Not only is this fantastic video but it reinforces that lessons can be learned everywhere, we just need look.
What is the lesson? Nothing worth learning is gained easily, Grasshopper.
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Hope you’re doing well, especially with all the Holiday preparations going on. I needed to tell you something regarding the Colorado Rapids you may not have heard.
They won the MLS Cup.
Yes, I know. I was shocked too. No one saw the Rapids winning a championship before the Nuggets or the Rockies. And with a Denver guy winning the MVP to boot.
So listen. I got some PR advice for you. You need to give them a parade. Really.
I know, I know, they’re not the Broncos, or the Rockies, or the Nuggets, or the Avs, but you know, they are representing Denver. Just because you think they might not be as important to Denver as the Broncos, it doesn’t mean that their contribution to the city is any less important.
See, that’s the problem that many businesses have.
Often, they neglect the contributions of their perceived “lesser” employees regardless of the fact that those employees worked just as hard and did just as much to reach an achievement that “important” employees did, just without as much fanfare. And when that “lesser’ employee isn’t given the same recognition, they tend to take their talents elsewhere which causes the business to then, and only then, realize what they lost.
That business ends up having to spend a lot more to replace that “lesser’ employee than they would have to recognize them when they were successful.
Same goes for the Rapids. They won Denver a championship!
They deserve the same celebration that the Broncos and the Avs got when they won theirs.
The Rapids deserve a parade.
I mean a real parade, with firetrucks and ticker tape.
It’s not like parades are a big deal in Denver. Heck, you let everyone have parades. The circus, the stock show, even the Irish. Seriously, a four hour parade for having someone in my background who was born in Ireland is a bit much. As my grandma McGinty once said “lo and begorrah.”
But that’s besides the point.
For very little effort, you can show, not only the Rapids, but everyone in Colorado that you appreciate it when someone representing you becomes a champion. That little bit of goodwill will give you more positive PR than anything else you could do.
So please Denver. Give the Rapids a parade. Because, as every business should know, celebrating all successes does much more to help them than to just celebrate “big” successes.
Besides, everyone loves parades.
Thanks for listening,
UPDATE: P.S. A rally is not a parade.
Tags: advice for small businesses, Colorado Rapids, Colorado Rapids 2010 MLS Cup Campions, Colorado Rapids and MLS Cup Champions and Denver and PR, Colorado Rapids and PR, Conor Casey MLS Cup MVP, darren copeland, MLS Cup, p.r. advice, p.r. tips, PR, pr help, pr lessons, public relations, rapidssoccer
I’d like to share with you a public relations nightmare I’m witnessing first hand.
When I have a bit of free time, I like to play online games. My game of choice is Tiger Woods Online by EA Sports. I like it because I can just fire it up on my browser without having to worry about any additional hardware. The problem is, I can’t just reset it when there’s a glitch.
See, with online games, the developers feel that if the game isn’t constantly updated, people will get bored and they’ll lose their jobs. For EA Sports this means an update every week or so.
Now it’s a good thought to keep the game fresh, but in reality more updates means more glitches that need fixin’. In this case the glitch is that no one can play any of the tournaments, which is why we play in the first place.
To fully understand the issue I’ve posted a bit of the timeline for the announcement of the update. It starts with…
11/15/2010 15:06:14 Subject:Weekly Update – 11/16/10
11/16/2010 05:37:02 Subject:Re:Weekly Update – 11/16/10URGENT – Since update, cannot load tournaments. Load stopping at confirming log in. Please check this out.
Ummmmm. Let’s fast forward MORE THAN 24 HOURS LATER.
11/17/2010 06:37:12 Subject:Re:Weekly Update – 11/16/10I cant play in Full screen now either. Longest drive missing from Friends’ contest, no EXP from making the cut, cant play tourneys, etc…. How is this an update? Maybe the reason we havent heard from EA is because they are working on a fix
Simply put, a company must never, ever, neglect their customers. This means you need to keep them updated. Always.
I know. I can hear it now. “But they’re in the middle of a crisis.”
Doesn’t matter. In fact, it is critical that you utilize your public relations during a crisis in order to keep your customers informed.
Let me explain.
What makes a crisis so bad for a company? It’s the uncertainty. How bad is the problem? Is there anything that can be done? Who’s working on this? When will things get back to normal? People need reassurance that a company is working to fix whatever problem they’re having or else they panic. Or get angry.
When people don’t hear from a company like EA Sports about a problem for more than 24 hours, uncertainty creeps in and people start coming to their own conclusions about what’s happening. And that’s always bad news for the company.
How do you stop it? You keep people updated. Frequently. You let them know what the issues are. What problems you’re having, and most importantly, what you’re doing to fix it.
You control the message. EA Sports didn’t do this and it’s killing them.
