The recent public relations catastrophe, which took place aboard a Carnival cruise ship should have been a wakeup call for many brands – not just those in the public relations world. From social media sites to news programs, the events concerning and leading up to this public relations nightmare was broadcast at full throttle.

Power of Social Media

As the three tugboats towed the disabled cruise ship, tweets, photos and other damaging information was appearing all over the media. In fact, many of the networks were actually getting their news sources directly from actual users aboard the ship via mobile messaging and videos. The losses for the Carnival cruise ship company were huge financially, and also publicly. Most of us are well aware that negative news or events actually spread strenuously swifter than that of positive information. This is even more accurate and truer these days where most of the world is constantly connected with each other via various mobile devices.

Lessons Learned

So, what lessons have those of us in the Public Relations and marketing world learned from all this? For one, we have learned that when disasters and/or calamity happen, they can spread via social media and Internet instantly these days. We have also ascertained that unflattering and prejudicial information is extremely problematic to contain or disseminate once it goes viral.

Protect and Serve

Nevertheless, negative news can bring out the best in a great PR firm working to defuse the unfavorable image of its client(s). In the same manner that a mother would defend her child to the bitter end against any aggression or threat, so will great PR firms do the same for the image, brand or person it is representing. The catchphrase from an old ad campaign which stated “If you don’t look good, we don’t look good” is one that needs to be taken to heart by every PR firm working to rectify, save and maintain the perfect image of those it has been hired to protect and serve. Moreover, these two words ‘serve & protect’ are ones that need to be embraced and indoctrinated into a PR firm’s basis of conduct or management when it comes to a client.