When PR engineers Publicity

The thing about PR is how one pulls it off. The best of the lot do it in a way it isn't noticed for the wrong reasons. Instead is identified with the right ones. For example, the 'Greenfection' (wish they'd found a better word) thing from Tata Steel. Smart idea. After all, when you are into steel, its a good idea to show you care for the environment. Tata Steel's PR gave them great publicity too. The media lapped it up.

This is a contrast to what BP's currently grappling with. An oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico is but a disaster. Publicity-wise too. So what does BP do? It engineers its PR to manage media material online. It does so (alleged) by trying to buy off terms such as 'Oil Spill', 'Deepwater Horizon' and 'Gulf of Mexico', so that when a user types these words into search engines, the results prominently feature a 'sponsored link' to BP’s official page on its response to the spill.

Now that's good idea till publicity takes over. When the media covers this alleged 'buy', what ensues is another publicity disaster. There surely will now be greater outrage. How dare BP try and manipulate what search I for online, people will say.

The lesson here is one of PR & Publicity. Great PR means great Publicity. Tata Steel's shown how. Lousy PR means publicity disasters. BP is the one that's bearing the brunt of the latter.


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