Posts Tagged ‘Crisis communications’

Knox verdict right for the media

Thursday, October 6th, 2011 by Mark Perry

 

It feels as if Amanda Knox’s acquittal this week is the climax of a four year long ‘PR campaign’.

In the build up to the decision by the court in Perugia, the world’s media descended on the town. We also heard from the family of Meredith Kercher who felt justly that their daughter and sister had been forgotten in the media’s focus on Knox.

As events built to Monday’s appeal decision it felt that even the timing of the verdict at almost 9pm was ideal for the American networks’ early evening news programmes.

Within 24 hours Knox was back in her town in Seattle speaking to the gathered news pack. It does however feels as if the ‘PR campaign’ has missed one important thing and something that is a key ingredient to handling a crisis situation.

At no time did she acknowledge her friend Meredith or use the opportunity to reflect on their friendship. Instead it was left to her lawyer to say that “Meredith was Amanda’s friend. Amanda and the family want you to remember Meredith and keep the Kercher family in your prayers.”

Max Clifford has been used as guide as to what she does next. His suggestion was for her to go on a TV show which has international exposure to set the record straight. There is no doubt that when she does decide to come out and tell her story that she will be well rewarded and is no doubt already agreed.

Let us not forget behind the story that Knox has to tell about her experiences in Italy and in an Italian prison that the Kercher family is still looking for closure.

 

About Mark Perry

Mark has more than 25 years’ experience in PR and corporate communications. He is a founding director of B2B consultancy Melville PR.

Coe shows Blatter secrets of crisis management

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 by Mark Perry

A post on PR Media blog last week looked at the shenanigans at FIFA and the own goal scored by Sepp Blatter in handling the media storm surrounding world football’s governing body.

There was an interesting comparison today when Lord Coe appeared on a number of television and radio programmes to answer the growing discontent about the allocation of tickets for London 2012.

A consummate politician, Coe comes across as being at ease in front of the camera and microphone and puts across his position in a clear concise way. He  appears to be open, honest and transparent in talking about his subject.  He even managed to get away without giving precise numbers of tickets available in the second ballot.

He could quiet easily have ‘ducked’ the whole issue and the 2012 organisers put up someone from the communications team. Instead, he came to the studios to answer the questions while showing that he is still very much the face of the event. He has helped to try and get the 2012 ‘brand’ through the storm untarnished unlike the impact of last week’s events on FIFA.

Coe, 54, has grown up in the media age and, as a sportsman and politician, has seen how the media can either make or break you.  Blatter, 75, comes from another age.

Blatter is attending the 2012 Games in his position as a member of the International Olympic Committee. While he is here maybe he should take time out to discuss with Coe the secrets of  handling the media in a crisis.

About Mark Perry

Mark has more than 25 years’ experience in PR and corporate communications. He is a founding director of B2B consultancy Melville PR.

Blatter scores an own goal for Fifa

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 by Mark Perry

“Crisis what crisis?” was Fifa President’s reaction to a journalist’s question at a press conference called by the football’s governing body yesterday.

There is little doubt that, to those outside the organisation, it’s in crisis. For years there have been claims of mismanagement and even corruption which has reached new levels in the last week with leading members of FIFA’s governing committees turning on themselves.

Yesterday, appearing to react to the growing press clamour for answers, Blatter called a press conference.

As it turned out the conference should be shown to any CEO who might have to face the media as an example of how to appear out of touch and in denial.

He patronised the journalists, stopping at one point – when a murmur went around  the room as he avoided actually answering the questions – to tell the room to show him more respect.

His whole approach was adversarial and showed contempt for the journalists who dared to ask any difficult questions. He certainly was not trying to show any contrition or win any media battle. The premise was this: he was right; they were wrong.

He had the perfect opportunity to draw a line under the accusations by calling a wide, independent inquiry which would at least have bought him more time. Looking at the media reaction today the whole event has left him, and the organisation, more damaged.

Blatter is going to need a better crisis management plan and attitude towards the media if he is ultimately going to survive this one.

About Mark Perry

Mark has more than 25 years’ experience in PR and corporate communications. He is a founding director of B2B consultancy Melville PR.

Porkie pies maketh not PR

Thursday, November 27th, 2008 by Jon Clements

 

The upshot of this week’s PR Week crisis comms event should have PR practitioners breaking out in sweaty palms.

And why not? After all, it seems like common sense that journalists don’t like being lied to.

To emphasise the point – and with great foreboding - The Times home news editor Martin Barrow warned PROs: ‘If we know you’re lying, we will work extra hard to ensure we expose you and your company.’

In the steaming cauldron of PR sins, saying “no comment” suggests you have something to hide; trying to “spin” your communications is a way of dressing up something nasty as something nice and, finally, “lying” is just plain stupid.

Anyone with the job of speaking to the media on behalf of their organisation could do worse than take the advice put succinctly in Frank Jefkins’ book, Public Relations: “If PR is to be credible, it must avoid false image making…the media are prejudiced about PR to the extent of expecting false image polishing.”

If you’re lucky, the instances of having to break bad news to the wider world while journalists or bloggers bay for blood at your gates will be rare. And when it does happen, there are ways of tackling it – but lying isn’t one of them.

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''