Of course, when compiling this list, it was much easier to think of all the scandals and PR crises gone wrong, but we came up with five from this year that were handled right or came out without a lasting problem:
In April, ESPN Reporter Britt McHenry got caught ranting on video, and the video went viral. Telling off a parking lot attendant at a towing company, calling the person stupid, ugly, and fat to her face. And all of that after the attendant had mentioned she was being taped. Growing up there was a saying that went something like pretty is as pretty does and ESPN agreed. Right after the video hit YouTube, there were a rash of comments from people online, news media, and ESPN gave her a week-long suspension. This happened during McHenry’s personal time, but what you do still affects the brand. McHenry eventually apologized on Twitter. But she’s still on the air.
Also in April, Blue Bell Creameries found listeria in some of their products. They immediately issued a voluntary recall of all products and soon after shut down their five plants. They made the call on the safe side to protect customers. That goes a very long way with the public in building lasting trust.
Donald Trump has made some out-there remarks since announcing his run for the Presidency often astounding people. In just a few months, it’s happened several times, and each time people predicted “that’s it, that just put an end to his political aspirations.” Yet, still he remains the front-runner for the GOP. The Donald has always been an amazing PR guy, but he’s clearly doing something right as a “non-politician.”
Penn State College of Engineering got hacked. As soon as Penn State realized the breach, they notified faculty, media, and students. Then they sent emails to everyone involved letting them know everything Penn State had learned, what they were still checking into, and what they were planning to do to address the problem. Rapid response and frequent updates will improve the way companies are viewed in such situations.
The Price is Right is a show people love. Anyone in the audience can be called down to the staging area and become a contestant. Recently Danielle Perez was that person. She won her initial bid, then won the next round too. And what did she win, an amazing treadmill. But there was a slight hitch. Perez lost her legs in an auto accident several years earlier, and she is in a wheelchair. Things got uncomfortable fast. But due in great part to Perez, it worked out beautifully. She immediately began tweeting about how wonderful everyone at the show was and enjoyed the irony of her gift. PIR explained prizes are picked in advance. It turned out fine for everyone. Laughter can go a long way as long as you are not laughing at someone.
There are just a few PR crisis’ which were handled well in 2015 – and we still have 25% of the year left.