Public relations is tricky. It’s gotten a lot worse over the years too.
With the speed of social sharing these days, it’s a whole lot easier to step on more people’s toes in a shorter amount of time. It’s often humorous to see how a big name brand can do something so inappropriate, offensive, and mindless.
The PR teams are frantically rushing around trying to correct whatever rubbed a few people the wrong way, causing eternal anxiety and stress to those who manage their company’s reputation.
But sometimes, you just need to laugh and own up.
Laughing is Good PR
Brands these days are trying to be even more personal, and they’ll do anything they can to look more like a “friend” to get in your pocket. When they goof up is when it reminds people that they may not necessarily be everyone’s friend. Or even that they are more human since they make mistakes.
What better way to show your “humanness” than to laugh at yourself? (Note: this isn’t always applicable! Don’t laugh if it seriously offends someone.)
But in other ways, certain things you say for your brand or company can and will be taken the wrong way. The Internet will be the Internet and what you say can and will be held against you. This is when you have no other choice than to join in on the jokes.
Prime example? Elon Musk’s latest tweets. Yes, this is a bit inappropriate.
See, Elon was trying to send a message on Twitter about the unveiling of a new Tesla model. Here’s the tweet:
About time to unveil the D and something else pic.twitter.com/qp23yi59i6
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 2, 2014
As you can tell, this can be taken a totally different way if the majority of teenage humored Musk followers join into the conversation. And it was.
.@elonmusk No one wants to see your “D” Elon, gross.
— Megan B-D (@megahbite) October 2, 2014
I don’t really know if Tesla has a PR team, but if they did, they’d probably be thinking, “Shoot.” Elon just messed up the biggest auto unveiling in the 21st century and this thing will forever be recognized as “Elon’s D.” But that’s not what happened. Elon thought it was funny. Nooo biggie!
I love the Internet. Comments had me literally ROFL. No, it wasn’t intentional. Glad I didn’t mention the other letter! — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 2, 2014
Giving Up on PR
PR has gotten so prim and proper that you can hardly say anything unless it has to do with “how cute this cat picture is.”
Learning to laugh at your mistakes or even sharing in the jokes of the way you phrase something can be a valuable asset to your own version of PR: You’re a real person and you make mistakes. What you say might be taken the wrong way.
Laugh along and everyone will share that moment with you.