Friday, January 8, 2010

A Lesson in Public Relations Continues

What a case study for healthcare!

The Chicago Bears just can't get it right. This has been a continuing comedy of PR errors that only leaves you scratching your head.

Damage control.....

Day after the press conference, the President of the team goes on the media tour to clarify statements on what the organization meant. (See my previous post) Damage control pure and simple.

It gets even better......

Then it turns out the press release about the firings was wrong and that really two of the assistants weren't fired, but were more like employee-at-will kind of relationships with no contracts. The offensive coordinator and his position coaches had contracts and will be paid. Probably some legal issues now because of that.

PR lesson continued.....

Look. For your own PR efforts, you control the message and the day when you decide to go public. Winning or losing a PR battle is not controlled by the media, it is your responsibility. You, through your actions or inaction's will determine whether you are successful or not. There was no reason in the world for the Chicago Bears to lose the media and message battle. All they did by this comedy of errors is further reinforce to the fan base, local media and national audiences that management is clueless about what to do. The Bears have lost any benefit of the doubt that remained. If this goes south when the 2010 season starts, the fire storm will be unrelenting. Sports fans have long memories.

What you can do to avoid this......

First, admit (and your ego will get bruised) that you may not have a clue about what to do.

Next, listen to your PR staff if you have any, and I am assuming at this point they know what they are doing.

Develop the right messages and practice, practice, practice with whomever you are sending out there to represent the organization. Limit the CEO or president's exposure.

Make sure the press release is right the first time.

If you have never been in a crisis communication situation before, bring in outside expertise. You can not handle it by yourself. This is no time to learn by doing, too much is at stake.

Physicians, patients and the media in your community will remember what you did or did not do for a very long time.

If you don't do it right on a day that you can control the outcome through right planning, thought and action, then you have no one to blame but yourself.

I can be reached at 815-293-1471 or by email to themichaeljgroup@aol.com

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