Celebrities in Crisis: Is all PR really good PR?

“When written in Chinese, the word ‘Crisis’ is composed of two characters: One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” John F. Kennedy.

This quote pokes the bear in the great debate about Celebrity PR scandals, and as we move away from the archaic belief that “All PR is good PR”, it’s clear to me that one critical element of Public Relations remains; Crisis Management.  Feel free to disagree, but from my experience the two go hand in hand and every PR campaign should have an element of crisis built in, just in case the “What if?” situation becomes the “What now?” situation.

What has really grabbed my attention over the past year is the amount of crises I have seen in the celebrity world amidst the huge Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Harvey Weinstein has really piqued my interest in this area over the past and I along with the rest of the developed world have watched as the dramatic, complex, and undignified scandal unraveled before our eyes.

In case you missed it (or have been in a coma for the last year) back in 2017, Harvey Weinstein, a Hollywood mogul always pictured at glamorous Hollywood parties pictured with many famous A-List stars was slammed across all media channels after a number of different women came forward claiming they were sexually harassed by the now former film producer.

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In the early hours of the scandal, The Weinstein Company released a statement to the media saying that they were launching an inquiry into the allegations,  which translated in PR language means “give us some time to try and come up with a wordy statement that doesn’t answer any of your questions but makes it look like we know what to do in this situation and has been picked apart by our lawyers to ensure limited legal liability.”

After 13 more women spoke out, celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and George Clooney condemning him, his lawyer resigning, his wife leaving him and the inevitable dismissal from his own company there really was no scope for any kind of crisis management plan. Weinstein could only deny the allegations but the mass effect the media coverage had on this huge scandal meant his reputation had no hope of a recovery.

The Weinstein case seemed to cause a ripple effect in the celebrity world and soon enough many PR practitioners representing many different celebrities, business people and even government officials were facing this unprecedented crisis.

Another case that caught my eye was The Spacey Scandal…

Kevin Spacey was one of Hollywood’s most decorated actors and personally starred in one of my favourite Netflix tv series- House of Cards.

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So, naturally when this crisis came out I was stunned.

A grand total of 30 men claimed that Spacey, made a sexual advance upon them dating back to 1982.  Kevin Spacey’s response?

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Personally, I found his response quite interesting in terms of crisis management. He doesn’t try to deny the claims like Weinstein, he also doesn’t admit that he did it. But he tries to protect his image by apologizing and revealing something very personal about his life. In terms of PR one could raise the question… is Kevin Spacey revealing his sexuality as a PR spin? Is he trying to deflect from the situation? Who knows. But, a common tactic especially for PR Spin Doctors is to bury bad news in bad news, so it could be argued that this is a tactical move.

Anyway, it’s not all about sexual allegations when discussing PR scandals in the celebrity world. Comedian Kathy Griffin faced a huge media crisis when a picture was released of her holding a decapitated head of Donald Trump (look away if you are squeamish).

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Her management of this crisis was completely different to both Spacey and Weinstein. In fact, she admitted she was wrong and explicitly begged her fans for forgiveness claiming she “went too far”. Interesting, but her career and reputation were still damaged, and she was pulled from a huge TV ad as well as having to cancel several comedy shows.

All in all, crises in the celebrity world are usually unprecedented, erupt suddenly with little time to figure out how to recover. PR has an important role to play in the world of celebrity, there are many different ways to manage the type of crises I have mentioned but no matter what, when stories are leaked in the media they are everywhere. Forever. Try as they may, it can be difficult for celebrities and top figures to comeback from these types of catastrophes.

So, can celebrity PR scandals be managed?  In my opinion, it depends. It depends on the context, the scandal, the fan following, the time, the circumstances and sometimes, just sometimes, these factors can create the perfect storm. They can be managed to an extent but evidently, PR teams cannot prepare for the types of crises that can implode on them out of the blue on a Monday morning.  Hats off to them for the effort!

Orlaith Strong is a Final Year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter @orlaith_strong and LinkedIn @orlaithstrong

Top tips for PR Crisis Management

Top tips for PR Crisis Management

Every organisation in the world is susceptible to a crisis, it’s how an organisation handles crisis that really shows the type of organisation they are.

Crisis can bring huge benefits to an organisation if handled correctly however, if an organisation does not have an effective crisis management strategy implemented, it can be detrimental to their reputation.

