How To Avoid A P.R. Disaster — Part 4

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(By Radio Ink Publisher Deborah Parenti) The public relations nightmare that has kept United Airlines in the news has also been an opportunity to engage with some of radio’s premier public relations specialists who, over the years, have provided PR counsel and expertise to some of radio’s biggest brands.

As mentioned at the outset of this series, every radio group and/or station needs to have a PR strategy that encompasses a variety of possible scenarios, especially in today’s social media-active world. If your company doesn’t already have a plan in place, priority #1 should be drafting one now. Better yet, if you don’t have a PR person in house or on call, hire one and make it their first assignment to draw up that document.Denyse Meznik (2)

In the meantime, Denyse Mesnik, President of the Mesnik Group, has the last words in Radio Ink’s series on the United Airlines public relations situation of last week…

“At the most basic level, the takeaway lesson from the United Airlines fiasco is that emotions run high and social media moves fast.

“We’ve entered a new paradigm for media relations and external communications. The old adage that you’re never truly off the record when speaking with a journalist is no longer enough. Today’s reality is that everyone around you is a reporter, with a pocket camera, a strong opinion, and the ability to instantly post and share their story to an incredibly wide audience. For those of us in radio, a preventive measure is education through internal communication. Employees, from the front line to the C-suite, must remember that they are on public display, representing their company and the radio broadcasting industry, 24/7.

“When a situation goes viral, top management should be visible, available, and transparent. Staying on message is critical, as is recognizing that a sanitized corporate response will never carry the power of a well-planned, honest conversation that addresses the situation in language listeners relate to and understand.

“Thinking like our listeners, respecting their opinion, and responding in the way they communicate, goes a long way as companies and stations recover and move forward. One of radio’s greatest strengths is its ability to evoke emotion, restoring a brand’s reputation after a crisis is the perfect time to use it.”

Denyse Mesnik can be reached by e-mail at [email protected].
Deborah Parenti is Publisher of Radio Ink and can be reached at [email protected].
Read Part One HERE
Read Part Two HERE
Read Part Three HERE

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