The senior internal PR person is one of the most important leaders within an organization -- not just because of his impact on company strategy, but because of his relationships and frequent contact with the news media.
The media uses your company's spokesperson as a gauge for how things are going for you. Is the spokesperson happy? Then maybe X Corp. is a fun place to work. Is your spokesperson passionate? Then maybe X Corp. is driven to achieve its operational objectives. Most reporters don't spend a lot of time poring over your balance sheet; they often start with their right brain -- their intuition -- to sniff out problems at a company.
That's why it's never a good idea to part with your PR exec on bad terms, as the tri-cornered hats at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation obviously have, based on this report in The Daily Press of Newport News, Va.
Reporter Chris Flores apparently tried to reach Tim Andrews, the erstwhile PR chief for Colonial Williamsburg, on the phone, then discovered his contact info was missing from the organization's Web site. He even tried to find Andrews by going to his home, to no avail. Making matters worse, no one else at Colonial Williamsburg would return his calls, either.
Well, it's too late now, but if you're curious -- here's what I would do if I were wearing the tri-cornered hat:
1. Give Andrews a nice severance package to make him happy -- even if the departure was voluntary. The severance agreement would contain the terms of a smooth transition.
2. These terms might include, for example, friendly calls from Andrews to his key media contacts to inform them of the change, followed by a press release that hails Andrews' contributions as it introduces his successor.
That would have worked a little better than having Chris Flores at your ex-PR man's front door. Now everyone looks silly, and if I were Flores, my next question would be, "I wonder what other funny stuff is going at Colonial Williamsburg?"
Trust expert Scott Baradell is CEO and founder of Idea Grove. Idea Grove helps its clients secure trust at scale through its unique Grow With TRUST approach. Scott is an established authority on trust and editor of the online publication Trust Signals, as well as author of the upcoming book Trust Signals: Brand Building in a Post-Truth World. Idea Grove celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2020, earning honors including the 2020 Pegasus Award for Small Agency of the Year, being named a Top 200 B2B service provider by Clutch, and ranking in the top 25 tech agencies in the U.S. by O'Dwyer's. Scott has an Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) from the Public Relations Society of America and speaks on PR and marketing topics at industry events nationwide.