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When Firms Take Too Narrow a Relational Focus
By: Doug Bedell
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A construction equipment website, ConstructionEquipmentGuide.com, has a post that’s highly knowledgeable in PR and crisis communication. It focuses on an explosion and fire that occurred in Morgantown, PA a couple of years ago that wasn’t handled well by the firm involved.

“The point is,” notes Brian M. Fraley, a Construction Equipment Guide blogger, “that this incident and this facility pose a real and present danger to the neighbors. Public relations, when done right, communicates with all of the ‘publics’. That means reaching out to the neighbors to explain within reason why the incident occurred and what contingencies are being implemented to prevent the issue in the future. This is an issue of public safety and common courtesy.”

The firm involved here seemed concerned only with the families of an employee who was killed and others who were injured. A statement by its president included no mention of the company’s nearby neighbors. Yet their safety was jeopardized. 

Common courtesy – yes, never forget that empathy with those most concerned is a cornerstone of effective public relations. 

Photo: The Morgantown fire

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About the Author
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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