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Good PR is low expectations

No professional field lets people down more than PR and marketing – and the managerial masters it serves.

The problem is a belief that the only way to persuade is to hype the positives, without detail, and never admit weaknesses. So it was a relief to hear admissions that, while Wellington public transport is free for ticket holders to Women’s World Cup games, travelers should expect delays, queues and standing-room only.

Sadly, this deliberately moderate communication to prepare people for a mixed experience came after terrible news stories about frustrated commuters trying to use crowded services.

Prior to the crisis Metlink and others had spent months promoting the service. There were small hints that availability would affect demand. But clearly, these warnings were not strong or prominent enough to prepare people for the experience. This week, after the crisis, the warnings were intensified.

Those strong warnings were needed 24-72 hours ahead of the first games – when people were listening and planning their trips.

This is how organisations and PR let people down and make things worse. If they promised reality, we would all be much happier.

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