3 PR Disasters That You Can Learn From

Posted by Paladin on February 07, 2018

Public relations disasters happen, and some of them can be avoided or learned from. We take a trip down memory lane to remember some of the horrifying moments of 2017 (and there were plenty!) to analyze how it could have been handled in a different way and possibly had different results.

Staying Silent About the Breach

Equifax had one of the hardest years and largest backlashes we have seen in quite some time. Their security breach affected 140 million people and the worst part about is was that they really didn’t do anything about it. They waited a long time to make the announcement and then made it difficult for people to check with a small window of time on a site that ended up crashing. Stocks in the company dropped a staggering 35%, and they have struggled since with a marred reputation. We have stated it many times and we will state it as much as we need to, always be transparent! Own your mistakes and deal with a quick backlash rather than try to hide and deal with a bad reputation.

Adidas Made a Major Faux Pas

Adidas has been congratulating marathon runners for quite some time and they made a major mistake this past year with an email sent to Boston marathoners. The email congratulated them on surviving the race. After the horrifying bombing in 2013, it was just too insensitive and brought up many emotions for marathoners from around the world. However, this is where Adidas did something right. They took ownership of their words and issued an apology. They did not point fingers at someone else, nor did they wait too long to make the move. Because of their quick and swift action it was talked about for a very short time, and people moved on.

The Uber CEO Yells at His Driver

Uber has been involved in many PR scandals over the year so it is no surprise that there was yet another issue with the company. The now-former CEO, Travis Kalanick, got into an argument with his Uber driver that happened to be caught on film. It quickly escalated, although the man was still respectful, and Travis didn’t like the way the disagreement was going. He lost his cool and began yelling at the man. The Uber driver took it up with the CEO his own concerns about how things were going with the company and his desire to make a fair wage. If someone comes to you with a complaint, listen to them. Ask them questions to clarify what they want. Talk to them about ways to fix the problem. Do not dismiss them. We have to give Travis credit: at least he used Uber and not a competitor.

Final Thoughts

In an age of social media where the public response to events often becomes part of the events themselves, the indispensability of trained HR professionals has become undeniable.

Are you interested in becoming a PR Professional? Watch our Career Advice Videos to see if the PR career track is the right fit for you.

Posted in: Communications, Employers

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