So the Christmas break is well and truly behind us, everyone’s tree is about to come down this weekend, and we’re all getting back to work. Slowly but surely.
With this in mind it’s a good opportunity to take stock before the relentless schedule of another year in comms fully kicks in, and here at Smoking Gun towers we’ve been thinking about an article in the i, which suggests that despite the huge number of reputation crises from 2017 still weighing heavily on various sectors— including PR itself thanks to the Bell Pottinger debacle— the next 12 months could be some of the most important when it comes to cementing the opinion that public relations is essential.
Put simply, there were plenty of reasons for the public to lose faith in consumerism, businesses and brands in 2017. Uber suffered successive shockers, for example, resulting in the resignation of former-chief executive Travis Kalanick. Poor treatment of staff working in the gig economy as a whole, revelations concerning a sexist corporate culture at the rideshare giant specifically, and controversies surrounding the firm’s impact on black cab and minicab drivers bending just three examples.
Airlines, despite enjoying the safest year on record in terms of incidents and crashes, came a cropper thanks to Ryanair ‘s terrible record within the context of staff. And, of course, entertainment fell foul of us all thanks to the Harvey Weinstein scandal and sexual misconduct in the movie making world. All of which only really scratches the surface.
What this means is there are many, many issues threatening to ruin our collective relationships with goods, services, products and more, but this isn’t the PR nightmare it may initially seem.
After all, great public relations work is as much about coming up striking campaigns and copy as it is trying to combat such scandals, or ideally stop them before they actually happen. As such, some agencies can expect business to boom as this next calendar gets underway, providing integrity and transparency remain the most vital elements in the recovery plan— the only surefire way to avoid making things worse still.