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Is there ever too much PR in a time of crisis?

Jody Fisher headshot

“Crisis calls for confident leadership.”

—Jody Fisher, Austin Williams

I’ve never lived through a pandemic. I’m betting you haven’t either.

Crises call for confident leadership. Looking around, you may think of some people who are – and some who aren’t – doing a very good job pointing the way toward what we believe will bring the quickest end to this global nightmare.

On a smaller scale, every one of our clients has an important role to play as well: doing the best they can to continue to bring value to their customers, serve their purpose or live up to their mission.

As public relations professionals, it is our job to guide them – first, as valued counselors in the actions and strategies they wish to pursue and then on how to navigate ever-changing playing fields of information and protecting from negative blowback.

Here are four thoughts on what you can do to help clients during this trying time:

    1. It is, and isn’t, all about COVID-19: Even though (almost) every news story is being written through the lens of coronavirus right now, your clients have their own unique things they’re working on and how they’re rising to this occasion. Help them tell the story of what they’re doing to help, either directly (such as in the healthcare and life/safety areas), or by supporting their communities (like banks and trampoline parks). And yes, I work with all of these!
    2. Preach to the choir: Your clients also have to serve their own audiences and those audiences are craving information on how it impacts them; colleges communicating with current and prospective students, recreational facilities offering programs online, and more.
    3. It’s not all doom and gloom: There’s still a sliver of daylight for non-coronavirus news, but it has to be important enough to impact people in a tangible way.
    4. The big exhale: We are already craving GOOD news, too, so get it out there! The Office star John Krasinski’s #SGN video show is a viral hit. Find outlets trafficking in these kinds of stories for added variety in your pitching portfolio.

Jody Fisher is vice president for Austin Williams. He wrote this in his garage which is now his #WFH office.


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