These top tips will help you on your way to creating one of the best crisis management strategies your organisation can have.

1. Be Proactive, Transparent & Honest

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An organisations response to a crisis needs to be quick, don’t let the media or online warriors get in there before you. After all, you are the most reliable source for your audience so be transparent and keep your audience in the loop. If the crisis is your fault, then own up to it. It’s how you own up to and deal with crisis that will help maintain and rebuild your reputation in the wake of a PR crisis. Listen to your audience, after all its them that you need to maintain your relationship with because, what’s an organisation without their audience?

2. Communication

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This can be one of the simplest mistakes an organisation can make. Keep your employees in the loop, it’s as easy as that. Keep them well briefed on upcoming campaigns and possible crises that may arise. Obviously, you can’t always know when a crisis will happen but having a well briefed team will encourage positive work ethic, trust and respect. If you don’t have this, it could lead to job losses, and they may even be the ones to speak negatively of the organisation if they haven’t been treated fairly.  As an organisation, you should have an elected spokesperson who will speak when a crisis hits, this is usually a CEO or an Executive member of staff, all employees should know how to respond to media enquiries in times of crisis.

3. Be Consistent

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In responding to a crisis, it is essential to keep your message consistent. Don’t let the crisis escalate into something it doesn’t need to. If you have different people giving out different messages, it’s just going to confuse your audience and display that your organisation clearly has very little skills regarding communication and lacks reliability. Have one spokesperson to speak on the issue, this will ensure a consistent message and reassure your audience.

4. Timing

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Timing is key! Be aware of what’s going on in the outside world. After all, PR is all about being in the know and keeping up to date with current events. If your organisation puts out something that clashes with current news, your organisation will instantly come across as insensitive and to be quite honest your audience will lose interest.

Adidas were the perfect example of this. I’m sure you’ve all heard of the mammoth mistake they sent to participants of the Boston marathon a few years back. It went a little something like ‘Congratulations, you survived the Boston Marathon.’ It makes you think, who in the right mind thought this was ok to send out? Considering the marathon had been bombed three years prior to this, it’s a perfect example of how an extra little bit of crisis control and being aware of the outside world can have a huge impact on your organisation.

5. Social Media is your best friend!

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Social media has transformed the dynamic of the PR industry, organisations now have a significant role in incorporating social media into their crisis management strategies. For many of us, social media is our preferred channel of engagement whether that be with friends, family or organisations. Therefore, in incorporating social media into your organisations PR strategy you will inevitably enhance relationships with your desired audience.

Besides this, if your audience is already highly active on social media, they will be more inclined to credit information they see online rather than through traditional methods, highlighting the importance of social media in crisis management.

6. Apologise, Apologise, Apologise

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Take responsibility for your actions, your audience will expect an apology so make sure you give one them one. We’re all human, and everyone makes mistakes, in publicly apologising and committing to being better your audience will stay with you. All you need to do is be open about the situation. Make sure you do whatever it takes to maintain or regain trust with your audience.

7. Expected the Unexpected

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I hope you’re a fan of friends, otherwise this reference will be totally irrelevant. All jokes aside, expected the unexpected. As soon as one crisis ends, another one can start just as quick, so learn from your mistakes and rework your strategy to meet your organisation’s needs. Your audience engagement and following should show the benefits of this.

We’ve now covered quite a bit on crisis management, does your organisation implement each of these steps?

Take a step back, look and adopt these top tips for an easier and stress-free life!

You can thank me later…

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Sorcha Conway is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be contacted through; Facebook: Sorcha Conway /  Twitter: @SorchaConway / LinkedIn: sorcha-c / Instagram: sorchaconway515

A Series of Unfortunate Events

“Any publicity is good publicity” not always true, right? PR wouldn’t be the same without the odd (I say odd lightly) reputation-damaging blunders right? There are endless amounts of contenders for the biggest PR disasters ever – however, we haven’t got ALL day – so I’m going to narrow this down to three – oh so many to choose from!

