"Public relations is essentially about developing and maintaining structured communications with stakeholders important to a business or organisation's operational and financial performance so they continue to support the business in their own ways."
If you watched Close Up last night you’ll know all about the problems encountered by wheelchair-bound Tanya Black and Dan Buckingham in trying to take a Jetstar flight to the Capital.
You see, Tanya and Dan ended up ditching their tickets and flying hassle-free with Air NZ.
There are many aspects of this episode that deserve scrutiny, from staff training to the airline policies, but we think there’s one lesson that can be quickly learned by any aspiring spokesperson.
Jetstar’s CEO David Hall fronted up to the programme, but despite his litany of "unreserved and absolute” apologies and admissions that his airline did not get it right, he failed to stem the flow of damage to the Jetstar brand. How come?
Although having pretty much all day to work through with his advisor(s) how this might best be dealt with, he came on Close Up in promotional-mode, when the situation required humility.
How much of a difference it would have made had Hall referred to Tanya and Dan by name and apologised to each as individuals, rather than referring to them as "those passengers”.
How much of a difference it would have made if he started the interview the way it ended by saying: "where we fail, I take personal responsibility”. Unfortunately by this stage, judging by social media postings, viewers were totally enraged by his wooden performance.
Television is an emotional medium, and in issues such as this, spokespeople have to respond emotionally, rather than as a defensive talking head.
Frankly when two people are treated the way Tanya and Dan were by Jetstar, most of us are not remotely interested in Jetstar’s messages about their "absolute commitment to providing low fares, all-day, hassle-free travel for all our passengers, including those with wheelchairs”.
We want to see genuine humility, but apparently, Jetstar doesn’t "do” humility. Cheap and nasty are what people are saying.
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