Can a piece of PR ever be bad?

Posted on July 15, 2020 · Posted in Blog

With the recent crane collapsing and an 85 year old woman dying in a nearby house in London, this question has become all the more relevant.

Advising clients on Crisis Communications when accidents occur has significance.

Create a Strategy

Initially everyone will be dealing with shock. Companies will want to privately and publicly express their genuine concern for anyone affected by the accident. In this particular story, for the immediate family of the deceased woman and those neighbours who require temporary housing, the repercussions are big. They too will be in shock and disbelief and I have no doubt the organisations involved will want to express their sadness at the situation.

Then there are the practicalities. There will be questions to answer as the story unfolds but for the crane company, the housing association and the project managers there is going to be some serious messaging to oversee. Who will be the company spokesperson? Will there be live interviews? What is the narrative? Have you pre-agreed questions with the interviewer?

Here, there is a joint investigation, so the narrative will continue for some while. Scotland Yard, officers from the Met’s Central East Command Unit and Specialist Crime, the Health and Safety Executive and the London Fire Brigade will all be investigating the situation.

And then there is the speed of the situation and there may also be a lot of misinformation doing the rounds. As Churchill said: “A lie gets halfway around the world before truth puts on its boots.”

Follow a script

How you respond, how you reply will need to be carefully managed.

So, yes, a piece of PR may get your name out there, but you will want to manage that. Remember, PR is not just about the business wins, the new appointments, the company HQ moves. It’s the whole story and that can be bad. A Crisis Communications strategy can protect the strength of your brand from the impact of a crisis.