Why We Need Better PR in 2012

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Hard to believe we are only a few weeks away from the end of 2011. At this time of the year, we get to look back at the year that was and take stock. What was good? What was a major #fail? As is the case every year, there is plenty of bad news in the world. Of course, in the public relations industry, we have witnessed some pretty disastrous events, too (we’re looking at you, Charlie Sheen and Anthony Weiner).

This just hammers home that it is absolutely paramount to stress how important good PR is to you and your clients. Of course, you can never predict when a crisis is going to happen. But, why aren’t some doing a better job planning?

Sheen and Weiner were cases of two people doing things majorly wrong (Charlie definitely ended up NOT #winning). However, look at Penn State’s crisis. Why didn’t the communications folks do a better job advising the university president of what to say and what not to say? The ramifications of the university’s initial inaction to the Jerry case was shocking.

What about Netflix? They raised rates and split the services in two. Netflix’s CEO apologized, changed one service to “Quikster,” then stepped back and ditched the name. All in all, a serious PR disaster because customers were lost and the fallout was horrible.

The world of social media has made our jobs in public relations easier and harder at the same time. As we venture into 2012, it’s absolutely necessary to improve what we are doing as PR pros. Here are three ideas to consider for the new year:

1) Look at your crisis plans… then look at them again. There’s nothing wrong with being prepared. Why not make sure your crisis plans are as watertight as possible.

2) Be confident in your gut. If you think it’s wrong, it usually is. Don’t let someone convince you to do something you don’t believe in.

3) Be PROactive, not REactive. Why would you wait for something to happen, then address it? Have your ducks in a row, so you can address issues BEFORE they occur.

Whether you are a seasoned pro or a new one, keep your plans fresh and your skills sharp. Here’s to a great 2012.

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