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.

EPSON scanner image
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)

MJ2

 

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.

MJ5

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.

MJ4

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

HOC3

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”.

HOC2

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.

HOC1

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.

Image result for ryanair planes

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.

Image result for michael o'leary

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/

 

United Airlines: PR Fiasco

“Warm and welcoming is who we are”… is it really?

The events that took place on the 9th of April 2017 at O’Hare International Airport may suggest otherwise. If you do not remember the incident, allow me to refresh your memory; a passenger who was travelling with United Airlines was forcibly ‘dragged’ off the plane by two security officers due to what some may refer to as ‘a common seating problem’. However, this ‘common’ problem quickly turned into an unnecessary act of violence. The passenger who was later named as; David Dao, 69, was returning from a holiday in California with his wife when the incident occurred.

Rather vivid footage of the event flooded social media and news channels in the UK as well as the USA shortly after it took place – a PR nightmare for any large company as we all know how fast word can travel in this day and age; especially news as scandalous as this. Since the incident, many discussions have taken place regarding whether or not the passenger should have been removed in the manner that he was; mainly due to the fact that he refused to give up his seat once the airline had requested 4 of its passengers to vacate the plane in order to have seats available for 4 of its staff members. Could this have  really been a fair argument after this footage?

Image result for united airlines incident bloody face

The images shown above are quite shocking, once the footage went viral there was nowhere for United Airlines to run and hide; the proof was clear. Is it ironic that the month before this incident happened, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz was named US Communicator of the year by the magazine; PR Week? this was apparently awarded to him for his outstanding communication skills under pressure and ability to ‘engage with employees and customers’, maybe a little too much?

It had been said that the airline obtained the right to forcibly remove passengers where it was deemed necessary, although, only after the appropriate steps had been taken. In which case, the passenger would have had to have been arrested before any physical action should have taken place. The evidence was clear and there was no denying what had happened, so what could the airline do next? blame the passenger of course, CEO Oscar Munoz stated that the passenger was “disruptive and belligerent”, but this cannot justify causing said passenger to end up hospitalized following a concussion and several other injuries, can it?

The immediate response from the airline sparked outrage amongst the public, not helping their image in any way whatsoever, if anything, just making the situation worse for themselves as this initial statement did not include an apology. Not only was there no apology issued straight away, but the CEO then continued to praise his employees for their performance, claiming that they went “above and beyond”. Once an apology was eventually made, the blame was then passed onto the airline’s policies, again proving that this scandal was not handled in the best of ways.

Personally, when I think of the United Airline’s incident; all I can picture is the footage of the passenger, as I am sure this is the case with many. So how does one recover from such a scandal? the smart thing to do would have been to move quickly, apologise and try to put the incident behind them, however, as this was drawn out, it gave the public a chance to respond to the situation in a way that did not reflect well on the airline. See below;

Image result for united airlines incident

Is there really no such thing as bad publicity? this image may suggest otherwise, perhaps the airline deserves this kind if backlash for their mishandling of the situation. United airlines had already been a hot topic with the public after refusing to allow two teenage girls to board a flight because they were wearing leggings, this incident alone attracted an abundance of criticism, the smart thing to do after this would be to lay low for a short period of time and stay out of the news, but it seems United Airlines were eager to stay in the headlines.

Maybe the scandal has had a positive impact for the airline in the long run, in terms of more publicity, although, it cannot erase the damaging name they have created for themselves. In my opinion, and I’m sure in the opinion of many others; not enough crisis management tactics were implemented in terms of; the first few minutes being critical, taking responsibility, sensitivity to victims and families, and having  a PR director on the crisis team; maybe this incident could have had a slightly better and less damaging outcome for the airline.

All in all, this is hopefully something they can learn from and aim to prevent in the future – perhaps one small positive out of one large catastrophe!

Jayne Mullan is a 3rd year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @JayneMullan_ 

Today I Messed Up

In my first blog I stated I would cover the ‘state of the profession’ but we’re all meant to learn from each other, right? One of the best ways to learn is by making mistakes, right? We all make mistakes, right? Right. Well, I made a big one.

Take yourself back, Thursday 7th December at 3:53pm – what were you doing? I was working for VO, an independent online heating oil company, a fairly large one with a mailing list in the tens of thousands in Northern Ireland alone. Doing weekly mailshots to NI & UK is part of my remit. So, twice a week I’ll send out an email to hundreds of thousands of people. Best emails you’ll never want to read. Apart from the one I sent on Thursday to our entire NI database.

I’ll give a bit of information, first, into my process when writing these emails, it goes like this:

  • Think of a play on words/horrible pun – Black Ice Friday was a personal favourite
  • Write the email trying my upmost to get people to get onto our website and order some home heating oil
  • Proofread
  • Send it to colleagues & one outsider to make sure my grammar is absolutely on point – people love a grammar error.
  • Wait for feedback from all parties
  • Press send and pray.

