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United’s PR Has Been Grounded (Sorry, “Re-Accommodated”)

Re-accommodate?

That word should be discussed in every communications class in every college this week. Everybody has seen the shocking video of a passenger, who bought a ticket like you and I would for a flight, aggressively and violently removed from his seat on a United Airlines flight while preparing to take off from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to make room for a United Airlines employee. However, what was almost equally as disturbing as the incident was the response from United Airlines. Among the many curious phrases used, the one that elevated above the rest was “re-accommodate.”

That tone-deaf sentiment, rightly so, sent people’s reactions to this situation to levels of anger they didn’t imagine was even possible.

Re-accommodate!

Once again, a leader of a major institution proves to be detached from reality. Many have said that major institutions are failing. False. People leading major institutions are failing. Institutions have always existed and will always exist in some form or another. Institutions are constants. People are the variables. And United Airlines CEO Oscar Muñoz (and his PR team) are the latest examples of this modern societal problem. What’s more is that people in high positions of authority don’t seem to realize that while their power may remain above ours, the checks and balances on them, through social media and major influencers on TV, is flatter than its ever been.

The outrage from the United Airlines disgraceful act of aggression is actually an extension of the populist rage engulfing the world. No, this populist anger is not directly tied to anything Donald Trump or Nigel Farage. Instead, this populist anger rises above to something very non-partisan. People in all ideological corners are beyond exhausted with leaders in high authority not listening to them, being tone-deaf and, quite frankly, reacting with no elementary sense of right and wrong.

The crisis management by United Airlines perfectly illustrated how everyone (yes, everyone) is fed up with this lack of responsibility nonsense.

Look at that, United Airlines united us after all.

You tell me who won the PR battle here: United Airlines or Jimmy Kimmel/America?

‘One More Thing’ with PR

SteveJobsArt

(Evigshed Magazine)

Every story has a beginning, middle and an end…

with twists, turns and surprises.

Distinguishing quality between firms/brands (ie- the grocery shelf test) is found on or between known and new. And working with media/journalists is a key dynamic in this task. Perhaps the most critical (and subtle) strategy in working with this relentless force of inquiry is knowing what the fourth estate wants to know and focus on.

One of the ultimate goals of a PR campaign is for its audience to ask about the company and/or products. The media is no different. Instead of focusing exclusively on responses one news release at a time, crafting an interweaving arc for the company sparks next-level intrigue.

Stories are what people want. They want it with their investments, their favorite consumer brands, charities, business partners, celebrities, television shows and movies, books, friends and family.

People read words and financial statements, but they connect with stories. And when this happens, the firm becomes more than a company and the governing philosophy reinforces the balance sheets. The firm transforms into an extension of the customer. Media/journalists want to invest their time in a Steve Jobs and Apple, reporting on the successes and failures alike with curiosity about what will happen next through an optimistic lens.

Steve Jobs > Steve Wozniak in the public eye because his personal journey of ultimately “playing the orchestra” with a hungry and foolish imagination is relatable and inspiring to people.

Strategically developing, promoting, and aggrandizing clients in a variety of ways in the PR universe is a tough, yet highly-rewarding venture. And elevating a company above its competition, in part, requires eye-catching opening statements to the media and the public.

Like a headline.