PR ain’t easy. There’s a reason people get degrees in it, write about it etc. Yet sometimes in order to do some good PR you really just need common sense.
This might be obvious but to explain exactly what I’m talking about I’ll give you a couple recent examples.
The first is a story about the superintendent of schools in my home town. Recently the school board decided to not only extend his contract but give him a raise. I don’t have anything against the guy, I’m sure he’s doing a fine job. However in this economy he’s already making 193k a year plus was reimbursed for his doctorate and received other benefits. Is he worth it? I dunno, probably not given its well over the 90th percentile for the position in this country (according to salary.com). That’s not the issue though.
Even if he is worth it is this really the time to be giving people raises? If you’re the superintendent don’t you say to the board lets put off the raise for now? Do you really want to be the superintendent who’s taking a raise right now?
It’s just plain bad PR for the board of ed (an elected position i might ad) and for the superintendent. At the very least I can’t imagine this helps his upcoming negotiations with teachers.
Then you have a guy like Casey Wasserman, CEO of the Wasserman Media Group who’s company is hugely successful in sports sponsorships. He went on CNBC to defend sports sponsorships. I thought he did a good job until towards the end where they asked him about it being good marketing but bad pr to do some of these events. And his answer showed a complete lack of understanding of the issue the question was bringing up. They were basically saying whether the events are good marketing or not, its bad to have congressman bashing your company. And he basically just said these are great events why are we picking on sports? A fair point certainly, but what he need to say was simply I understand what you’re saying and that’s why its up to myself and others in the business to explain to congress and the public how effective our events are. Its up to us to show how and why they’re not just wasting your dollars but in fact helping generate the dollars that will repay the public.
In both of these siutations a little common sense understanding of the environment you’re working in would go a long way.