  1. Pepsi’ ad with Kendall Jenner

The internet was in uproar of April 2017 after a Pepsi ad featuring the ever so famous Kendall Jenner was aired. The short advert shows the model strolling up to a political protest – resolving it by simply handing out a can of Pepsi, however this advert was branded extremely insensitive, given the divided political climate which was going on in the United States at that time. Of course twitter went into melt down, ends on ends of tweets circulating the twitter world. Below are just some of the tweets which went viral after this tasteless ad.

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Just one day after the ad aired Pepsi apologised and removed it from the internet. You can view the famous ad that sent the twitter world into chaos on the link below.

The company released the following statement, “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace, and understanding. Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologise. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content and halting any further roll out. We also apologise for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.”

However, Pepsi were hit with a stroke of luck, as United Airlines came along and stole the thunder with their own PR disaster, causing the wind to blow over on the Pepsi ad controversy and the internet’s fury to redirect to United Airlines – talk about perfect timing!

2) United Airlines

2017 seems to be the year of PR crises! United Airlines are never short of a PR crisis, I mean their practically professionals, from banning two girls from flying because they were wearing leggings to forcing a mother to hold her toddler in her lap for a full flight after giving away the toddlers paid seat to a standby passenger – however the worst has to be demanding an elderly doctor, David Dao, to leave their flight due to an overbooking, breaking his nose and knocking out teeth in the process – apparently! Understandably, when the video of the elderly man being forcibly removed from the aircraft by officers went viral in 2017, the public went into meltdown, some even still mentioning the Pepsi controversy – no-one ever forgets.

 

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz addressed the situation stating, “This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologise for having to re-accommodate these customers.” He also called the doctor “disruptive and belligerent” which of course did not settle the public’s outrage, if anything it made it worse, resulting in many people calling for Oscar Munoz’ removal.

You would like to think that these crew members knew that when Mr Dao refused to leave the plane willingly, it was going to end Ugly with a capital U! Let’s be real, this was never not going to be caught on video and go viral! Shame on United Airlines.

3) H&M

H&M also hit a serious reputation crisis after the image of a black African-American boy modelling a jumper reading “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” hit social media. The company faced serious backlash with accusations of racism. Of course twitter users were quick to jump on to slam and shame the advertisement, many people had a lot to say, including New York Times columnist Charles Blow:

 

Although H&M did react quickly, pulling the ad and the jumper and issuing an apology, “We sincerely apologize for offending people with this image of a printed hooded top, the image has been removed from all online channels and the product will not be for sale. We believe in diversity and inclusion in all that we do and will be reviewing all our internal policies accordingly to avoid any future issues.” However, the damage was done and could not be undone. It caused the company to lose a huge brand collaborator, The Weeknd, as he vowed not to work with them again.

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This incredibly viral – for all the wrong reasons – crisis certainly left people wondering why and how somebody with H&M did not spot that this advertisement of a black child in a hoodie with the slogan “Coolest monkey in the Jungle” may be seen as racist, still do this day I ask myself how?

 

Niamh Cosgrove is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/niamh-cosgrove-62b986131/Twitter: @niamhcosgrove 

Strictly Curse or PR Blessing?

Strictly Curse or PR Blessing?

It started with a kiss. Last weekend, Seann Walsh and his Strictly Come Dancing dance partner Katya Jones were photographed kissing after, what they later described as, ‘a few too many’.

A standard work-place faux pas, that a lot of the nation can unfortunately relate to, made all that more severe by the fact that Katya is married to Neil, another professional dancer on the same show and comedian Seann has (or be that now had*) a girlfriend, Rebecca, of 6 years.

The photographs, taken on 8th October made the front page of The Sun on Sunday which was subsequently followed by various other front-page appearances throughout the week in The Sun, The Daily Mail and The Mirror.

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Both guilty parties immediately posted short and standard apologies on each of their Twitter accounts in an obvious attempt at some damage control. However, it was the statement from Seann’s scorned lover, Rebecca Humphries, that really got people talking.

In a statement co-written by Public Eye, a PR agency who boasts big names such as Jamie Dornan and Suki Waterhouse as their clients, Humphries addressed the incident (which took place on her birthday- I mean, come on Seann?!) and reinforced that she ‘wasn’t a victim’ despite revealing that Walsh had been controlling, verbally abusive and called her a psycho for voicing her concerns over his fidelity.

