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.

Organisational Crisis in the Digital Age

In this day and age, there is an ever-growing need for organisations to pursue some sort of online presence to try and expand their ability to target and communicate with customers. Social media has accentuated this ability and thus has begun the age of instant communication to and from the once powerless consumer. Most organizations by now in 2017 have opted to dive straight into this deep ocean that is the online world in an attempt to stay relevant and keep up with the general consensus. This is often done without any strategical thinking, lacking in preparation when it comes to dealing with a crisis, probably because they think these reputation-destroying issues will never come knocking on their door. For the most part, the benefits of social media and the internet are undeniable but you’ve probably heard the term ‘any publicity is good publicity’. Well honestly, when you consider the power of the online world and mix it with an organisational crisis, that really isn’t true.

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EPSON scanner image

Nowadays both individuals and organizations are constantly being held accountable for what they said or did at absolutely any moment in time, it has forced all of these organisations to tread very carefully. It’s impossible for organisations to avoid some sort of negative publicity whenever they are going through a crisis. This is because these platforms simply don’t allow it, boohoo for the corporate. Citizen Journalists, Bloggers and Social media platforms eliminate the large organisation’s role as a gatekeeper in what information they distribute and want the public to receive. There is now a heavy spotlight constantly shining on these establishments and no longer can they simply influence the public the way they want to. For this reason, we see organisations implementing dedicated PR departments to handle the digital age and the package that comes with it.

These PR teams will work with the organization to establish an overview of how they want to be perceived by the general public and then simply strive to achieve that aim. Naturally, these aims for most organisations are displaying their organisation in a positive light. This for organisations involves constructing the right message and then correctly and efficiently disseminating the message where appropriate throughout different media relations. When it comes to an organisation suffering from a disastrous event that has the potential to ruin its public image, the PR professionals and department are tasked with deciding how they are going to not only handle the situation but also how they will repair the situation in the hope of reconstructing their message back to what it once was.

To prepare for a crisis, it is important to have a crisis management team, spokesperson and strategy already in place so that if or when it occurs they can implement the correct methods to overcome it straight away. Below I have highlighted different factors that need to be considered when in the midst of a crisis.

1. Address the perception of the crisis as often a crisis is not actually the extent of what something has occurred but more so the public’s perception of it.
2. Give thought to the people who are actually complaining. Anger hinders communication, to overcome an issue the public must first have their say.
3. Try and interpret the public’s mood and then focus on that emotional aspect personally rather than impersonally as a corporate organisation.
4. Always tell the truth, as we have pointed out that organisations are constantly in the spotlight. Lying will most likely lead to future issues, making the organisation worse off than before.
5. Take responsibility for what occurs, which coincides with telling the truth. This can be done by acknowledging what has occurred and announcing the issue is being addressed. In other words, apologise if you are in the wrong.
6. Stick with the professional aspect of your organisation, this will enable you to continuously strategically communicate a clear message.

(Don’t do this)

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Public Relations departments have a significant role in the managing of a crisis, they often will experience three stages;

1. Advising on the incident before it becomes public, discussing the strategic approach that should be taken.
2. As the incident becomes public knowledge, they must identify the key audiences that need the most focus of communication.
3. Support the communication to the public following the incident by making support materials which may involve; questions and answers, statements, speeches etc.

This potential for a such a devastating crisis to hit an organisation can create a certain level of scepticism when it comes to the online aspect of a business. For this reason, it really is important that organisations not only prepare for it as if they are expecting it but also try and prevent it from happening in the first place. Crises have always been dangerous for the corporate world but that level of danger in the 21st century is seriously heightened. The durability of an organisation very much comes down to the strong ties that it holds with its publics, so the stronger these ties the more likely an organisation will be able to deal with a crisis and come out the other end with a fighting chance. For this reason, in my opinion organisations really should use social media and new media technologies to their advantage, prioritising and optimising their relations through the same very platforms that they can receive backlash.

When a crisis occurs for an organisation the question really isn’t are they going to suffer from negative exposure it is to what extent they are going to suffer. It’s important to note that when it does occur it really can seriously disrupt an organisation. An example of a crisis in recent years was United Airlines in April 2017.

