I read articles that talk about a company having a PR problems multiple times every day. Most of the problems that are described aren’t.
They’re operational problems; reputation problems; ethics problems. They might be a problem that the communications department within the organization but they’re
not public relations problems.
That’s not to say that there aren’t PR problems. It’s just that they’re a failure to build or maintain strong mutually beneficial relationships with key stakeholders – customers, prospects, employees, investors – so that when the operational, reputational or ethical failures occur they damage the organization. Had these relationships been built; had trust been established they could be used to minimize the risk the organization is exposed to when a problem happens.
Too often PR is expected to placate and reassure key stakeholders that operational or ethical failures aren’t systemic. They were a lapse. Had they build strong relationship before the issue occurred the problem would likely be less damaging.
So when you read about a company with a PR problem remember that the real issue is usually more fundamental. That PR problems only occur when an organization has failed to proactively build strong mutually-beneficial relationships with the people they need to minimize the impact of an operational, ethical or reputational problem.