Patrick Panuncillon

Seven Professional Development Lessons from Major PR Fails

By: Patrick Panuncillon | July 17, 2017 | 
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Major PR FailsExecuting the right public relation campaigns is one of the most calculating challenges in launching and growing a business.

Public relations, in its most generic term, is a set of activities that advertise a positive image and cultivate goodwill to enhance sales while imparting the right message to the people.

Along with the nitty-gritty of business is a fair share of corporate PR fails.

Some were tolerable, and some were more cringeworthy than others.

Of course, they vary in a case-to-case basis.

When it comes to building a reputation for your business there are great and terrible ways to communicate with the public during egregious gaffes.

PR Fails Create Opportunity

It’s inevitable that, no matter how well-prepared your campaign is, some things just slip out of your control.

Though, it’s not impossible to turn the tides in your favor.

When it comes to PR fails, the stakes are high, and the costs are expensive.

Hence, the trick is to learn from mistakes and do better in your next campaign.

While it’s normal for companies to face hardships and negative stories on a constant basis as part of their corporate existence, these things teach you how to be a better PR professional.

Conjuring solutions and better responses for these solutions is a good training medium not just for PR pros, but for business owners.

To avoid PR fails of all kinds, take your cue from the set of lessons from different these campaigns below.

Create a Solid Plan

For a PR campaign to become successful, there should be a solid plan.

If necessary, jot down a list of questions before beginning your PR campaign.

Below are some of the critical questions that you need to reflect first:

  • Who is my target audience?
  • Why do I want to start this campaign?
  • What are my goals?
  • What are my backup plans if things go wrong?
  • Is the campaign sustainable?

The success or non-fulfillment of a campaign relies on asking the right question before taking actions.

If you dive right away into action without taking the time to create a solid plan, you will not reach the results you hope.

Devise In-depth Research

Another critical reason a PR campaign backfires is due to lack of necessary pieces of information and details before launching the campaign.

You need to ensure your story is compelling enough to make waves.

Establishing the right infrastructure is also vital if you already have a strong story to tell.

It’s unfortunate that too many PR campaigns patronize conjectures rather than facts.

Avoid committing the same mistake by doing a comprehensive research and paying attention to small details.

Interact with the right audience, increase brand awareness and disseminate the right message.

Be Innovative for the Right Reason

There are countless of PR campaigns that flounder in the sea of failed marketing because the majority of marketers are overtly innovative with their strategies.

While the goal of all PR campaign is to create an innovative story that creates a connection with potential customers, it’s important to draw the line between what’s necessary and what’s not.

Innovation is part of the success equation.

However, it should conform to the demands and situation in the market.

If you stage a new campaign even if it’s not required, it will only create liabilities rather than profits.

Pay Attention to Situations

This lesson correlates to in-depth research before launching a PR campaign.

Just like the adage that says, “It takes years to build a reputation but only seconds to lose it,” the future of your brand relies on good and relevant PR marketing.

One wrong move and your brand’s reputation will be at stake.

It’s the exact reason why marketers need to make a thorough investigation to the situation of the campaign and its possible outcomes.

It’s also imperative to create a crisis plan in case things don’t work out according to plans.

Simply put, if you’re going to a battle unarmed, you’re putting your life at stake.

The same scenario applies to a PR campaign without a backup plan.

Be Ready for Bad Media Battle

You did everything on your end to prevent possible mishaps, but it still happens.

If this is the case, you need to prepare yourself for a whole wave of bad news releases against your business.

And, whether you like it or not, unfavorable stories are part of PR shenanigans that you can’t control.

You have to realize you’re in the middle of the battle now, so you need to set yourself on the right footing to deal with the fact that an onslaught befalls on your campaign.

This situation will push you to think out of the box and become a better PR professional.

Be Proactive in Telling Positive Stories 

Failed campaigns, in many ways, whether you accept it or not, is a self-inflicted wound which you could have prevented if you delivered a balanced campaign with positive messages.

The lesson here is that a company should store a pile of positive talking points regardless if it’s an executive, innovative or philanthropy profiles.

There are lots of ways to procreate brand awareness, social channels, blogger outreach and the like.

So, go out and do what other’s don’t do.

Tell a good story that people will consume.

Be More Social

A successful PR campaign is timely and relevant.

It means that whoever your target audience and whatever your goals are, it’s important to create a good social media plan that you can use.

For all you know, it could be your strongest tool to leverage your campaign faster because of people nowadays, especially the millennials spend the majority of their time on social channels.

The availability of so-called influencers, blogger outreach platforms, and other mediums of social media makes it a good seeding ground for PR campaigns.

Takeaway

It is without a doubt that industry of public relations is ever-changing, it’s never stagnant, and so you should be.

Along with these changes are the opportunities for communication professionals to reinvent themselves and their career paths.

Failures are a constant backdrop to any public relation ventures.

The best thing that a PR pro can do is to deal with it in a professional manner, no less.

About Patrick Panuncillon


Patrick Panuncillon is a businessman whose interests in SEO and digital marketing found it’s way to the establishment of LinkVista Digital Inc. Apart from managing his business, he also spends his time studying print advertising, web and logo design, as well as blogger outreach service. Patrick is also a self-confessed writing enthusiast and likes to write just about anything related to his interests and expertise. You may connect with Patrick on LinkedIn.

  • I’m always astounded at how many executives lead organizations astray because of their poor planning, truth hiding, or downright lies. The cover-up is worse than the crime exists because it’s true.

    BUT these things can be managed if people take your advice. It’s about reputation building in advance of a crisis or a PR fail. We’re all human. We’ll make mistakes. If you have a great reputation, you’ll be fine.

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