At the turn of every year, many industries take a step back and lament on the year just passed. The PR industry is no different and Business Insider recently took a look at the 11 biggest PR disasters of 2011. The list is pretty comprehensive, and it outlines all the biggest PR goofs and gaffes I’d compile for the year, but I’m left wondering: where the heck are these people’s PR representation??
Let’s face it, a PR person throwing up her hand in protest when a CEO comes up with a crazy idea to split up the company and raise prices without adding value (*cough cough, I have a Netflix stuck in my throat) might not keep the CEO from pulling the trigger, but a good PR person would have to have a response in mind, right? Unfortunately, no matter how much a PR person prepares, something unexpected could happen, and like the article says, how you react is more important than how to avoid bad things happening.
The article rightly discusses an example of an insider trading scandal that could have been much, much worse than it ended up, simply because the firm reacted the right way. While it was traditionally a secretive and close-to-the-vest organization, it adapted to the problem at hand, demonstrated some transparency and avoided a very bad PR backlash.
It will be interesting to see what horrific PR goofs 2012 will bring. Hopefully CEO’s and celebs have taken note of the fumbles of others and will consult their PR reps before making any big moves.