When your PRO becomes the story

Reputation management, whether for a large conglomerate, an SME, a charity or an individual is an ongoing job. So what happens when the Public Relations Officer you trust to do that job becomes the story themselves?

On a professional level, our role is all about promoting the client, managing their reputation and looking down the line for risks and opportunities, then devising a communications strategy fit for purpose. Having worked in the industry for over 30 years I believe this involves a skillset that requires a combination of learning, practice and good judgement to acquire.

So it’s not entirely surprising that now ex-White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci had such a quick demise. As a former Wall Street financier, I’ve no doubt he was used to working at the highest levels of negotiation and deal making. However satisfying an already sometimes hostile media pack is another world entirely.

It is not all about the soundbite, chiselled looks and impeccable dress. It’s what’s on the inside that counts. The ability to see the wider picture, the courage to challenge and test opinions, as well as to advise and direct the messages, might be the less sexy aspects of the job but without them chaos and confusion can take hold.

Not only was Scaramucci fired having had just 10 days in the job, he was also escorted off the premises. Not the kind of news headline anyone wants in this world of 24/7 news, where controlling the message and reputation is sacrosanct.

If reputation matters to you, selecting the right people, knowledgeable, approachable, experienced in all aspect of communication to protect that, is one of the most important and hopefully the best hires you will make.

Elaine McKean is the Managing Director at Indigo