Tag Archives: reputation

Tylenol recovered. But will United Airlines?

Shock. Horror. Outrage. That has been the reaction of people around the world to the brutal images of airport police dragging a passenger off a United Airlines flight yesterday in the U.S.

I am wondering how a paying customer can be brutalised by a business he has contracted with? In what world is that okay? And in what world, can such brutality be justified by claiming, in essence, the passenger had a ‘bad attitude’? Apparently, standing up for yourself is not simply defiant: it’s against the rules.

We’ve been conditioned to believe that “the authorities” can do pretty much as they please when it comes to issues or situations which are even remotely associated with “security”.

Unfortunately, it appears we’ve inadvertently given carte blanche to corporations working in these industries to abrogate basic human rights, not to mention the rules of civil society.

Did it start with the US’s National Security Agency violating people’s physical bodies during airport body searches? In a few short years, we now feel it’s normal to subject ourselves to invasive and at times degrading levels of interaction at airports under the guise of complying with “security regulations”.

And in January, the UK passed the Snooper’s Charter, which enables the government  — apparently ‘legally’ — to spy on every citizen, without cause. All in the name of “security”.

I’m fed up. I can only hope that United Airlines’ reputation is so badly damaged by this that drastic measures must be taken to rehabilitate it. Tylenol recovered from the tampering scandal, largely because they were not at fault. United’s agents, in this case, airport police, have done irreparable damage. Indeed, a breaking story from The Guardian indicates United’s share price has plummeted, wiping $1bn from its value in hours.

But there may been good to come of this yet.

What I have observed today gives me hope. The shock and  horror of the passengers’ faces as their compatriot was bounced and banged off the plane gives me hope. Ordinary people have not lost their innate sense of what is right. Their horrified reaction says it all.

It’s time we reminded corporations and governments who they are meant to serve.

For more information or to support a challenge of the UK government’s illegal Snooper’s Charter, click here for details from Liberty.

 

 

The PR you do every day (but may not be aware of!)

Networking events can be pleasant, once you are comfortable speaking. Just ask these three!

Networking events can be pleasant, once you are comfortable speaking. Just ask these three!

It’s a mouthful of a title, but bear with me: as a businessperson, every time you open your mouth, you are doing PR for your business. If this has come as a shock, don’t be discouraged.

What I am getting at, is that your business’s “PR” is not just what you formally do with your PR agency or marketing team. PR is far more than just the sum total of media releases you issue, the social media messaging you send, or the media coverage you generate.

As my late mentor Lou Cahill APR famously said, “You’ve got PR whether you like it or not.”

In essence, what Lou was saying is, you and your business have a reputation. The variable he highlighted, is the degree to which you manage it.

And like it or not, every time you open your mouth, you are contributing to the sum total of that reputation. I was struck by this at the BNI meeting in Inverness last week. I am a founder member of BNI Highland; BNI is a worldwide business networking organisation founded by Dr Ivan Misner. Something that I immediately realised is that the group’s format of a 60-second presentation by each member — at every meeting, every week — is something that strikes fear into a number of would-be members.

What I am noticing however, is that after even two or three meetings, some member’s presentation skills are improving. They are becoming more at ease with speaking to the group about their business. Some [read: Hamish Malcolm, Grant] are even making the most of these “mini-pitches” by incorporating humour and using inventive props. Well done to them!

They may not realise it, but each member’s incremental improvements in their weekly pitch, results in an improvement in their business’s PR, because we all go away with an improved image of their firm. Woefully, the converse is equally true: people who mumble their way through a pitch, speak too quietly or never get to the point are not doing their own, or their business’s, reputation any favours.

If the thought of making a 60-second pitch about your business fills you with dread, then Toastmasters is the place to replace your fear with confidence, and get the skills to make sure you communicate effectively. You’ll have the unexpected benefit of making some new friends as well.

But remember, every time you open your mouth, you are contributing to your business’s reputation. You owe it to yourself to do the best you can. If you haven’t got the skills to do the job well, the onus is on you to get them. Your business deserves it. Don’t let it down.

Toastmasters Inverness is hosting a social evening Wednesday 17th June at 7pm at the Glen Mhor Hotel in Inverness. If you are interested in learning more about the group, go along for dinner and to get a feel for what the group offers. Membership in Toastmasters may be the best, most cost-effective investment you can make in your business! Click here to find out more about the dinner Wednesday evening.

PR in good times and in bad: 5 things you must do in a crisis and why crisis communications is vital for your business

Crisis-CommunicationRecent events we’ve been involved in have been a fresh reminder that PR is not just for announcing good news — it’s crucial when things go wrong. There’s a lot more than just your reputation on the line when things go wrong. The survival of your business may hang in the balance.

Here are five things to keep in mind if you are dealing with a crisis.

1. Communicate with your key audiences

If your company is caught up in a crisis, it’s vital that you stay in touch with your stakeholders. Depending on your business, this may be your funders, your biggest customers, or the people who work for you. It may be all  of the above. But keeping them up to date on developments when a crisis hits shows them that they are important to you, and that you will make the effort to share news with them first — even if the only news you have is that there is no news, yet.

2. Communicate with the media

The media can be a very demanding group when there is a crisis. Often, a company’s desire to respond to a media query can lead managers to comment too broadly on events. If you are not in a position to say anything definitive,  it’s often better to say so, and leave it at that. Keep track of who was in touch, and save that list for later.

3. Meet with your key people, face-to-face

Take time to meet with your management team and get the complete picture of what has happened, and what you can do about it. Face to face meetings are best at this time.

4. Call in specialist PR help

In addition to your management team, you will want to speak to your trusted communications advisors. If you don’t have anyone to help you with communications in a crisis, you may miss out on some simple strategies that will make things much easier. Ask around and get a recommendation if you can. You will  probably want to call in a specialist with experience in crisis communications.

5. When you have something to say, get the word out

It’s also crucial, when you do have something to say, to get the word out. Follow up with the media who were in touch, and let them know your position on events. It’s important to keep the  lines of communication open, but be sure to do it only when you have carefully assessed the situation.

A crisis can make or break a business. Make sure you do everything that is required. When the crisis is over, your company may paradoxically have been strengthened by the storm you have weathered — but only if you have managed it well.

If you need help in a crisis, Bruce Public Relations in Inverness can help — -quickly and effectively. We’ve helped clients in a range of industries to manage crises, and we can help you. Get in touch.