How To Turn Business Mishaps Into PR Success
All businesses suffer setbacks, problems and disasters. It is how we deal with them that can make us the villain or victor.
Here’s an example from a large airline. But similar things can happen to your business, so read on to learn the PR lessons this example provides.
There was recently a mishap on an EasyJet flight. A passenger was taken ill and a retired doctor offered his services and helped her. He spent an hour caring for her and the flight was able to continue to its destination. As the crew are only trained in First Aid this incident may have resulted in the plane having to divert to the nearest airport had the doctor not given reassurances. A diversion would have cost thousands in emergency landing fees, with a late arrival arrival meaning the plane would have been ready to make the return flight.
The crew were grateful for the doctors help and on returning to his seat he was asked if he wanted anything. He asked for a cup of coffee and a KitKat. He was given a free cup of coffee but was then charged for the KitKat .. which was worth about £1.
The media somehow got hold of the story and EasyJet were portrayed in a less than favourable light.
But there was a way to turn this situation to advantage ……
The situation was compounded by EasyJet’s response when they claimed the plane was unlikely to have needed to divert. Being that they had no medically trained staff on board they couldn’t know this except in hindsight. And of course part of the reason the passenger wasn’t as seriously ill as she might have been was because a highly qualified doctor attended her.
This would have been a non story had EasyJet given the doctor a KitKat. The media wouldn’t have been interested.
Turning a Mishap In To a PR Success
But there would have been an opportunity to get the media interested if EasyJet had behaved differently.
If instead of refusing to give the doctor a KitKat Easy Jet had publicly thanked him the PR situation would have been reversed. An announcement from the captain would have been easily given at the time. And then had EasyJet sent a positive story to the media, plus used PR agencies, social media etc., with some positive caring comments, Easy Jet would have been seen entirely differently.
If they had held a ceremony, invited the media and given the doctor some free flights that would have shown them in a positive caring light.
In fact there are hundreds of things they could have done to shine. A visit to the flight deck, an all expenses paid weekend in Paris or New York … the options go on for ever. All would have cost less than a diversion and “bought” them some great PR and free publicity, even if the media didn’t cover it. The PR value on their website and on social media would have been worth a significant amount. Certainly getting it on the doctor’s local radio and TV station would have been a cinch. And social media is so easy to ensure coverage .. a short video can be boosted on Facebook for fractions of a penny a view.
The thing is these things don’t just happen. You have to have a positive mindset and grasp opportunities. But PR opportunities abound without your businessmen even suffering a problem.
The thing is that if you get this sort of thing right people will see you positively and choose you above your competitors. That automatically means more busienss and more profit. Get it wrong and they look elsewhere.
Over recent years PR, in its various forms, has brought me in a lot of work at nil cost except a bit of thought and time to write a media release, a blog post or a social media post.