These days it is possible to send a message around the globe in a matter of seconds. Obviously, there are a lot of positives that are to be gained if the message is good, but what if that message is not so good? In fact, what if the message is extremely bad? Creating a good reputation or a bad one hangs on a knife edge in this world of social networking back-stabbing. Society has always been like this, but state-of-the-art technology has speeded everything up. This is why it is critical for companies to ‘manage’ their reputations carefully.
So what can go wrong?
The adage ‘any publicity is good publicity,’ does not stand up these days as numerous organisations have learnt to their cost. Take SeaWorld, which for many years has been a popular venue for families who love Whales. Two years ago the claim that it mistreated those whales caused global condemnation and there was even a plan to boycott the resort. PR campaigns that are defensively aimed at disputing facts are difficult to manage. What is required, is to make sure that only the ‘right’ information about your company gets out into cyberspace. Otherwise, there can be trouble.
The essentials of good PR
Technology may have changed the speed that things happen, but the principles of good business practice remain the same. This applies to PR. For companies that have had derogatory feedback, it is vital that this is not ignored but dealt with in an honest and open manner. Any PR problem needs a concerted effort from all of the team that is involved with public messaging. Everybody on that team needs to be telling the same story, and that story has to be an honest one. In the end, sincerity will win through against speed of information. This is a fundamental business principle that should always be adhered to.
When dealing with a ‘glitch’ in PR, a statement should be put together, but needs to avoid being a ‘knee jerk.’ Put together a crisis management team and have a ‘brainstorming session’ to make sure that the message sent out is correct.
Investor Relations (IR)
Just like Public Relations, Investor Relations (IR) is a tool every business must have, to create an access route to equity capital that is essential for growth. For many years now, organisations have been using highly skilled analysts to deliver corporate stories to existing and potential stakeholders. The skills needed here are varied. An expert in this field has to be an analyst, an accountant and also a PR specialist.
Modern investors are very much into hearing information regarding the complete financial picture, so modern companies need to provide IR that gives a deeper insight of economic issues. For valid IR in this sector, there has to be a combination of traditional methodologies combined with modern PR techniques. The need for effective inter-department communication and a direct approach to sharing information, are essential factors in being successful in this complex area.