Key Advice Blog

Why public ‘gaffes’ missed the PR mark

Posted on: 29/04/2010

Campaigning is advertising.  And advertising is a key part of public relations.It’s all about customer service – and when it goes wrong, it goes very, very wrong. So how do you make it right?

As we saw with Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s awful mic-is-still-on mistake yesterday, which resulted in him insulting a loyal client by calling her a ‘bigot’, silence is golden. The old adage ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all’ rings true. But, there are golden PR rules, as Social Small Business points out, that we should all try to measure up to.

These are Social Small Business’s four key questions to test your advertising for customer service PR:

They ask:” Does it:

“Peak the interest of the right customers?

Reflect the organization’s values/mission?

Prompt wanted action?

Reassure existing customers?”

They go on to discuss issues like relationship building. It is obvious this one little word, in this over-heard by the world comment by Mr Brown, has had a huge effect on the client, him, his organisation and it’s future. It’s a big price to pay, but PR errors are costly. It’s what makes organisation’s accountable to their clients.

Try this test on your advertising. It’s a very good measuring tool. And don’t forget – turn your mic off or act as if it is always on. That’s a win-win combo.

From Twitter:

@PaulEastonAssoc Who was Browns PR yesterday? ‘Mic Off’ is a golden rule as soon as they come off-camera. Ask Ron Atkinson. #Brown #Bigot

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