Perfect PR by a 'little girl' called Dasha

Mon, Jan 25 2016

Some might say that good PR is like good tennis; you need to know when to use a bit of spin to get the results you want. But that's just press agentry. Really holistic Public Relations helps create authentic, accountable, ongoing relationships that are assisted by authentic, accountable and ongoing communications.

And that's exactly what Daria Gavrilova served up after fessing up to her less-than-mature behaviour, which caused a fourth-round meltdown at the Aussie Tennis Open. Frustrated with her team, her shot choices and the emotional responses which drove some childish 'act out' behaviours, Dasha showed a deft touch for PR that many of her male sports counterparts could study to learn the art of the PR apology.

We can analyse Daria's media response to find keys to help brands, departments, political parties or sports clubs make more effective/winning PR apologies:

D: "Yeah, it wasn't great and I'm very disappointed with myself. I was being a little girl..."

(She acknowledges how it looked to others, takes RESPONSIBILITY, expresses her emotion relating to the incident then refers - in plain-speak - to her own embarrassment over the childishness).

D: "I've never played that deep in a grand slam, so maybe that's why." (She shows good awareness of what was going on for her feelings at the time of the incident - suggesting she was out of her depth - so she's brave enough to reveal her humanity and vulnerability. Phrases like 'overcook it'. 'spoiled brat' and 'emotionally fried' paint a very relate-able picture of her inner state when she made her REGRETTABLE behavioral choices).

D: "I was terrible." (Squarely shouldering the blame, the young PR maestro concludes by affirming HER "bad", with the coup de gras showing how she plans to pursue REMEDIAL ACTION by saying..."But the behaviour, I've just got to learn from it."

In over 30 years working in PR and reputation management, I know that no brand - celebrity, corporate or political - can do the right thing 100% of the time. But faced with crisis, the brands with enough self-awareness to accept their wrongs, communicate directly about them and show willingness to repair any damage or flaws are the ones that win out in the end.

Advantage, Miss Gavrilova.

Author: Gerry McCusker, Engage ORM. Gerry recently presented a very popular segment of the PRIA Summer Masterclass in Melbourne last week. 

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