What happens in the locker room, never stays in the locker room
If the recent and very public spat between Red Devils Coach Domenico Tedesco and goalie Thibaut Courtois taught us anything, it’s that what happens in the locker room, never stays in the locker room. The lesson learned is that PR is a team sport, and we all need to pass the ball around.
Let me explain. The PR function can be very rewarding at times, but quite often, it is one of the most undervalued members of any corporate team. When an organization scores, everyone will claim at least part of the success, and celebrate. But when a game is lost, people tend to look for a scapegoat. When a story gets out about the team, and it isn’t pretty, the person in charge of PR is usually the one who takes care of it, if not who takes the blame.
But that is hardly fair. PR is not just waiting for stories to unfold and then deciding whether to get it published or covered up. PR is a team effort, just like football, and every player should participate. If players do not pass the ball around, nothing happens. It is the same with any story that develops about your team or your organization: if your budding successes – or your difficulties – do not get passed around, it’s anyone’s guess how they will end up. It’s as simple as that.
So, what exactly went wrong with the Red Devils? Since many of us were not in the locker room when Courtois and Tedesco discussed the captain’s armband, we can only venture guesses about the details, but one thing is clear: the story did not get passed around enough. Then, who is to blame? No one in particular, and everyone at once.
If a story develops in the locker room, that is where the PR guys and girls should be to help pass it around. But you have to let them in. They can help mitigate, boost or reshape your stories before they culminate in the press. And when a story does get out, regardless of its success, it will reflect on the entire team. Not just on the goalie, or the coach, or the PR guy or girl.