Good Press, Bad Press and Worse Press

PR can get messy. Let's take a look…

Seeking to Kill Bad Press IS Bad Press March 7, 2010

It’s a part of the game.  When a company is publicly traded they are targeted with a great deal of public scrutiny.  Many times, companies try to avoid this or discredit those who are criticizing them.  This is only natural to defend the company’s image.  However, I believe sometimes these efforts can make a company look worse.

Toyota is a great example.  With all the public scrutiny, the public tried to say that they were being unfairly scrutinized by the press.  It is the press’ job to identify issues that the public should know about. Knowing about Toyota’s “vehicle issues” is the public’s right .  This isn’t great for a company’s image; however, trying to place blame on those who are criticizing the company actually makes the company look defensive and ultimately guilty.  Pointing fingers is never good press. Here is a great article that analysis Toyota’s PR crisis.

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Tiger Woods’ roaring press conference-more like a cat’s meow February 21, 2010

Tiger Woods had his press conference on Friday.  I wasn’t very impressed.  First, a public figure should address a scandal no later than two weeks after the news breaks.  Waiting a few months only allows others to speculate and attack the public figure.  This builds hostility towards the individual  and tarnishes his or her image.

Besides the timing, Woods’ execution was sloppy and showed poor preparation.  It was obviously scripted.  Clearly, when Woods holds a press conference over a sensitive issue, he will have a script.  However, body language is everything. Communicating his apology in a way that shows sincerity and planning, that’s good press. While he did try to maintain eye contact with the camera, often times his head faced down toward the podium to read his script.  He didn’t maintain eye contact for the majority of the speech and took awkward pauses.   This was not a great way to reintroduce Woods to the public and not to mention his shareholders and endorsers.

I could almost read the lines while he was “now pause for two seconds and look up at camera”.  This is bad press.  It doesn’t come off sincere.  Koodos to Woods for addressing the public when he clearly didn’t have to at this time.  However, if he is going to address the public, he should do it correctly.

I also want to mention that I do not necessarily believe Woods owes the public an apology.   Tim McGuire addresses this in his blog.

There were aspects of his speech he executed well.  He took full blame for everything.  He didn’t sugarcoat the situation.  He admitted to having affairs, believing he was above moral codes and hurting his family in the process.  Conveying honesty and taking the blame for something a public figure does wrong, that’s good press.

One last sidenote.  I didn’t appreciate the play on words when he said “I don’t get to play by different rules”.  Clever, but not appropriate for an apology speech.