It can take a few days to really understand and reflect on all the great PR stories of 2010. Some of these stories have down right changed the way PR professionals do our job. Communicating with the media has fundamentally changed in the way in which we pitch news stories. Not to mention, in some cases a PR story can go directly into the hands of the consumer without being seen on the 5 p.m. news.
In all, five PR stories stand out in my mind from 2010:
1. Shoutout to Facebook. Here's what happens when a great product gets a good solid PR plan in place. Not only does your product hit 500 million users (likely the most cited/well-known statistic of 2010), but your founder and CEO becomes Time Magazine's "Person of the Year."
2. Oh when the Saints go marching in. Big congratulations to the Saints and their management on a successful run at the Super Bowl in early 2010. The spirit of New Orleans and their team was shown to the world through a 90-minute football game. The positive media coverage almost surpassed the number mentions of Hurricane Katrina.
3. Cecil says show me the $$! It was rather difficult, as a college football fan, to watch an extremely talented player endure the onslaught of media coverage following the news that his father put him up for sale. Heisman trophy winner, for at least the next few months, Cam Newton could be one of the best college players of all-time, but his name will always be followed with "whose Dad wanted $120k for his son to play football." Cam will need his own PR team ahead of the NFL draft to do some much needed image repair. To credit Auburn University though, they did a pretty good job of keeping the media straight that Cam was "not involved."
4. Tiger Woods fails on the golf course and in the press conference. I followed this story from wrecked Cadillac Escalade to Elin's tell all in People Magazine. I won't deny it; I spent 2010 transfixed on this story. Admittedly, I was fascinated with how such a well disciplined golf player could let their personal slice into pieces. Then again, Tiger may fit the profile of a socio-path. At the end of the day, we learned that while your client may think silence and being nonresponsive to the media will make it "go away," in the world of a 24/7 news cycle it most certainly will not!
5. BP oil spill. Not only did 11 people loose their lives, a fact that many failed to report, but BP never gained control of the story. They refused to use social media until @BPOilSpill was finished ruining their brand on Twitter. For any company with a crisis communication plan, please be sure that social media is a part of it NOW!