Reactive PR What to do when the fire has been set!
Reactive PR Occurs when marketplace developments place the organization in a vulnerable position Product failures and defects tend to be the primary source of these situations –negative publicity generation Spokesperson Issues can also cause need for reactive approaches
Instantaneous Communications Advent of 24 hour news channels increases the “need” for news stories Potential news items are spotted quicker and more efficiently Likelihood of broader and more long lived stories result from tabloid journalism
Issues Management Five Step Process Identify issues the organization must be concerned about Analyze the impact of each issue on the constituents and publics Display various strategic alternatives to the organization Evaluate each program with respect to its ability to reach objectives
Recent Negative Publicity Scenarios Audi 5000 - sales plummeted from 74,000 in 1985 units to 12,000 in 1991 Perrier Case - previous #1 bottled water product in U.S. –Sales declined by 40% Tylenol and Sudafed –1982 product tampering resulted in seven deaths –free replacements offered –Sudafed offered $100,000 reward for information on the tampering, removed product from shelf
Rumors Sometimes they are comical - but most always they are false! Commercial rumors –widely circulated unverified propositions about a product, brand or company –spread like wildfire! –Example: P&G logo and the devil!
Rumors Conspiracy Rumors –supposed company policies or practices that are threatening or ideologically undesirable to the consumer –Bill Clinton and campaign donors Contamination Rumors –undesirable or harmful product or store features –1987 rumor that Corona beer had additional ingredients!
Managing in a Crisis Poor management can result in crippling financial implications –ValueJet –Pepsi syringes –NASA Shuttle loss Seven Instant Warning Signs –Surprise –Insufficient information –Escalating events, crisis expands –Loss of Control –Increased Outside scrutiny –Siege Mentality –Panic
Steps Recommended for Rumor Control Alert Procedure Evaluation Launch a Media Campaign Monitor
Alert Procedures first hearing note location, allegation, target monitor for more rumors or determine spuriousness if rumors persist (10 or more) send out the search party to talk with channel members to determine sources of information - determine the boundaries of the rumor check with competitors to see if they also are having troubles
Evaluation Check for sales changes monitor person hours to monitor phone calls and mail monitor company morale design survey and collect information to monitor believability of the rumor Assessment of threat to profits
Launch the Media Campaign Assemble all relevant facts about the extent of the problem Be prepared to overcome the procrastinators who prefer the ‘wait and see’ approach Decide geographical coverage Determine the TA and profile Select the media outlets and develop messages
Launch the Media Campaign Decide which points to refute –don’t deny more than the allegation! –Don’t bring up offensive associations or trigger residual negative attitudes in the minds’ of the TA Make the point that the allegations are untrue and unjust Line up credible spokespersons
Monitor Re-survey and determine post-campaign impressions Determine which vehicles and tools yielded the improvement Determine if additional work and funds should be allocated