PR Problems? What they are, and what they aren’t!

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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.