Does nasty public relations pay?

 profits seem to indicate the low-cost airline’s aggressive public relations strategy pursued by boss Michael O’Leary isn’t affecting the business.  But you have to wonder how long treating your stakeholders – including government – with contempt can work. 

At present customers seem to put up with tactics designed to put the convenience of the airline first, and them last.  For example, baggage charges have, according to the airline, cut the number of passengers checking in luggage – which has reduced baggage handling costs and increased income. 

In contrast oil giant, has reported a fall in profits – as a result of criticisms of its operational strategies.  This is despite the focus on corporate social responsibility and the positive high profile of Lord Browne (who announced last month he will retire at the end of July, 18 months earlier than originally planned).

In the case of BP, one could suppose safety seems to have been compromised and no amount of good citizenship initiatives can counter that.  Whilst for Ryanair, provided the penny-pinching doesn’t affect safety, profits are likely to continue.

However, although you might get away with being rude and obnoxious when things are going well for you, the good times don’t always last and those you’ve irritated on the way up, will be waiting on the way down.  Whereas, building strong relationships helps you through the bad times, where the goodwill you’ve gained delivers dividends.

discussed an “emotional bank account” in his e book – which is defined as:

the amount of trust that’s been built up in a relationship

My preferred public relations strategy is to ensure you don’t get into a trust deficit and invest time and courtesy in the relationships that matter.

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.

One thought on “Does nasty public relations pay?”

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