Is EA Sports working to try and fix this? I’m sure they are. But how do we know? We don’t and now people are posting things like this….
The lack of a fix in 24 hours is bad enough, but what is losing me as a supporter of EA is the total lack of response in 24 hours. Not a word… NOTHING. As many have said before this post, this failure to communicate is totally UNACCEPTABLE.
I don’t post here often because I’ve felt some progress has been being made but this incident shows that I’ve been a fool. What EA has failed to realize is that if you take the heroin away, a crack dealer will soon fill the void. And right now I’m Jones-in for a game and will be checking out the other new golf options. Thanks, EA, for cutting me off….
And come renewal time, my one subscription won’t make them pay attention…. but if we get 1,000 of us organized and ready to boycott come April, well I guarantee you $50,000 worth of subscriptions will make someone start paying attention….
I’m done enabling EA’s crap behavior and poor decisions..gonna see some tough love from now on until they kick their bad habits with TWO members.
The goal is 1,000. Count off.
If only they had kept their customers informed. A simple lesson, so expensively learned.
So a lesson for all you businesses that may face a crisis in the future (that’s pretty much all of you). Don’t neglect your public relations in a crisis. Customers understand mistakes. All they want is some reassurances that you care and that you’re trying to make things better.
If you don’t give them that, well they’ll go to someone who will.
*(If you’re interested in my services you can go here for more information.)
Tags: advice for small businesses, bad public relations, crisis communication, crisis communications fail, Crisis Communications Fail: How EA Sports' Bad Public Relations Turned A Molehill into A Mountain, darren copeland, EA and game error, EA Sports, EA sports and game error, p.r. advice, p.r. tips, PR, pr help, pr lessons, public relations, Public relations fail, Tiger Woods Online Golf, Tiger Woods online golf error, What not to do in P.R.
As a public relations person, I like to think of myself as an “image advocate.” Essentially, that means I work to publicize anything you do well and try to minimize any bad press. What a lot of PR and business people don’t understand, however, is that an “image advocate” also needs to protect a business from itself. Many times this means letting a client know, in no uncertain terms, that they are responsible for their own bad press and that they need to change the way they do things on every level.
The problem is that businesses don’t seem to like getting that type of advice. They don’t understand that public relations isn’t just about media relations. It’s about customer relations, employee relations, and community relations. Heck, any relations you have as a business falls under PR, and when a business is screwing it up they need to fix it. Or face the repercussions.
Think I’m blowing smoke? Ask Pinnacol Assurance.
You see, Pinnacol Assurance has had some public relations trouble in its past. All of it self-inflicted. You would have thought, after all that nonsense, that Pinnacol would have made sure to fix some things to try and stay out of the media’s cross-hairs.
DENVER — The state’s largest worker’s compensation insurance company denied a Denver man’s claim, celebrating the denial in e-mails, a CALL7 Investigation found.
Workers comp provider Pinnacol Assurance lost a lawsuit by Michael Schuessler claiming the company improperly denied his claim.
What is most egregious is not that the workers were celebrating the denials, but that there was no one inside the company with the public relations sense to try and stop this kind of stuff in the first place. Now, Pinnacol Assurance will be, justly, raked over the coals for the second time in roughly six months.
And it could have been prevented.
Don’t make the same error Pinnacol Assurance made. Here are six things that a company can do to recover from a self-inflicted crisis.
APOLOGIZE AND THANK
A company that has been through a self inflicted crisis will never truly get over it. Nor should they. Ten years from now, Pinnacol will still be hearing from people about this mess. They must continue to apologize to people, and thank them for remembering. Why? Because each time Pinnacol’s mistakes are brought up, it creates an opportunity to explain how they have changed. If a business has changed and has embraced their past, there is an opportunity to regain some of that lost trust.
DO A COMMUNICATIONS AUDIT
If a company like Pinnacol is so tone deaf in one area of their company, chances are they’re tone deaf in lots of areas. You need to look at every part of your company to see what can be done better. Not only will you see where your problems are, but you’ll quickly see your strengths as well. Once you have that, you can understand the true scope of your problems and get to work fixing them.
TAKE A FRESH LOOK
One of the main issues all industries have is the dreaded “echo chamber.” There are things we do that seem normal to us, but to someone from the outside it may seem offensive. I’m quite sure that many insurance companies, who must deal with, and deny, millions of claims a year can act quite callous about it. It’s a tool for coping.
You must bring in someone from the outside to give you a fresh look at your procedures. They can show you areas where you need repairs that you didn’t even think of. Plus it will give you credibility by showing that you are serious about fixing your problems.
This seems silly but you’d be surprised how many businesses think that because the spotlight is no longer shining on them they can go back to business as usual. This will only turn that one day story into a six month story (Read more about that here). You must understand that once you are involved in a self-inflicted crisis, you are on the media’s radar. Anything other problems will send the press back to you in a heart beat. You don’t want that.