Well on this occasion, with snow being forecast, I wrote ‘the snow is falling throughout the country’. Apparently, removing the ‘the’ before the word ‘snow’ was more applicable. You may be able to see where this is going. In jest, I put F-ing, in front of the word ‘snow’, screenshotted it and sent it back asking if I’d fixed it. We use Mailchimp, I dare say there is no person dumb enough to hit send with a curse word still remaining, cause a normal human deletes it immediately after, right? Nope. In my defence, we were busy, the phone rang and I took an order so it slipped to the back of my mind. If you’ve heard a worse excuse than that, let me know. My boss asked if I had hit send on the email because it had gotten busy, I said no and hurriedly sent it.

Yup.

The word?

Still there.

The phones?

Went mental.

Here, see for yourself:

See that feeling you have right now, that one where you’re thinking ‘wow, what an idiot’. Multiply it by 10, then square it, put it in a cannon and shoot it into the sky. That was about half of my stress level. Understandably, I’d just ruined my career, the company and my life. Donald Trump was about to start Tweeting about me in 5 minutes and I had just become the reason for a hard border on the island of Ireland.

I remembered from a lecture on crisis management that it is vital to get out in front, quickly. So, once I stated my mistake an apology email was sent, it was suggested that we go with ‘hacked’ and blamed it on a prankster. This was probably our only mistake. Cue a few emails and phone calls asking if personal information was stolen but alas, it was not. Just little ol’ me, being a very silly boy. But, if in doubt blame the Russians eh?

Disaster.

Or, was it?

It turned out that the response to the email was ridiculously positive, especially on social media. I monitored social media long into the night and I still am as I write this, responding to whoever mentions our name. Decided that the best way to deal with this, was with humour. And it worked, for the second time in my life people found me funny! The first being my birth.

We got 3 rt’s on Twitter for our apology, we’re an oil company, that probably matches our grand total. But I tried to use GIFs so I could use a bit of humour and not type because I no longer trusted my hands. Luckily, everyone loved it. If you go and look on social media you’ll see that I blamed a student on his second last day being a menace, a statement that I wasn’t sure was entirely false.

In terms of followers, the people who retweeted our/my error had a collective 14-15 thousand followers collectively, which is people we wouldn’t have reached. The email itself had a much higher open rate due to the apology email piquing interest. And we got a host of orders in the immediate aftermath. Although the snow may have played a role, but it was a lot more than we had gotten all day.

But I had work the next morning. I usually start at 12, but I aimed to be in for 9 as it wouldn’t be fair for anyone else to take the flak, but due to heavy snowfall and working in Mallusk, I made it in by 10:30. I spent most of the day dealing with complaints via email and phone call, those who were understandably offended by the profanity were largely receptive and accept-ive of the genuine apology after they’d given me a stern talking to, if any of you are somehow reading this, I’m still sorry!!

A lot of people found it hilarious and thought that it was a deliberate marketing ploy, fake it till you make it! It somehow worked an absolute treat and my one take away is that stepping away from the norm and taking risks can pay off. If this was deliberate I’d probably have the biggest head right now and be telling you how great I am. But, no, I still feel like an idiot. A lucky one. Hi potential future employers, I’ve learned, promise!

So here’s my takeaways from this:

  • PROOFREAD BEFORE YOU SEND AND NEVER, EVER SWEAR EVEN IF YOU DON’T INTEND TO SEND IT.
  • Taking risks sometimes works
  • Don’t bury your head in the sand and always tackle the issue head on, especially if it was your fault.

I hope you enjoyed reading this story more than I did living it. Even though this is a mistake that I would much prefer to bury and pretend didn’t happen, I like to own up to my own mistakes no matter the consequences, so go on, call me an idiot, I deserve it!

F**king snow, eh?

Anthony Boyd is a final year student on Bsc in Public Relations at Ulster University. He can be found on Twitter: @anthonyboyd16 or LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anthony-boyd-4a5a63b4/

Harvey Weinstein: Protected by PR

Over the past four weeks, Harvey Weinstein has joined the ever-growing list of men who apparently can’t keep their hands off women.  This list includes President Clinton, President Trump, Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski, men who don’t know how to behave as Gentlemen.   

How did a culture of silence build up around Harvey Weinstein?

The pace of the allegations against Weinstein has been rapid over the past four weeks, allegations against him include sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape and the systematic silencing of victims.  The New York Times divulged the information on Harvey Weinstein in a scathing article which accounted for many of his victims.  According to The New York Times a female assistant working for The Weinstein Company claimed Mr Weinstein harassed her into giving him a massage while he was naked.

