This is the blog of Ant Miller, senior research manager and dilettante geek at large at the BBC.
I wail moan and cuss about the challenges and fun to be found here.
These are my personal opinions, and not those of my employer. Or anyone else here for that matter.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A few good men: Why too small a PR team is worse than no PR team (but a proper sized one is best)

Just a very quick note to articulate a thought that has weighed heavily on me and others I work with lately.  In the field of corporate communications, a small team and be worse than no team at all, and that's no reflection on the people on that team.  A too small team for corporate comms can never get to grips with the whole brief- all the activities and actions buzz along below the radar, and only crises that rise above a threshold can be dealt with.  Note that crossing the threshold doesn't mean anything has gone wrong- just that the situation has become big enough to demand attention.  However, at that stage the team will have no background, and probably only the blast of the last crisis ringing in their ears, so they immediately pounce in a negative controlling but woefully under-informed manner upon the situation.  The reaction of first resort is to clamp down, to stifle and to kill any story.
Naturally enough the reaction from the footsloggers in the trenches who've been working on this for weeks if not months is to be upset, in fact downright pissed off.  Months of planning, weeks of effort, good relationships built without the support of 'professional PR' are dashed.  It may well be that the message has been passed up to PR over the preceding weeks, possibly in some detail, but they have been to busy to read or even note it, and actually, that's perfectly reasonable of them.
The upshot- PR deliver nightmare drivebys of negativity, broken relationships and trashed plans, and the rest of the organisation tells them less and less in the hope to keep their size nine party pooping boots at bay.  This is a situation where nobody is doing anything less than their professional best, but the organisation is built to fail.
If you work in a place where things have got to this state take a moment to recognise that the people in PR (or vice versa who work in the org where you do PR) are actually trying hard to do their jobs well.

Then find the fucktard that thought this was a sustainable way to do business and string them up by piano wire from the nearest lamp post.