How to pass the PR buck
27th June 2013
I have made some terrible blunders in my time, but I always console myself that no one has got hurt (thank the Lord I’m not a pilot). And my next thought is: who shall I blame?
It’s only fair. After all, clients point the finger at us all the time. Only last week I was congratulating myself on getting a client’s brand mentioned in one of the top trade magazines. But not for long. The client realised that he had given me some wrong data. One that was now in print and also all over the magazine’s website. Of course it wasn’t his fault, it was mine. Why? His reason was that I had acted too quickly, and should have checked and double-checked the facts he’d given me. I have to give full marks for blame avoidance here. He made such a stink about “my” mistake that his boss decided to move the account elsewhere! So we lost a huge piece of business.
feel ashamed. Not about failing to get the facts straight, that happens all the time. But about not having anyone I could pass the buck to. At least this is a rare occurrence. I remember when I worked as a journalist, I filed the wrong copy by mistake. Copy that announced a top award winner before the awards had actually taken place. But it was the sub-editor who got it in the neck. Luckily she’d made quite a few other errors, so everyone believed me when I said I’d made it clear when the publication date was.
So if you want to make sure you stay clean when the shit hits the fan, here are 4 top tips:
- Find a man to blame. Chances are he'll believe he needs to be chivalrous and take the flack. (Don't use this on any hot guys you have designs on though.)
- If it’s a small mistake, put your hand up straight away. This gives the impression that you are an honest person who is happy to confess if they make an error. Then when something terrible happens, they might believe your denials.
- Blame a supplier or a junior. It is wiser to blame someone who is dependent on you than a client. Someone you can afford to get rid of.
- If it is a really big one, you have to lie. There are three rules here. Make it simple, make it convincing and stick to your story no matter what.