Disney, Amber Heard can’t wave the magic wand for good PR
The most magical place on Earth can’t wield a magic wand to control the media. Being a rich and powerful celebrity can’t buy you good public relations either.
We’ve seen some turnover in the PR world in recent days. First, Disney parted ways with Geoff Morel, its most senior communications manager, after less than four months of work. Morrell found himself leading the communications strategy during one of Disney’s worst PR nightmares. One of Florida’s largest private employers, Disney has remained silent on the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, prompting a revolt from many employees.
In response, Morrell helped craft a response, which some considered too little too late. The statement, according to CNBC, also played into Morrell’s concern that “potential 2024 presidential candidates Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who … championed the bill, would use Disney as a bag.” strike if the company objects to the bill,” according to CNBC. .
In a letter to his team, Morrell said: “After three months in this new role, it has become clear to me that for a number of reasons this is not the right fit. After talking about it with [Disney CEO] Bob [Chapek], I decided to leave the company to pursue other opportunities. CNBC got the letter.
For those who prefer courtroom drama, actor Johnny Depp spoke on April 19 in his libel lawsuit against ex-wife and actress Amber Heard. Depp took over, controlling much of the narrative surrounding the former couple and blowing up Heard’s domestic violence allegations. a lot about social media supported Depp after hearing his story.
Heard will share her side of things when she speaks this week (May 4), but her frustration is already showing. Heard fired Precision Strategies, his crisis management firm, in response.
Control the message, not the media
The light at world press freedom day tomorrow (May 3), it’s important to note that you can craft and deliver a message, but you can’t control how the media interprets it. That said, when a message is not received as expected, advertisers can be blamed. And even with this unfortunate outcome, it doesn’t necessarily mean the communicator was wrong.
“In the case of Disney or Heard, they’re not happy with what’s happening with the public narrative there, and the communicator basically takes the blame,” says Dan Rene, managing director of kgglobal. “I don’t necessarily think it’s the communicator that fails in this situation. It’s either a policy problem or a message problem.
However, Rene says it’s up to the communicator to find a place at the table with the C-suite to speak when a narrative seems to land the wrong way.
“It’s up to the communicator to say, ‘Well, we can say that, and I’ll walk through the wall for this business. But, you know, if it’s the wrong wall, it won’t make any difference a one way or another.
It is important that PR professionals do their best, no matter the situation. Craft the best message internally and externally, train clients in press management, and teach them how to tell their story well, but few things are 100% guaranteed.
For communicators entering a difficult situation, especially after the ousting of another public relations team, this is an opportunity to offer leadership a new perspective and a new style. Rene says a new PR team can resuscitate an old message or champion a new one, especially if the old guard got too close to a situation.
“You’re the new kid on the block, and that might feel a little awkward…but at the same time, you have the opportunity to go out there and define the message,” Rene says. “You have the opportunity to talk to leaders about changing the message or changing the approach.”
Rene says using a new communication regimen can provide a new perspective and bring a chaotic situation to life.
“Use this whole situation to your advantage to let people know that there is a new way of looking at things, and you don’t need to have the negativity of the unfolding crisis.”