The Table. You know the one in the boardroom or the CEO’s office. Yes, that table. With the recent situations regarding the iPad launch and the Toyota recall, I wonder if a PR pro was sitting at The Table. I’m not one to play Monday morning quarterback because that’s too easy. Frankly, I find it annoying and disrespectful to peers in the field. But I was left wondering. There are many functions a PR pro performs, but being the organization’s conscience is one of the most important. Sometimes you have to be that nagging little voice in the back of the head raising “what ifs.” I often joke that during good times I’m an Accredited Pain in Rear for always striving to be the conscience in the room. On the flipside, during bad times I’m an Accredited Problem Resolver. It isn’t the best part to play, but it is necessary in order for solid decisions to be made.  And that’s only if you’re given the opportunity to sit at The Table and are listened to.
I don’t know if there was a PR Pro at the table discussing the launch of the iPad. The initial buzz was great about the iPad then when it was launched the discussion of the name took over. I can’t say I know much about the actual product (and I’m an avid Apple user), but the Twitter hashtag “#tampon” keeps flashing in my mind. That’s said, I think Apple could launch a product called iTurd and it would a raging success. A PR pro could have provided feedback as to how the name of the new product could be problematic and take away from the actual product during the launch planning sessions while giving solutions. The situation of Toyota having to recall cars was very embarrassing for a brand that prides itself on outstanding quality and customer care. There response was slow as if there was denial transforming a bruise into a huge reputation welt. A PR pro sitting at The Table could have advised others on the leadership about possible reactions/fallout and guided them into an efficient response. As a total aside, I would have thought their crisis communications plan would have outlined a plan-of-action when a recall happens. Any way…
I don’t know if there were any PR Pros sitting at The Table or if they were listened to when they gave “what ifs.” It is a fight to get to The Table. I know that. You get there by being a smart, proactive, personable, honest, and giving the full picture no matter how unpopular it maybe. I was very lucky in my last position that the CEO valued my well-thought-out insights. I sat at The Table as an adult not a child. I was seen and heard.

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