Rebecca’s brilliantly written statement was retweeted over 12,800 times and saw her Twitter followers increase by over 16,500. Her statement also prompted support from celebrities including Myleene Class, Stacey Solomon, Carol Vorderman and Marian Keyes, many of whom gushed about an all too familiar situation and how she handled herself with such dignity and grace. The Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, Katie Ghose, even praised Rebecca for speaking out publicly about her experience and helping other women in similar situations.

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This perfect example of crisis communications catapulted Rebecca into the spotlight, not as a woman scorned but instead as a voice for a new generation of strong, resilient and capable women.

However, a source from Strictly Come Dancing has said that, “It was written to bring him down, plain and simple, to chime in with the whole #MeToo moment and make it seem far, far worse than it was.” They then went on to say that “He’s a total a***hole but that doesn’t make him a monster.” – A view that surprisingly was shared by a lot of viewers.

Unfortunately for Seann and Katya, their joint appearance on midweek show “It Takes Two” didn’t do them any favours though. Through watching their appearance on the aptly named show, I can only imagine that the severity of what Seann had sacrificed (other than his relationship) was only starting to sink in. His uncomfortable, uptight presence throughout the interview portrayed a mind that was now counting his potential post-show opportunities slipping away alongside his inevitable sell-out comedy tour.

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Whilst addressing his version of events, he made no reference to his (ex) girlfriend and came across as arrogant and overly defensive. Katya showed even less remorse than Seann by selfishly stating that her relationship was ‘absolutely fine and that’s what matters the most’.

But I couldn’t help but wonder, why hadn’t Neil weighed in on these terrible attempts to handle the situation? Was he indeed absolutely fine with his wife’s indiscretions? Was he going to drag Seann across the dancefloor by the throat whilst the band plays Copacabana? Neil’s response was something I’d never read before in any crisis communications text book- he completely ignored his wife’s indiscretions and instead posted this photo below on his Instagram page.

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Whilst Rebecca addressed her public humiliation head on and inspired a nation of women, Neil simply taught us that if all goes wrong, you can always post a poorly photoshopped photo of your butt on Instagram that will be sure to distract from anything else going on in your life…

But Neil’s Kardashian strategy wasn’t enough to distract me.

Having never watched Strictly before in my life, I settled down on Saturday evening waiting to watch the shamed partners take to the floor to perform the Charleston (which I have to believe was picked deliberately by the Strictly producers as it is perhaps the most un-sexy dance they could have been assigned).

After sitting through the first 10 acts (another obvious ploy by the BBC to keep viewers watching the whole way through) they were on. Much to my disappointment, the ghost of Bruce Forsythe didn’t appear to cast shame on them both, but clearly I wasn’t alone in my anticipation to see these two face the music and dance. Twitter was on fire with both of their names trending the entire way through the show and viewing ratings even increased by 1.4 million compared to the previous week.

So were there any real losers at the end of this scandal?

Rebecca, although going through obvious personal trauma has had her profile heightened and gained the respect of a nation of women – all beneficial factors for an actress who, let’s face it, wasn’t a household name before. As for the pair in question, despite their horrendous handling of the situation, they have come out of this pretty well. According to Katya, her relationship is ‘absolutely fine’ and this is seconded by the silent support (and seaside selfies) of her husband. Seann even managed survived the first week of evictions post-scandal and the show is, as a result, boasting huge ratings figures.

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Thanks to the ‘Strictly Curse’, which has claimed victims including Rachel Riley, Natasha Kaplinsky and Kristina Rihanoff, the nation is watching, talking  and tweeting about Strictly Come Dancing 2018. A blessing in disguise.

 

*I personally think the most traumatic thing about this whole scenario has to have been the over-use of the word ‘snog’ in the press.

 

Lucy Sempey is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: Twitter – @LucySempey ; LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucy-sempey-482ab9130/

 

FOOTBALL VS PUBLIC RELATIONS Volume 1: Part III

FOOTBALL VS PUBLIC RELATIONS

Volume 1: Part III

 

Crisis Management within Soccer

Doeg said “what makes a problem into a crisis is the media or, in some instances, the likelihood of media attention…. It is when the media intervenes too early that a crisis ensues” and with the level of technology in this day an d age media coverage is growing and its starting to unmask all the corruption within football and in some cases this has led to it being labelled as a crisis.

