From a PR standpoint, highlights of CBS’s Super Bowl pregame show didn’t come from Miley Cyrus’s performance for essential workers or the moving piece celebrating the 30th anniversary of Whitney Houston’s performance of the national anthem. It came from a simple interview that many viewers may have missed while preparing their game-day spread.
The GameStop/Reddit fiasco offers several lessons for communicators. One is that the savvy PR pro pays attention to all platforms and discussions, including those on private message boards, closed Facebook groups, Reddit and Substack and many more. In addition, prepare your executive to offer more than emotion and staid talking points during TV interviews.
Being on camera means so much more than how your executive or spokesperson appears on television. In addition to TV there’s YouTube and live streaming platforms, TikTok and Snapchat and IGTV…we could go on. Because screens are literally everywhere, brand representatives need to learn to embrace the limelight. Whether it be a spokesperson or an influencer, those in positions of power need to be ready to connect with the public.
It’s an axiom of PR and communication that you shouldn’t lie to the media, even during an exit interview. The media often has a way of finding out the truth. When so much of our public life is committed to video, it makes getting away with lying very difficult. And then there are groups who’ll make videos about you.
Fighting against disinformation is an emerging discipline for communicators. If you think of it as the next generation of issues management, it becomes a skill communicators need to learn and study to avoid getting caught up in the quagmire of misleading information. Here are ways communicators can help.
Pivoting is a staple of PR media training. But after the VP debate a few weeks ago, is it still a viable tactic? Does avoiding answering a question still work in this transparent world? Yes and no. (See what we did there?) We asked a group of communicators for their views on pivoting within PR and also in politics. In addition, we asked for best practices. Here’s what they told us.
The first Presidential Debate of 2020 seemed neither presidential nor a debate. In a contentious and interruptive shouting match that resembled an argument between angry old uncles at Thanksgiving dinner, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden offered little to help undecided voters.
PR pros who’ve made the jump from journalism may remember how upsetting it was when a PR pro or corporate executive answered a question with, “No comment.” Veteran PR pro and, yes, former reporter Arthur Solomon offers a bevy of responses communicators and executives can use when they don’t want to comment, but also wish to avoid uttering those damnable words, “No comment.”
We asked veteran PR pro, DC insider and crisis guru Gene Grabowski of kglobal to assess the effectiveness of messages presented at the political conventions. Which speakers (if any) benefitted from the virtual format, seemed genuine, used humor effectively and, most important, persuaded undecided voters to support their candidate?
Should you defer media training owing to the pandemic’s restrictions on travel and social distancing? While it’s a bit trickier during COVID-19, and in-person coaching is best, technology workarounds exist, our author, a former TV journalist, argues.