Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Public Relations as Risk Management

Risk management was one of the founding theologies behind public relations. But in the era of web2.0 we have moved into a much more proactive practice of handling risk management as well as marketing, brand campaigns and promotions for many companies.

Risk management practices change over time, but always come back to the original idea of identifying the problem and promoting a positive solution to the problem. Recently Carnival Cruises has had to face this issue. The stories continue to spread about the conditions of being on the dream-liner Triumph while it was stranded in the Gulf of Mexico for five days. 

While the company has addressed many issues the ship had, they have another issue to face in how they handle the coverage of the event, the responses people have to the event, and how they will promote their company following the event. 

Carnival's first response in managing the situation was to appeal to the passengers, which should always be the first step. They offered full refunds, reimbursement of money spent (except gift shops and casinos) and a voucher for another cruise booking valued at the same price as their ticket on Triumph. 

But the company has to go beyond that to recover from the bad press coverage they have received. The use of social media can be a great tool for them now. Social Media could help them boost morale and rebuild confidence in their company and the industry as a whole. I wouldn't be surprised if we see youtube videos, tweets and facebook campaigns come from them to help rebuild the confidence and interest in their products in the coming months once the coverage dies down a little bit. 

Bad things can happen to anyone, anywhere, at anytime. The important thing to remember when handling risk management is that once the issue has been addressed, all the following steps are positive and help boost the companies image. I use positive promotion points whenever I am talking to consumers about the pork industry, because no matter what the media says; I am the one providing the truth to the consumers and addressing the concerns. 

Public relations is a powerful tool for a company of any size. Risk management plans are great, when they are in place and ready to address any problem that may arise. Our job as public relations professionals is to keep a positive image of the company we represent.