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A passenger on one of their flights was videoed being physically removed, in fact violently dragged from one of their aeroplanes all because they picked him out of a crowd to be removed from his seat because the flight was overbooked. The incident not only left the man bleeding from the face but also left him unconscious despite the man doing absolutely nothing apart from wanting to stay on the flight that he believed to have booked a seat on fair and square. The organisation received absolutely astonishing backlash on social media platforms with thousands claiming they will never use the airline again. Below is a graph which shows the stock of United Airlines crashing on the day of the incident.

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They lost over $800 million in stock prices and whilst over the course of the next few months they gradually recovered from the crisis it highlights the power to which the online world has over large corporate organisations. Before the digital age of smart phones and social media, this incident would have been quickly buried.

See its really simple, just don’t be stupid enough to do something absolutely daft like United Airlines. No, I’m kidding it was a horrific situation and only confirms more that organisations should seriously take into consideration the methods they need to overcome such an event and make sure they are in place. This reason behind this is because, in reality there is probably thousands of United Airlines employees that would have handled that situation completely different and probably 100x better than these individuals did. You are unable to control every single person that you employ, for large organisations at least it is impossible and therefore you cannot determine when something like this will happen, for this reason it is important to plan for the worst. As Warren Buffet once said “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it”

 

Matthew Johnson is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. He can be found on Facebook at: Matthew Johnston and on Linkedin at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthew-johnston-172055153/

Carrickfergus JD Wetherspoon- A storm ahead of the rest

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Huge waves strike the harbour wall and lighthouse on October 16, 2017 as Storm Ophelia hits the UK and Ireland

So as I’m sure you’re aware, on Monday 16th October, 2017, a hurricane named Ophelia paid a visit to our beautiful little island. Now for most of us the weather didn’t really affect our day-to-day lives and if you are anything like me, who got sent home from work early and was given a day of university, I saw this as the perfect opportunity to get the fire lit, stick on my favourite Hepburn movie, get the cosy pyjamas on and sip on a vino or five. It was wonderful!!

However, as I was vegetating on the sofa and scrolling Facebook, the most brilliant post appeared on my Timeline written by JD Wetherspoon’s Bar in Carrickfergus.  The post (which I later noticed was extensively shared) read: “Morning all, so no one knows how bad this storm is gonna be, and it kicks off on my shift. If you live alone and are a little apprehensive come down to the bar and we will sit it out together, if your electric goes out and you need hot water for babies or the kids, come down and I will supply tea and coffee for free. If you are homeless in the area at this time our doors are open for shelter and heat no questions asked. If you get caught in it and can’t get home, use us as a safe point we will try and get you home. I will stay all night if need be, but above all be safe, it may amount to nothing but better being prepared. Please share and let people know. Robert”.

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A screenshot of the post by J.D Wetherspoon, Carrickfergus

After reading this post, I will admit, I was a little teary eyed. It really struck me how wonderful and caring this duty manager, Mr. Robert McCleneghan was, to open the doors of his business to absolutely anyone who needed help.

However, it then also occurred to me how bloody clever it was for a business to place a post like this on a public facing platform. Now don’t get me wrong, in no way am I taking away from Mr. McCleneghan’s desire to genuinely want to help vulnerable and isolated people within the community. But, this post, in my opinion, was an excellent example of effective Public Relations through the use of a social media platform, in this case Facebook.

By proving that the business valued and cared about the safety of the people of Carrickfergus and those travelling through the area (who most likely are their regular clientele), JD Wetherspoon gained the respect of their desired publics and Facebook followers, who in turn will hopefully return the favour by bringing their business to an establishment who clearly value their custom but most importantly their safety.

They say that out of crisis comes opportunity and this post was undoubtedly a huge success. To date it has had approximately 17k likes, 1600 comments and 13k shares. Posting such a heartfelt message will really work in favour for this little bar in Carrickfergus. Creating a Facebook post that had such a large reach is something that most businesses only dream of! People all over Northern Ireland, so overwhelmed by this thoughtful gesture, made it their business to share this post, placing JD Wetherspoon in Carrick on the map.

One comment that really caught my eye read as follows: “I don’t live near Carrick but next time I’m passing I’ll make a point of calling in. Good service deserves to be rewarded with good custom”. This quote sums up exactly what most people were thinking when they read this post. Intentionally or unintentionally, JD Wetherspoon, in posting such a caring message, have well and truly got people talking about their bar in positive way that can only benefit their business.

