Diane Abbott, Pepsi and air rage: what to do in a crisis

2017 seems to be the year of the PR disaster.

In a few short months, we have had the pulled Pepsi commercial, the United Airlines incident and this week a disastrous interview to kick start the election campaign.

Whatever your political persuasion, there can be no denying that the interview by Shadow Home Secretary was a car crash. In case politics isn’t your scene here’s a link of the interview.

In the interview on LBC you will hear Diane Abbott MP pledge to pay policemen a mere £8,000 per year after getting seriously muddled with her figures. You can almost hear the scramble of briefing papers as she squirms in her seat.

Whether Abbott will recover from this faux pas remains to be seen. However, and this is what makes it all more the shocking considering her relative experience, this interview could have been avoided with proper media training.

Here at PRG we’re lucky when it comes to the media.

The business was started by a former journalist, Ray Groves, and has since then gone onto hold onto those journalistic principles. When PRG obtains a new client, we do the fundamentals. We ask the relevant questions. We ask the who, the what and the where so that we’re primed with the best information about our clients.

And, do you know what? We can do this for you too. With our in-house experience we can offer media training to our clients. We can guide you through the process of dealing with every different type of media – from print, to TV and radio.  We’ll also give you a steer on the angles and questions you might face, so that you don’t have to an Abbott moment. Obviously, we can’t cover every question – but we’ll even coach you about to approach an answer to a question you weren’t expecting.

There is no need for a media to turn into a crisis. Speaking of which, that is exactly what United Airlines has been undergoing since footage emerged of passenger Dr Dao, a paying customer, was selected to be involuntarily bumped from his seat. He lost two of his front teeth in the incident and United Airlines has seen its profits plummet.

The airline was quick to react. However, every commentator agrees that the company misjudged the seriousness of the incident and did not do enough to apologise. Since that time, United’s CEO has been on a charm offensive. A definite case of too little, too late. While it is making all of the conciliatory statements now the damage of the aging Dr Dao has been the resounding memory and not the mea culpa this kind of incident so definitely required.

Crisis management is a skill, but, again, like media training, it can be taught. Again, it is that knowledge of the media, and how it works, that is fundamental. Like the old insurance advert used to say, there’s no need to make a drama out of a crisis.

With PRG as your PR agency you can be assured of the right level of strategic assistance so that we can help or deal with crisis management when it comes to the media.

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