How good is bad PR?

Public Relations is all about getting attention and getting a buzz for your brand, product, your organization and/or yourself and retain that attention so that people are naturally attracted to what you are promoting.   It’s all about the communication and the awareness generated through good PR.

But how good is bad PR?  When that promotion you seek comes through for all the wrong reasons and you start getting bad press.    One might argue that any PR is good, but is bad PR really good for your organization or you?

Let’s take the case of US President Donald Trump who is constantly in the news through his tweeting and pressure policies on other leaders, countries, policies and some of his own people.  While he does get attention, he definitely attracts censure from across the world for his forceful tactics.

United Airlines is another example.  Shares in United Airlines dropped 4 per cent with a loss of $1billion in company stock after a passenger was manhandled on Flight 3411 in April 2017.  Employee handling of the passenger, who refused to disembark because the flight was overbooked, raised censure and ire across the globe.  Many cut their United cards, vowing never to fly the Airline again.  The news generated a lot of bad publicity.  So while United did get worldwide attention, their name was embroiled in the news for all the wrong reasons.

One might debate the issue indefinitely, but the simple answer is no.   Bad PR is not good PR!

But good PR is important.   Its all about strategic conversations, communication and presenting mindful information to your target audience so that the relevant message gets across.  Besides raising brand awareness, it also creates communication bridges and connects people to congregate for a common cause.

When a friend’s son, a musician, found out that his tuba was stolen from the car, he was devastated as this was his passion, his livelihood, something that he used to spend several hours practising, playing and performing.   It had cost him thousands of dollars and hours of endless tuning and fine tuning until the instrument was personalised to his requirements.   So he did the best thing he could do under the circumstances.  He turned to the internet networks and posted the information on Facebook that was in turn shared multiple times by friends and family.   He appealed on media (https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/deflated-tuba-player-tells-thief-return-my-instrument-no-hard-feelings-1.3942436) and pleaded with the thief to return his tuba with no questions asked.  Continuing to raise awareness, he visited several pawn shops in the hope that someone had sold his tuba so he could buy it back.   But despite all the publicity, he did not get his tuba back.  But what he generated was a lot of networks, with friends helping him set up a GoFundMe page (https://www.gofundme.com/tubafortrix) that raised some funds for a new tuba.

(Photo courtesy Trix Sharma)

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