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A screenshot of the positive feedback flooding the comments section on Facebook

Moreover, this post didn’t go unnoticed by the local media. An online story was published by the Belfast News Letter and Belfast Live, who both praised the bar for their generosity during a time that potentially could have been difficult for certain groups of people within the community. Unsurprisingly, the bar gained even more positive feedback as a result, making JD Wetherspoon a much more attractive business to consider visiting when in the Carrickfergus area.

I believe that JD Wetherspoon really has stormed ahead of the rest of their competitors within the Carrickfergus area and most of them should take a leaf out of their book!

Their post really has shown that social media can be a powerful tool in putting your business on the map, gaining new customers, building relationships and increasing repeat custom whilst most importantly showing that the wellbeing of your customers and community are of the upmost importance to yourself and to the business that you run.

Hannah O’Connor is a final year Bsc in Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter at @hannarose94 and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/hannah-o-connor-0140b3150/

 

Ryanair- What Went Wrong?

It is no secret that Ryanair has come under scrutiny in the past, however, this tops them all. The budget airline giant has created a great deal of chaos with cancelling many of its flights. Thousands of passengers were left disappointed to not be going on their holidays, or worse, left stranded in foreign countries with no way home. You can understand why many of these affected consumers took to social media to voice their frustration. For Ryanair, this was disastrous. The morning after news of the scandal broke, every newspaper had it on their front covers, news stations across the UK and Europe had it as their main story. There was no way they could cover this up.

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Today, news spreads instantly and people knew within minutes of what had happened. Not only has this damaged Ryanair’s status as one of Europe’s most popular low-cost airlines, but it has also lost them the trust of many new and existing consumers. Having flown with Ryanair many times myself, I was deeply shocked at how they handled the situation.

Where Did Ryanair go Wrong?

Over 2000 flights were cancelled by Ryanair throughout Europe from September 2017, right through until the end of October 2017. Michael O’Leary (CEO of Ryanair) has said that they were completely at fault by stating: “It was our mess up”. Management at Ryanair failed to allocate holidays for the Airline’s pilots. For such a well-established organisation, their reason for this happening was quite shocking to many of us.

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How Could Ryanair Have Better Managed this Crisis?

When it comes to crisis management, Ryanair appeared to be completely lost. No solution was brought forward or communicated to affected consumers, people were left in the dark as to what was going on and how this issue was going to be addressed. Almost anyone who was due to fly with Ryanair in the coming weeks was left worried and anxious as no one knew which flights had been cancelled. If Ryanair had made this information available from the beginning, this may have avoided many of the issues they encountered.

From reading and listening to press releases and news reports on this scandal, it is clear that Ryanair tried to blame everyone and everything but themselves from the beginning. For e.g. apparently weather was an issue, then the French Air Traffic Control strike was the problem. This strike may have caused some of their problems, but not all of them. The number of flights being cancelled became so vast that people began to further question Ryanair’s excuses. Again, the constant change in reasons as to why peoples’ flights had been cancelled was another reason to cause uproar.

An organisation of Ryanair’s popularity and size is expected to be well equipped when it comes to managing this sort of issue. Having a clear crisis management plan set out would have been of great benefit to Ryanair as this would have allowed them to take a plan of action when it came to addressing this problem.  All organisations, especially those that when an issue arises will create a great deal of media attention, should have a clear crisis management plan set out that in the event if an issue does arise, they can handle it effectively.

 Will Ryanair Recover From This?

People choose to fly with Ryanair because they are extremely affordable. People love a good bargain and to think that such an affordable airline would lose a sizeable percentage of consumers due to this event seems unlikely. Ryanair will do everything in their power to ensure they do not lose consumers; therefore, more than likely making flights even cheaper to attract consumers again.

Generally, we would assume that something as chaotic as this will not happen again, which is why people may continue to book with Ryanair. However, for the consumers that have been affected, this may not be the case as this will have left a lasting impression on them. However, with the airline giant now facing legal action, it may be some time before these disadvantaged consumers receive the compensation they deserve.

References:

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2013/nov/19/cheapest-flights-in-europe-pegasus-easyjet

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/sep/27/ryanair-cancel

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/21/ryanair-cancels-2000-flights

https://www.acast.com/businessdaily/what-went-wrong-at-ryanair https://www.theguardian.com/business/nils-pratley-on-finance/2017/sep/18/ryanair-is-unnecessarily-pissing-people-off

Anna Haughian is a final year Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @anna_haughian / Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anna-haughian-667834131/