 

There are many different types of situations which can be defined as a crisis, such as bankruptcy, bribery, mismanagement, tax problems, transportation accident and much, much more. Unfortunately for the beautiful game, it has encountered nearly every type of crisis. With the growth of media we have seen some of the best players in the world such as Lionel Messi being accused of tax evasion, the former FIFA president Sepp Blatter receiving an 8 year ban from football for mismanagement and the Liverpool fans walking out on a match in the 77th planned rise of ticket prices to £77.

 

In my previous post I touched on the Sepp Blatter incident but never looked at the management side of this crisis, which is what I want to look at today. An example of crisis management comes with one of the most recent disasters in football, which happened on the 28th November 2016 when a plane containing 81 people crashed, killing 77 of the passengers on-board. The plane, operated by Bolivian-based charter airline Lamia, was flying from Santa Cruz de la Sierra, in Bolivia, to Medellin, in Colombia in preparation for the football match. The plane was transporting the players and staff of Associação Chapecoense de Futebol (Chapecoense). Unfortunately there were no survivors. This was an immediate crises and the effects were found across the world with everyone showing their sympathy. This was not the first time a disaster like this happen as on the 6th February 1958 a plane with the Manchester United players and staff failed to take off on a runway in Munich, causing it to crash and killing 21 people and leaving 2 people unable to play football again.

 

The club didn’t have much time to come up with a plan as they could not have expected this to happen. Since then the club have recovered remarkably as they stand as a state champions of Santa Catarina, sit 10th in the Brazilian Serie A table, only saw their Copa Libertadores hopes ended by a forfeited match, and remain in contention to defend their Copa Sudamericana crown. It was a situation that need needed careful management by all, firstly by CONMEBOL who organise the competition. The Chapecoense team were on their way to play the first leg of their final when disaster struck. Instead of rescheduling the match to another date, CONMEBOL crowned Chapecoense as champions of the competition. The club had a difficult situation on their hands as many of their players did not survive the crash and their club president was also a victim of the disaster. Many thought they would not recover but thanks to the directors and the generous support of many others. The directors of the club selected another of athletes to come in the make up the team so they could continue to compete, Paraguayan football team Club Libertad have put forward their whole first-team squad for Brazilian side. A former player (Tulio de Melo) who had left the club just the year before returned to the club to help them, he spoke about the tragedy by stating that “We will never forget what happened and what the athletes, most of whom were my friends, did for the club. We will never forget that. But we cannot regret this every day, or the sadness never passes. So we talked about this and we made a pact to play with joy and to honour our friends that died.”

 

The fact that the club have rebounded so well from this incident and that they are still fit to be competitive shows just how well this situation was managed. This is never an easy situation to handle for anyone, but I feel the club did all they could in this situation.

 

Stay tuned for future posts and I hope you have a very nice day.

 

Joseph McAuley is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. He can be found on Twitter: @JosephMcAuley96 / Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joseph.mcauley.3

Crisis communication – the winners and the losers

Reputation management is associated with many to be at the forefront of all PR communicative activities.

But what happens when crisis strikes?

The academic literature surrounding crisis management has detailed theories regarding how a PR practitioner should react when their organisation comes under fire.

Benoit’s theory suggests deniability and often evasion of responsibility, while the academic Coombs agrees that a PR practitioner and an organisation should be wary before assuming responsibility for the crisis. Haywood believes in a fast track approach of telling it all, telling it fast and telling true, where Winner urges caution, relaying limited information in a timely sensitive manner to the public.

Seemingly most PR practitioners may agree that each crisis will require different strategies and methods to combat the crisis.

The speed of social media’s advancement has seen PR practitioners go one or two ways – fear the consequence of potential mishaps or embracing the prospect of enhanced visibility for their clients or organisations.

There are many more examples of when using social media to defuse a crisis goes incredibly wrong, but for our first example, we’re going to focus on when it goes very, very right.

AS2Whilst they are usually responsible for distributing aid to others, American Red Cross had to come to its own aid years ago, when an employee assumed he was tweeting from his personal account when actually, he tweeted from the official Twitter of American Red Cross.

The tweet went something like this,

“Ryan found 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer… when we drink we do it right #gettingslizzerd.”

Whilst American Red Cross hilariously responded to the crisis,

“We’ve deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys.”giphy-downsized

Although they deleted the rogue tweet, the internet never keeps anything secret and it’s still available through a simple Google search.