“I am a 28 year old woman trying to make a living and a career. Harvey Weinstein is a 64 year old, world famous man and this is his company. The balance of power is me: 0, Harvey Weinstein: 10.”

– From Lauren O’Connor‘s memo

 

LH1

Since the explosive article appeared, the number of women who have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment or sexual assault is staggering.  Over 50 women have bravely stood up and accused him of something.  Yet Mr Weinstein has, “Unequivocally denied” any allegations of non-consensual sex.

I find it inconceivable that a man like Weinstein, with such a disturbing scope of behaviours was considered a normal and genuine man.

Harvey Weinstein has been protected by Hollywood.  All things ‘Hollywood’ are all things ‘PR’, and Weinstein was most definitely all things ‘Hollywood’.  He was one of the most powerful men in Hollywood – a ‘movie god’, possessing an unrivalled combination of political influence, power and money; and so it was clear the disgraced film mogul’s own institution were keen to keep quiet.  It is now the case that The Weinstein Company has fired Weinstein (that’s right, from his own company) in response to the publicity surrounding his sexual predatory behaviour.  In my opinion, The Weinstein Company should have had fired him 30 years ago when IT found out; rather than now, only when WE have found out.

Weinstein’s friends were his fixers and lawyers, they too are the powerful PR of Hollywood, yet once again, they kept quiet. Quentin Tarantino revealed on the 20th October 2017 he knew about Harvey Weinstein’s alleged misconduct towards women for years. “I knew enough to do more than I did”, the film director declared to The New York Times.  So why did he remain silent, consequently protecting Weinstein?  Behind the glitz and glam of Harvey Weinstein, he was piling up the victims and according to two company officials who spoke to The New York Times on the condition of anonymity; he had reached at least 8 silent settlements with women.

 “The men who do this, do it because they have the power and wealth to get away with it. They deliberately pick on women who are less powerful than themselves.”

– Joan Smith, writer, speaking about Weinstein

In a just world, Harvey Weinstein’s actions are indefensible, yet Weinstein defended them when he issued one of the strangest public apologies I have ever read. It’s clear he is now struggling to hire someone adequate enough to do his PR for him, now we all know the truth.

He starts by saying, “I came of age in the ’60s and ’70s, when all the rules about behaviour and workplaces were different. That was the culture then.”  Sorry Mr Weinstein, but sexual harassment and assault was never culture, you should blame yourself, not ‘The culture’.

Weinstein goes on to say, “Over the last year, I’ve asked Lisa Bloom to tutor me, and she’s put together a team of people. I’ve brought on therapists, and I plan to take a leave of absence from my company and to deal with this issue head on. I so respect all women, and regret what happened.”  Mr Weinstein, if you need a team of people and therapists to tutor you on how to behave like a civil, decent man and keep your hands to yourself; you really have no respect for anyone, not just women.

Weinstein closes with the following, “I am going to need a place to channel that anger, so I’ve decided that I’m going to give the NRA my full attention. I hope Wayne LaPierre will enjoy his retirement party. I’m going to do it at the same place I had my Bar Mitzvah. I’m making a movie about our President, perhaps we can make it a joint retirement party. One year ago, I began organizing a $5 million foundation to give scholarships to women directors at USC. While this might seem coincidental, it has been in the works for a year. It will be named after my mom, and I won’t disappoint her.”

As I’m sure many of you will agree, upon reading this my first thought was, “What is he talking about?”  How can he talk about the NRA, his Bar Mitzvah, the President, and an upcoming movie project all in an apology statement?  Is this an attempt by PR to distract us from the apology and his acknowledgement of his actions?  I don’t believe honouring his mother with a $5 million scholarship for women will eliminate the lifelong hurt and pain suffered by women he has abused either.

Harvey Weinstein has been protected by PR for most of his career and his serial sexual harassment went under the radar.  The powerful public’s who had every opportunity to challenge this animal unfortunately turned a very detrimental and destructive blind eye.

Lauren Hill is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University.  She can be contacted on LinkedIn.  

This Little Piggy Made A Blunder

As many of the posts on this blog have explored, social media can be an excellent tool for communicating with customers and promoting your brand. This, however, is dependent on how the brand utilises it. On Tuesday, October 17th, a Twitter user by the name of Heather Peacock (@heatherpea) posted an image of a sign outside of a school, stating “Skinnypigs will make you look better naked”.

Heather questioned how a school might not be the most appropriate place for this content; and another user by the name of Sarah (@sarahdavywrites) echoed her sentiment, going on to suggest how these types of statements can translate into body shaming.

The company in question responded. It got messy.

Continue reading “This Little Piggy Made A Blunder”