This is kind of an incidental posting, but an editorial writer for The Wisconsin State Journal has done PR people a service by reminding us, and our clients, not to get carried away by the fanciful aspects of our causes or corporate ventures. A protest against an iron-mining site on Lake Superior got unnecessarily nasty when both the protesters and the security firm hired to protect the site got engrossed in the self-created "drama" of the scene. The security firm's guards came dressed like commandoes and the protestors laid on raucous profanity, and what did anybody gain from all that? "Yikes. Perhaps it's time for everybody to take a deep breath," said the State Journal's editorial.
Indeed so. We've got relationships to forge and points to make. But that can all be done calmly and quietly in less than provocative attire. "What stoked the bad PR flames was that the security force was wearing camouflage uniforms with masks and toting assault-style weapons, thus looking more like commandos in a South American jungle than ordinary security guards on station in northern Wisconsin," the editorial observed. And "Bulletproof Securities, No Compromise Security Force"? Why would a security firm want to call itself something like that? Security occurs, or should, quietly in the background. Even a desk-bound editorial writer can sense that.
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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