I met Jeff recently at a workshop and he was such a dynamic presenter that I signed up for his email news. While I am not a Britney fan at all, Jeff’s PR lesson sure made sense to me.
Oops…She Did It Again!
The Britney Spears comeback on the MTV Awards was a disaster. She appeared lethargic and almost tripped a couple of times. It was just the latest stumble for a pop superstar whose star is falling faster than a meteor. But there is an important PR lesson here that we all can learn from—the danger of surrounding yourself with YES people.
I have to believe that every member of her staff and all the dancers in that routine saw the train wreck coming. They would have known in rehearsal that she was not ready for primetime. They should all be fired for allowing her to take the stage. My best guess is that everyone was too afraid to tell Britney the truth. I see this problem every day in the news business. Most of the stories that are pitched to the media simply are not news but the PR firms are too scared to tell the client that their baby is ugly. I think the job of the PR firm is to help make the baby pretty. Put lipstick on the kid!
The same is true of individuals, businesses and non-profits that are trying to get media attention. You should surround yourself with people who know the news business and who will be honest with you about your story ideas. Britney has clearly cut herself off from anyone who can show her a mirror. Think about all the horrible headlines that the world has seen from Spears in the last few months—bad parenting, in and out of rehab, chopping all her hair off. Believe me; I understand that she appears to be undergoing some kind of personal meltdown. I get it. But what I do not get is how so many people who care about her can allow it to happen.
According to Forbes, her fortune is worth 100-million dollars. I can see it all disappearing. Strictly from a financial standpoint someone has to have the courage to tell her the truth and Britney has to have the courage to listen. The PR takeaway? We all want to hear YES. But if we want to succeed in business, we have to have at least one person in our lives who will tell us when the emperor has no clothes.
Jeff Crilley is an Emmy winning TV reporter and author of Free Publicity, the first PR book ever written by a working journalist. He also speaks at no charge on the subject of media relations. For more info, visit www.jeffcrilley.com