After a week in which Rio Olympics diving pool turning green, the Australian Census website crashed and Donald Trump suggested the Second Amendment might provide a way to deal with Hillary Clinton, the Brand Newsroom team takes deep dive into PR disasters.

Here are some key take-outs:

  •  When a PR disaster strikes, take responsibility — don’t obfuscate, indulge in conjecture or go to ground.
  • Keep the public informed. Tell them what you know and what you’re doing to fix it.

“This was so basic it was staggering. It was staggering because everything they were meant to do they didn’t do and everything they did do, they shouldn’t have done. — James on the Australian Census PR disaster


  • PR disasters happen: Have a crisis management plan ready to go.
  • You can lose trust with your public quickly if you do something blatantly wrong.

“Trump’s ratings are plummeting, so it’s no longer just ‘crooked Hillary’ we’re hearing about, it’s ‘crooked media’.” — Sarah on Donald Trump’s Second Amendment comments



  • Be human. Understand what your customer is feeling and not only empathise but show them that you care through your actions. That’s the lesson from last week’s Delta Airlines PR disaster.
  • You have access to your own media platforms, like your website and social media, so communicate directly with your customers through your owned media to make sure your side is out there. Use your leadership team to do it — mainstream media will pick it up.

“You’ve got to take action and you have to deliver (your message) in the way your audience is consuming it, as well. Every leader needs to take responsibility for their communications…because it’s your brand.” — Nic

Here are the links you might need

Have you heard the one about…

Recently James, Sarah and Nic spoke about the art of giving a good presentation…


And here’s a discussion about the communications lessons that can be taken out of Britain’s decision to leave the EU, commonly known as “Brexit”…


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