This is a guest post from football fan and PR strategist Dan Farkas.
Insert overblown rage here.
So apparently the referees didn’t have the best effort in Monday night’s game between Seattle and Green Bay. A concoction of blown calls, Twitter, fantasy football implications and real football implications almost blew up the internet, not the mention the inner souls of my friends the Hulse brothers.
This is the typical time of day when everyone vents about the call, makes massive overgeneralizations about how it will change football forever and demands immediate change with catchy hashtags. While the world does that, here are three takeaways from this situation that might change the way we think about public relations and effective communication.
Get it right
There’s a great book I had to read called “Dealing With People You Can’t Stand.” It identifies four “types” of people and explains how those different types of people cause tension. One is“Get the task right.” Regardless of the situation, solve the problem in a way that meets the client’s needs. This easy to write about in a blog. This is hard to do when you care about budgets, project timelines and life outside of work.
Take a look at the social venom coming out Tuesday. It’s all about a results oriented focus on making the correct decision. There’s no talk of referee pension or pace of play. Get the call right. No more. No less.
As we enter an age of greater digital transparency, get it done right is going from nice to necessary. Are you ready to deal with the consequences?
Even if it’s wrong, it’s sometimes right.
The refs got the call wrong on the field. We get it. But NFL replay rules wouldn’t let the replay official overturn the obvious mistake. That doesn’t make sense to me either.
Hmm….that doesn’t make sense. How many times has that been said that about a client or client relationship? While it’s our obligation to try and help clients execute tasks effectively, sometimes getting it done right under has to take place under confusing and uncomfortable parameters. Instead of complaining about the problem, think how we can identify the opportunity to go Tim Gunn on this mess and make it work. If only he could mediate the NFL referee lockout …
We have the power to make it right.
Do we think there’s any coincidence that as officiating complaints have increased, so has the meeting volume to resolve the conflict? Do we think increasing fines toward coaches berating officials has anything to do with discontent over the situation as the league tries to embrace a one-voice tone for its crisis? And could Green Bay’s offense have bothered to protect Aaron Rodgers a little bit more so the final play wouldn’t have impacted the game? At least Rodgers has a discount double check.
The beauty of social media is the display of raw emotion to life events in a flattened way that reaches influencers. The NHL changed rules on the fly to appease fan angst. Other organizations, in and out of sports, can do the same if the message is thoughtful enough.
I feel bad the refs on the field blew the call. The buzz from this event will dissipate. The potential coming from it can last far longer. Now if the Hulse brothers would ever return my calls….
Dan Farkas is an Instructor of Strategic Communication at Ohio University. You can follow him on Twitter @danfarkas, connect with him on LinkedIn or catch him at the Columbus Zoo as he tries to chase down his daughter Leah.