Thoughtful argument here by Sally Costerton - a highly experienced corporate communications specialist - on the perils of handling communications for high profile brands, in particular BA.
Much was written about the way BA handled the IT meltdown over the Bank Holiday weekend. From a communications perspective, most of us shook our heads as it seemed to ignore every rule in the crisis communications playbook.
It seemed BA decided to follow Donald Trump's 'communications' approach -- use Twitter to broadcast and all will be well.
Well it wasn't and the absence of a human face, let alone a senior executive, to explain the situation to the news media was inexplicable.
What I like about Sally's post however is the simple fact that in situations like this, it seems communications gets the blame. So while it's easy for me to point a finger at the comms team and to say, they ignored crisis comms 101 is actually unfair.
Sally's point is that you can be sure that the BA comms team was counselling its senior executives on how it should respond. The fact that advice was largely ignored (I'm making an assumption here!) is a tragedy for them and for the brand.
It's in situations like this that the communications team has to have true influence within the organisation. They are the experts in managing events and incidents. They have the experience of the news media. They understand consumer behaviours. Listen to them, invoke agreed and pre-prepared crisis communications plan and lead from the front.
Ignore the advice if you will but like Sally says, don't shoot the messenger when your reputation is in tatters.
Heading communications for the world's leading organisations has always been tough. When it goes well, you're invisible. When it goes badly, it can be career threatening. But too often when organisations face PR disasters, the communciations team gets the blame. It's rarely true. And it's not just unfair - it's bad for corporate governance. Scapegoating the messenger means the real source of the problem often ignored and remains unfixed.