When public relations should shut up

Public relations companies push clients to respond to negative news – presumably because they bill clients for hosing down bad reports.

They rarely have difficulty persuading companies to respond. Spirited defence is hardwired into the DNA of companies operating in Australia or New Zealand.

But responding isn’t always the best strategy.

A bad or embarrassing story isn’t necessarily a crisis. Often these things blow over and are quickly forgotten.

Companies often make matters worse by overreacting and generating fresh publicity. That carefully worded response reminds people of something bad they had already dismissed.

It can breath new life into the negativity.

And some responses use such insincere language people who had previously given the company the benefit of the doubt may rethink their take on events.

2 thoughts on “When public relations should shut up

  1. Bill, that’s a fair point but in this digital age the problem is that you can’t just duck down and hope the problem will go away because you never know who’s reading and if they will pass it on to others, giving it a bigger audience, therefore it’s always good to get in quick with a response and nail the story down before it grows legs and wings.

    • Understood. The point here is even a skilled PR response can turn a relatively minor story into a major one.

      A ham-fisted PR response – and we’ve seen some of them in this part of the world recently – can turn a niggle into a full-blown PR crisis.

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