Carefully Crafted on February 09

In PR, Always Have a Plan B

In PR, we may plan and plan and plan, but there’s no guarantee that everything will actually go according to plan. It’s during these challenging times that we really earn our keep.

What do you do when Plan A crumbles? I’m going to share a few examples/learning moments and then I want to hear from you!

I used to work for an agency that coordinated a lot of townhall meetings. Once, my boss was setting up the projector and laptop and — disaster of disasters — the laptop died. No picture. Nothing. Nada. But, he was prepared. In his car, he carried a backup laptop … just in case something like this would ever happen. Teachable moment for me: Always be prepared.

At that same agency, we managed a lot of corporate event planning for clients. The head event planner at the agency created an “Oh $h*t” box (as they lovingly referred to it), filled with extra supplies — everything from tape and extra nametags … to sewing kits and the always reliable duct tape. If disaster appeared ready to strike, odds are the fix was in the box.

Last night, I was working with a client to host a live UStream show. But, there was a glitch in the broadcast. It was crunch time and we needed a workable alternative. So, we decided to host an impromptu Twitter and Facebook chat. We invited people to send us their questions via those two networks and we posted answers right away. It wasn’t as interactive as the Ustream show, but it was definitely better than canceling the online event. Plus, I had my trusty FlipCam with me, so we recorded my client answering more than a dozen questions, and we’re going to create a video of some of the Q&As so people can get the information, even if they weren’t part of the Facebook and Twitter conversations. Teachable moment: Have a “next best option” plan in place. And, never leave home without a Flip Cam.

So, the moral of the lesson? Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. Always have a Plan B (and in some cases a Plan C). Thinking on our feet … thriving under pressure — that’s when PR people really demonstrate their value to clients.

Your turn. Share a situation in the comments when you had to turn on a dime and go from Plan A to Plan  B. What happened? How did you recover?

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