I relentless observe my chosen profession with as much or more curiosity than I had in the beginning, oh so many years ago, and while it can all seem a bit like navel-gazing, I learn so much from what others do or do not do around public relations, social media, and corporate communications (more navel-gazing below.)

I am often drawn to the trickier situations, where there is no clear publicity winner or loser, and where there is an equal argument for both sides or approaches. As our nation seemingly becomes more divided, I am especially attuned to the politically tinged digital disasters, as we learn to navigate this new world, where traditional media is under attack, brands are politicized, and consumers can easily jump on a trending boycott with the swipe of a finger. And boy have I have been skewered a couple of times for even asking these types of questions (see below)!

For a review of previous Backflips & Bellyflops picks, click hereIf you would like to learn what NOT to do, check out these other posts:


Backflips


I still love my Shaq: When he heard the hospital couldn’t release a 12-year-old because the family’s home couldn’t accommodate the boy, he decided to help… Watch the video here.


More classy sports guys, with Josh Larsen’s apology:


Another nice guy apology: Meet Carson King, the ‘Iowa Legend’ who’s raised more than $1 million for charity off of a sign asking for beer money

Read a review of previous Backflips & Bellyflops picks.


Bellyflops


I think the University of Missouri’s athletic department was trying to do something nice, but, oops!

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CVS employees don’t know that Puerto Rico is a US territory…

Airbnb had a really hard week…

Business consultant posting rude racist pictures of a recently deceased elected official as a joke.


It’s the details:

 


Everything is still bad for us:

95% of tested baby foods in the US contain toxic metals, report says

People are still jerks:

When you judge others, it gives people a license to judge you. ~ Inc.com

Sara Christensen, the CEO and founder of Kickass Masterminds did not respond to BuzzFeed News’ requests for comment. On Medium, she said it was a “human moment” but really it was just a moment of her being a mean girl.

Read a review of previous Backflips & Bellyflops picks.

If you would like to learn what NOT to fail at PR, check out these other posts:


Why Backflips & Bellyflops?

man doing backflipOver on Linkedin, I was included as the top commentator by the Editorial team for my Wayfair post and the implications of their involvement with ICE and the subsequent employee walkout. I ended up deleting about a dozen racist comments and scolding a dozen more people (out of about 100 comments) for being bullies. I thought we could have a branding conversation, but oh no, it hit a lot of nerves – hard!I am often drawn to the trickier situations, where there is no clear publicity winner or loser, and where there is an equal argument for both sides or approaches. As our nation seemingly becomes more divided, I am especially attuned to the politically tinged digital disasters, as we learn to navigate this new world, where traditional media is under attack, brands are politicized, and consumers can easily jump on a trending boycott with the swipe of a finger. And boy have I have been skewered a couple of times for even asking these types of questions!

Viewing the more traditional social media posts, I find the #PRfail to be a daily occurrence with so many companies operating on social media, and clearly so few having an idea as to how to interact with media or the general population. And it’s not just me watching. Media outlets often report on blockbuster PR fails, such as Bulldog Reporter’s recent article, Seven PR nightmares you’ll never believe happened. These are oldies but goodies and you think history won’t repeat itself, but it does. Every. Single. Day.

ScanWhile admittedly, I mostly critique with snarky comments and arm-chair quarterbacking, what I have come to realize is that there is rarely a clear winner or loser in all of this. I long to find a scenario where the situation is black and white and an organization clearly did something wrong. Those are easy to dissect and share lessons about. More and more I find myself commenting that I can see both sides.

I was going to call this column PR Fail Friday (where I tweet a similar list on Fridays under #PRFailFriday), but it’s not only the failures that we need to observe. We have to look at the success and the much more frequent issues that fall somewhere in the middle. So while I intended to show the good and the bad, plainly divided into two categories – backflips for the wins and bellyflops for the losses – many of my examples will be both. Maybe I should call those backflops or bellyflips. Not sure yet, but I will continue to add to this piece with examples and I would love your comments and feedback.