Wednesday, April 25, 2012

PR in the thick of it

If there was any doubt about the value of public relations, or that PR is just as much a part of a company's or organization's DNA as, say, bookkeeping, a handful of stories today should further push those questions away.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are undergoing a major ownership change.  Fans are slowing coming back after the outgoing owner alienated a large sector of (former) ticket holders.  More needs to be done to "welcome" fans back and return the good feelings they once had about their home team and coming to the stadium.  Sure, a league-leading record is helping.  But as a Los Angeles Times sports reporter points out, the Dodger's in-house PR folks need to develop and implement more strategies and tactics to create better relationships between fans and team.

What's at stake?  Nothing less than the bottom line. 

It is through these professionally trained and experienced PR managers - and, we hope, with the blessing of executive management - that a series of well-planned and, possibly, well-researched steps will occur to build trust, creative positive impressions and rebuild the reputation of one of the more storied franchises in the country. 

These are carefully planned steps to build confidence and respect. This is not fluff.  These are not empty attempts to "spin" a story. 

(Note: Various PR pros, both in-house and with outside agencies, have worked with the Dodgers over the years.  The outgoing owner received some great advice, but many times chose to ignore it.  Given the legal and other issues that beset the former owner, it's hard to tell whether any amount of strategic PR counsel would have made a difference.  But, now, reputation building is front and center - and this is certainly a job best suited for professional public relations.)

The other stories involve battles between Southern California water agencies - and public relations strategies are part of the mix (for good or bad).  See stories and news releases here, here and here.

Similar to how political campaigns have recognized the advantages of social media and online news, a handful of water agencies have created websites and written letters to the editor to launch salvos at one another. 

Again, public relations strategies and tactics are considered an important component - because all seem focused on winning over the public to "their side."