Do you have insurance on your company’s cars, buildings, inventories, and even your key people? Sure you do – what competent management wouldn’t? None of these insurances are needed very often (that’s the idea), but when they are, you need them right then and right there, and after the fact is too late to get them.
The last week has brought us news of major PR disasters for a couple large organizations; which is to say: bone-headed handling of events in the most amateurish way. The sub-culture of professional media trainers was all a-twitter with “What in the world were they thinking?” type comments. Well, I know what went wrong: the people in charge felt that they were smart and could explain their positions, and so they had no need for professional media training…before the fact! Well, smart is as smart does, you cant’ be good at everything, and they sure looked dumb.
A crisis, disaster, or PR calamity will strike your business sometime, just as surely as a flood will damage some inventory and one of your employees will get in a car accident with a company vehicle. They make insurance for this, and it’s known as media training. Having been in front of the news cameras a couple times myself trying to to explain a controversial issue, I can tell you first hand that I wish I’d had some training! Despite the fact that I really did know what I was talking about.
I was recently involved in the production of a training program for public safety (police, fire, EMS) professionals in the position of their agency’s PIO (Public Information Officer). I can tell you that yeah, there’s real “meat”in the field of media communications – there’s a science to it.
And the leaders in your company should know it. It doesn’t take long to get this training.
Also, you should have located, and have an agreement with, a PR crisis firm that you can call any hour, any day, to handle the bad thing when it happens. A few hours of prep here will save you when the thing you never think will happen happens.
FYI – one of the blogs try and hit every couple days is Mr. Media Training. There are many like it, and I may or may not always agree with the owner’s politics, but it’s both instructive and amusing to get the viewpoint of a PR professional on the day’s events and gaffes. Remember: A fool learns from his own mistakes; a wise man from another man’s mistakes.