With the instantaneous nature of the news media these days, of which I myself am a huge fan of, comes a heightened challenge to all PR professionals to not only remain forever available to their clients, but also to have the ability to know exactly what advice to advise their clients with at a moments notice. This is particularly true of publicists and PR persons who represent clients who are extensions of their own business’s brand. Celebrities, for example, are always representative of the brand or image they sell through their product, whether that is a movie, a song, fragrance etc. Ultimately, someone who purchases their merchandise – as your customers buy products and services from your business – they’re buying into that celebrity as well. As such, their every move in the public eye can alter the way their fans, who are at the end of the day their customers, perceive them.
Take the recent example of Kanye West’s outburst during Taylor Swift‘s acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards, or even Representative Joe Wilson‘s eruption during President Obama’s address to the joint session – for a more sophisticated example. Both incidents exemplify a public figure acting out of character of what any good PR adviser would tell you is a desirable perceived brand of a public person. In the events following any such situation, it’s interesting to watch the figure react to negative exposure and attempt, sometimes unsuccessfully, to launch into damage control of their personal brand.
As apologies are released to the media, or strategically aired on the premier of a much-anticipated comedy show to ensure maximum exposure, you can rest assure that some publicist is pulling all available strings to make sure their client is making the correct statements to the right audience in order to attempt a full brand recovery.
While many of us don’t have the possibility of making an unfavorable scene, or even statement, that could potentially damage our brand to such a large group of people, there is always the opportunity that any communication or action you take part in could potentially reflect poorly on you and consequentially the brand you are portraying to at least some. This is especially true in the more permanent realm of electronic media. Point being, every piece of communication – whether it be an email, a physical gesture, a social media post or otherwise – is a reflection of you and your brand, and you never know who’s watching or reading. So think always about how any piece of communication you dispense is a reflection of what you want to portray as an employee or owner of your business and its brand. What would your own personal PR representative advise you to say? Or, more importantly, what not to.
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