Crisis management

PR comes into its own when clients are in deep trouble – whether of their own making or not. Speed, intelligence, guile, contacts, PRs need them all when the chips are down.

Categories: Crisis management / Political spin / Trust and reputations

12 July 2017

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Bell Pottinger South Africa, a reality check

What unites all the major political parties in South Africa: the African National Congress (ANC), the Democratic Alliance (DA), the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)? The answer is their determination to divide the country along pre-existing racial fault lines. Yet the DA, South Africa’s main opposition party, has had the audacity to lodge a misconduct claim against Bell Pottinger (BP) with the UK’s Public Relations Consultants Association, accusing it of “sow[ing] racial mistrust, hate and race-baiting, and [encouraging a] divided society”.  Read on ›

Categories: Crisis management

20 June 2015

2 comments

The PR industry’s part in professor Tim Hunt’s downfall

Health warning 21st July, 2015: I made two errors in this piece that were pointed out by the author (Louise Bagshawe) and former British MP Louise Mensch.  I am pleased to note that I was not correct to write ‘nobody laughed’ because evidence has emerged demonstrating that there was laughter in response to Tim Hunt’s joke. I was also wrong to write that he made a fool of himself. In my defence, as Louise Mensch kindly tweeted,at the time he [I] wrote this, the falsity of the account of TH joke getting a ‘stony reception’ wasn’t known”. The new news merely strengthens what follows. Read on ›

Categories: Crisis management / Media issues / Political spin / PR issues / Richard D North

1 January 2013

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The Beeb, Plod, HMG and PR

By Richard D North

The big picture

Anyone who cares about Britain, its government and its wider official culture is shaken and stirred by recent media storms. PR professionals ought to be a great position to understand what’s been going on. After all, they are media-obsessed, and narratives and messaging are at the heart of the problem faced by our institutions. Read on ›

Categories: Crisis management / Trust and reputations

27 October 2012

12 comments

Poor communication is not a crime

Italian judge Marco Billi has jailed (pending appeal) six scientists and one public official for six years for manslaughter. They were condemned for downplaying – in their communication – the risks of an earthquake in L’Aquila, Italy, which killed 309 people in 2009. The verdict should send shockwaves through the ranks of public relations professionals, because the precedent it sets could be applied to PR pros just as easily as to our clients and their other advisers. Read on ›

Categories: Crisis management / CSR reality check / Richard D North / Trust and reputations

25 October 2012

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Savile and the BBC’s clip-board kings and queens

[This is a guest post by Richard D North.] The most important questions about the BBC and Savile saga are often left a little late in the discussion. First, why did anyone of ordinary savviness at the top of a mass entertainment organisation think the old weirdo was worth a post-mortem tribute, granted the strength of the rumours which had been going round for years? Read on ›

Categories: Crisis management / CSR reality check

30 August 2012

3 comments

Lonmin’s PR credibility gap

You cannot have missed it. A strike at the Marikana platinum mine owned by Lonmin in South Africa led to 34 workers being killed and many more injured in a confrontation with the police. Weeks later the number of people on the illegal strike has increased considerably with only 13 per cent of workers turning up at the mine on Monday. Read on ›

Categories: Credit Crunch / Crisis management / Trust and reputations

28 June 2012

3 comments

Assessing the Barclays Bank Libor scandal

Barclays Bank has to pay a penalty of £290 million to the Financial Services Authority in the UK, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Department of Justice in the US. Its crime? Between 2005 and 2009, it lied to them about the interest rate it was paying to borrow money. The reason? To benefit the bank’s derivatives trading positions by either increasing its profits or minimizing its losses. What can we PR pros say? Read on ›

Categories: Crisis management / Media issues

26 April 2012

6 comments

Reality check on Leveson, Murdoch and Hunt

Hating the Murdochs is a sport in some quarters. It is almost all the old British left has left. Socialism is not doing well, but loathing Thatcher and her biggest media supporters still resonates. In the case of culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, we have what looks like the perfect mirror-image foolishness from the right-wing of politics. Read on ›