

 

Audio interview on preventing social media disasters

Do you really understand the consequences and power of Online Reputation Management? Do you get how social media silos and scuttlebutt are the fuel that can feed global online news attention and damaging search engine finds? Ahead of a four-session seminar series for IABC International, PR analyst and author of the book ‘Public Relations Disasters’ Gerry McCusker shares his thoughts in a year of celebrity social media stuff-ups and suggests a new engagement ethos for ORM.

The journalist, the media adviser and the blog PR disaster

The blogvines at Digital Journal, Lulz Starts Here and Nicholas Black are ringing with the sorry tale of two media profess players, who failed to adhere to some of the fundamental tenets and courtesies of the blogosphere. Jamie Duncan a journo with Australian Associated Press and his moll Caroline Hamilton a media adviser (how media savvy though?) at Parks Victoria have been outed as vicious mudslingers and reputation assassins. Like all cowards, they hid their reputation daggers beneath a cloak of anonymity. Fools! Yet after they were identified, they tried to smackdown those who criticised them. Hypocrites!

Still gobsmacking to me that so-called media professionals could expose themselves so carelessly; and if it can happen to those in the know, how does that augur for those who are (I say this kindly) clueless? As a reminder to all, I’m harking back to Paull Young’s 6 Rules for Online Reputation Management, which I contributed to a few months back.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Be honest, transparent, ethical; don’t think you know it all; be open to new things, new points of view; disagree in a civil, constructive way.

Personality: Be original — don’t copy someone else; get your own authentic personal brand; represent your complex self online (this includes personal and professional);

Conversations Friendships — Conversation and discussion have made the blogosphere the vibrant space that is. Conversation is great, don’t get me wrong. But it can’t replace friendship. Yes, do all of these other things, but (perhaps most importantly) don’t forget to be a friend and make friends.

Learning — Go into the space with an open mind and an eagerness to learn from your peers; take advantage of the collaborative nature of the blogosphere; be active, not ani-social; make valuable contributions to the community; make mistakes and LEARN from them.

Awareness — Pause to think, listen and understand; sometimes your first reaction to something isn’t the best one; edit yourself — you can share too much; consider how others will perceive you based on what’s online !

Consciousness — Think about how you are presenting yourself online; don’t turn off your “brain-to-finger/mouth filter;” don’t be rash; realize that what you publish could be a part of your reputation forever.

 Jamie Duncan and Caroline Hamilton; part of your reputation forever.