Some academics and PR practitioners urged caution when deleting such messages on social media, however in the case of American Red Cross, they recognised their error quickly, combined their crisis communication plan with a combination of humility and light hearted humour resulting in the crisis being quickly dissolved and presented the charity in perhaps a more favourable light than they were pre crisis.

Dogfish Head also jumped on the bandwagon promoting the hashtag and encouraging people to donate to the American Red Cross.

Speaking of which, here’s some links you can make your donation:

http://www.redcross.org.uk/

Moving swiftly on to our next example, a charity currently under extreme scrutiny, Oxfam.AS1

This is a prime example of when an organisation handles a crisis wrong. Firstly, in 2011 Oxfam suppressed emerging stories of sexual misconduct claims and sacked those responsible for this. Some PR practitioners would agree that if they had opened up about these claims initially, they would have instilled a degree of confidence in the charity and it would have protected their reputation in the long run.

Unfortunately for Oxfam, nothing these days can stay hidden for long. This, combined with the increased visibility social media inherits, means the consequences of this decision in 2011 have been detrimental to the company’s reputation. This acts as a warning for all organisations, emphasising the need for an organised and effective crisis management plan that combats and resolves the issue the organisation faces.

These case studies highlight not only how any organisation can fall victim to a crisis, but interestingly introduces the notion that charities are held to a much more stringent standard than other corporations.

Please spare a few minutes to fill out the questionnaire linked below answering questions on how you feel organisations should respond in a crisis:

https://ulstersocialsciences.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5gXZ3FovumDIrZz

Annie Shivers is a final year BSc in Public Relations student at Ulster University. She is on Twitter at @ShiversAnnie and LinkedIn https://uk.linkedin.com/in/annie-shivers-9085b810a

Tweeting Ophelia, putting the T in SWOT.

It’s one of the most basic tenets of the whole PR game, and one that’s shared with much of the corporate world, the principle of SWOT.

For those of you who haven’t had it implanted in your head by a succession of lectures, meetings and briefings, it stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, which are all pretty much self explanatory. We must address each of these in turn for any campaign, event or undertaking, but some of us, myself included, are guilty of ignoring the last, and arguably most vital, section.

 

Threats and run the gamut from a member of staff being delayed by traffic, all the way up to, and including, the declaration of war. We can edit out the SH3extremes, with one end being somewhat inconsequential, with the other so improbable we can rule it out. But accidents do happen, acts of God occur and the threat of terrorism hasn’t gone away, you know.

Work anywhere with the public and you are presented with these doomsday scenarios, of evacuation and escape routes, warnings never to shout ‘fire’ at a theatre (though if you hear an announcement asking if Mr Smith or some such can report to the lobby, it might be wise to gather yourself up). I once worked at an event where Bill Clinton himself was due to speak, which included the mandatory snipers and the welding shut of manhole covers. Just in case.

And as I write this the sound of storm Eleanor rattles off my window, reminding me of Ophelia. Storm Ophelia was due to hit Belfast at around 3pm, and projected to last until late that night. Galway had already taken a hiding and the venue I work for had a band booked that night, due to travel up from Dublin.

 

While the preparations were made to shore up the homestead (which, for some reason, included filling every available vessel with tap water) the band were messaged. Fortunately the Dears, an indie-outfit from the wilds of Canada, (who are really rather good, by the way. Would put you in the mind of Morrissey without the unpleasantness) are one of those bands who keep up to date with the twitter.

At 9.58 a message was sent, asking if all was going to plan. They responded within three minutes, saying they were on the way, having left early to beat the storm. “We are road warriors” they added.

At this stage the storm was lashing the west coast of Ireland, and the pubs and shops of Belfast shut down

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The messages lit up. Was the gig going ahead? Yes! Was it still at the same time? Yes! We’re we still open? Yes!

 

We lost the support group, but Canadians are made of sterner stuff, and turned up before lunchtime, ahead of schedule and loaded in. Reassurance was the order of the day, the Empire Bar has a cosy Basement and Ophelia blew itself out before it hit us. And then they posted this picture, which is when we knew everything would be all right.

 

Shane Horan is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. He can be found on Twitter @shanehoran.