Wednesday, 26 April 2017

PR disasters: who are the real winners?

Guest post

A couple of weeks' ago, we saw an incident occur within the American airline group United take place, only made worse by the fact that many of the passengers proceeded to film the ordeal on their mobile phones, then sharing it with the world, and the press of course.

The video appeared to show a male passenger being literally grabbed and pulled out of his seat, then physically dragged down the aisle of the aircraft, along with screaming and shouting from himself and his fellow passengers. Watching the short video the next morning all over UK news was one of those open mouth moments, I really was speechless. The man was being treated like a criminal, he was actually a doctor and passenger of the flight from Chicago to Louisville. 

The real reason? 

Because the plane was overbooked and the airline needed to free seats. 

It really was a PR disaster, in more ways than one... or perhaps it was a triumph for others?


The days that followed were really interesting, particularly on social media. There were multiple photos or what are now known as memes, basically taking a joke at United’s expense, people were not happy and this made me wonder if a boycott of United Airlines would appear sometime in the future. If they keep having this kind of negative press than sadly it could be a possibility and tarnish their reputation even more so than it currently is.

But PR disasters like this aren’t actually bad for everyone; many parties can actually benefit from such a scenario. 


Friday, 7 April 2017

UNLEARN // REDEFINE - highlights from the BCU School of Media PR conference

Yesterday, second year PR students from our course organised, facilitated and participated in the UNLEARN // REDEFINE conference hosted here at Birmingham City University. The conference was an opportunity for students to showcase their research and understanding of PR in context and to network with practitioners, whilst there were three prominent guests on the bill. 

Jill Pearcy, Head of Corporate Communications for HS2, gave an insightful talk about the communication challenges ahead over the next twenty years. Following lunch, we then welcomed a panel consisting of Rachel Roberts, Founder of Spottydog Communications and CIPR Midlands committee chair, and Ollie Purdom, Co-founder of Pitch Consultants, discussing how to pursue a career in PR and bridging the gap between study and entering the profession.

It was a packed agenda and we had visitors from various different backgrounds join us to hear what the students and speakers had to say, with some lively debate and interesting points raised.

Here's the full report, as covered by the BCU press team (view the news article here)...

Jill Pearcy discussing HS2

Student presentations focused on a range of topics including the recent brand reputation crisis of Samsung mobile products catching fire and the engagement ideas behind  EDF Energy’s ‘I Am Pretty’ campaign, aimed at encouraging more young females to consider careers in science and engineering.
The keynote speech at the event was delivered by Jill Pearcy, Head of Corporate Communications at HS2, who shared insights into the importance of building trust with communities and consumers.


Monday, 3 April 2017

The rise of reality TV stars is the success of PR

Guest post

When you think of reality TV stars, you probably think of the typical figures such as Kim Kardashian, Vicky Pattison and many others who don’t mind showing off their daily lives to millions of viewers, both in the UK and across the world.

Many reality TV stars are now worth millions, basically for just showing us their world and having an opinion, why can’t we all earn that sort of money for just doing that? I wonder what their secret to this fame and success could be? 

You’ve guessed it, PR is the answer! 

Most stars will have a strong team of PR people behind them, to come up with ideas to gain public interest, organise promotional events and shine them in the very best light possible. If it wasn’t for the strong PR team many of these individuals really wouldn’t be that successful, it’s just not that possible. Celebrities are completely different, they may be a famous singer or actor who already has a glittering career, but think about reality stars, what have they actually done? Sometimes it seems like they appeared out of nowhere and you can’t actually remember how or why!

Take Kim Kardashian as a big example of this. Her entire family have an executive PR team behind them. They take care of their new product launches, public appearances, even handling personal issues, one example being where Kim Kardashian was robbed whilst on a trip for Paris fashion week.
Reality TV stars becoming more popular and well known benefits many people, particularly brands. Fashion, beauty, food, and fitness brands are the main ones that benefit from a cash boost, just by including one of the stars as a brand ambassador, public appearance at one of their events or just taking a photo with a product and then uploading to their millions of followers. It’s really that simple. 

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