Any problems you find have to be fixed, and fixed properly.
KEEP EMPLOYEES INVOLVED
A key thing to understand about Pinnacol Assurance’s latest gaffe is that the employees didn’t understand they were connected to the earlier problems. That disconnect caused the current screw-up. When you have a crisis, you must let your employees know that they are affected, but they are also part of the solution. When employees have ownership of a company’s solution, they will be much more likely to act proactively to fix problems they might encounter. The more people looking for problems to fix, the better.
If you’ve been involved in a self-inflicted crisis, you know. The lack of sleep, the heartburn, the worry, and the shame. No one likes to go through that. So remember, every day, about how bad that was and you will be much more likely NOT to repeat your mistakes.
Pinnacol Assurance is going through a terrible time right now, and they have no one to blame but themselves. They will be hurt from this. But if they take this advice and move forward, they will survive and come out a much better company.
And that, really, is what “image advocacy” is all about. Making companies better so that there is more good news to celebrate.
*(If you’re interested in my services you can go here for more information.)
Tags: advice for small businesses, crisis communication, darren copeland, image advocacy, image advocate, p.r. advice, p.r. tips, Pinnacol, Pinnacol Assurance, PR, PR Blunder, pr help, pr lessons, public relations, the self-inflicted crisis
Before I was a P.R. pro for hire (go here if you’re interested), I spent a lot of years working as a reporter. Back then, it felt like winning the lottery when a story like this one from the Aspen Daily News fell into our laps.
A local man has confessed to stealing hundreds of copies of the Aspen Daily News and The Aspen Times from newspaper boxes throughout the valley last Friday morning.
Mitch Reed, 23, said he drove around to various newspaper boxes about 7:30 a.m. Friday, removing copies of both newspapers in an attempt to spare embarrassment to a buddy who was in that day’s police blotter in both publications.
You see, anytime I could take a one day story and turn it into a two day story, well, that was just awesome. Now I think the opposite. How can I keep that one day story from spilling over to tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.
Well, thanks to Mr. Reed, and his honorable stupidity, anyone can learn the secret to crisis communications success. Here are four things Mr. Reed didn’t do that you should to minimize a crisis.
TAKE A BREATH AND THINK
I know this seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how hard it is to stay rational in a crisis. Take a minute to gather yourself and think about what the worst possible outcome could be.
Take Mitch here (may I call you Mitch?). It’s obvious that he saw the looming problem that was his friend showing up in the Aspen Daily News police blotter, and freaked out. If he had chilled out for a sec, he might have seen that, while showing up in the blotter is bad, there are worse places for your name to show up in a paper. Like the front page.
Giving yourself a second to breathe and think will give you a chance to see the crisis in its proper perspective. Mitch didn’t do this.
ASSESS YOUR OPTIONS
Once you have a grasp of the problem you face, you can now start figuring out the best ways to fix it. Come up with as many solutions as possible and follow them to their probable conclusion. Choose the one that gives you the best chance to minimize the damage.
Had Mitch done this, he might have seen that, yes, stealing all the newspapers in Aspen is a possible solution. Is it the best option to try and keep a buddy’s name out of the spotlight? I’m thinking NO. Perhaps helping his buddy work on explaining himself and apologizing to people that actually brought it up might have been a better choice, but that’s just me.
DON’T COVER UP
There is one hard and fast rule about crisis communications that no one ever seems to learn.
Never, Never, Never try to cover up bad news.
Ask Nixon. If a reporter thinks that you’re hiding something they are gonna investigate. They will find the truth, do a story on the cover up then do more research into what else are you possibly hiding. Maybe they ask ex-employees about you. You know, the one you fired who said you’d regret it one day?
In Mitch’s case, he didn’t understand the when folks don’t get their papers, they complain to that paper. When hundreds of people complain, they investigate. Then they write another article talking about Mitch while mentioning his friend’s name in the blotter. I bet more people read that blotter now.
WEATHER THE STORM
It’s never fun when bad stuff happens, but the one thing you need to remember is this. Hit it Annie
You will get passed this crisis. And how you handle it will tell everyone as much about your company as any problem you might have had.
So thank you Mitch. You’ve done all of us an invaluable service. You have illustrated that turning a small problem into a bigger one is exactly the wrong way to deal with a crisis.
Instead, take a breath, assess your options, never cover up, and weather the storm. You do this and that bad story they wrote about you today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Tags: advice for small businesses, Annie and PR, Aspen Daily News, crisis communication, darren copeland, Dude: An Aspen Snowboarder Helps To Explain the Secret to Successful Crisis Communications, p.r. tips, PR, pr help, pr lessons, public relations, The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow