Public relations is all about anticipation and interpretation of public opinions and attitudes that might impact the future of a brand. Ever heard the saying the best defence is a good offense? That applies here. It’s better (and easier) to know a potential crisis is simmering, so that you and your team can try and correct it before it becomes a full blown crisis and you start losing important stakeholders and customers. Take for instance the time someone on Twitter thought that a kettle in a JC Penney advertisement looked like Hitler. At first, JC Penney didn’t respond, not giving much attention to the story. However, after it continued to spread The Telegraph, an online news outlet, picked up the story. If JC Penney had known that the story would grow, it could have released a statement or social media post right away- stopping the story right there.
Working in public relations, you develop what I like to call PR brain. It happens when you find yourself interpreting everything around you in a PR frame of mind. You watch crises develop and fade to the background, trying to analyze how the public is reacting and responding to the spokesperson’s statement. You watch people tear down and build up different social media posts and campaigns, and you see the communications team behind the company’s posts, trying to repair relationships with their stakeholders.
But no matter how you analyze or how you try to interpret, you’ll never find all the information (especially in todays online society), and you won’t have the right tools to properly determine how stakeholders really feel. You could spend forever pouring over media clippings trying to calculate how people will interpret the articles, the comments, the Twitter posts, the Instagram photos- but how can you truly know.
It turns out, Orenda knows. Orenda allows public relations professionals to not only make sure you are finding all of the online information about your brand, but it also interprets the information, in real-time, and presents the information to you in a variety of diagrams, charts and maps. It can tell you if the chatter online “has legs” (potentially leading to a crisis for you brand), or if the comments will die away.
Being ahead of a potential crisis allows you to change the narrative of the conversation- you can change the negative comments into positive publicity. With proper planning and the correct alert system (like Orenda) you can be crisis Jedi master.
However, in saying that, remember you cannot change what you have not measured. In order to ensure that next time will be different you have to gauge the successes and failures of this time. In order to strengthen your brand’s resilience in today’s digital age, you must always be evolving.
Remember Maya Angelou once said, “when you know better, you do better.”
Brenna is a communications advisor at Pure Project Relations. She is a recent graduate of the Bachelor of Public Relations degree at Mount Saint Vincent University.
Pure Project Relations is the PR firm representing Orenda. Check them out here: www.pureprojectrelations.com