How not to deal with a PR crisis

As some of you know already, I spent a couple of months working on CEO reputation focusing on crisis situations. I have been digging into case studies, news, videos of press conferences with the mission of getting an insight into successful behaviour. Today I am writing about Ryanair, which has lately been notorious with issues around customer service, pilot’s strike and cancelled flights. I wonder why it is so hard to do the right thing for a major business like Ryanair.


Recently with the scandal arising from an alleged racist abuse video which went viral, the company is again in the spotlight. To highlight the nature of the crisis, it is worth mentioning that the video has been watched by 1.5 million views. Why is Ryanair finding it so difficult to overcome this crisis? Well, in my opinion the first issue surrounds the lack of reaction from Michael O’Leary – the CEO. In such situations, the media would expect the CEO to show greater visibility and strong leadership.

A crisis is an unpredicted event with potentially negative consequences. I am saying potentially because if the company act accordingly and provide enough information to keep the journalists satisfied, the damage will be limited. From what we can see so far, Ryanair failed to handle the situation as it was taking place, which effective staff training could have prevented, and afterwards handling the coverage in the media with an adequate response, especially from the CEO, which could have prevented the crisis from escalating further.

The airline response was ‘We are aware of this video and have reported this matter to Essex Police’ on their twitter feed and “as this is now a police matter, we cannot comment further” in response to media enquiries. Seriously? This statement reminds me of a priceless insight which I learned while conducting the interviews for my MA dissertation. Dave Mason and Paul Blanchard were sharing the opinion that the CEO must listen to the legal department and the Communications team at equal measure. Probably some of you may think this is not the best way of dealing with such situations because a legal enquiry could have a huge financial impact, while the bad reputation cannot be measured. Well, a company should spend great amounts of money for rebranding if reputation is inevitably lost. Even more, all those passengers affected by the CEO’s behaviour might refuse to buy tickets and the impact of this could be measured.

I am a big fan of low-cost companies myself as they give opportunities to travel at a  reasonable cost. Personally, I have never flown with Ryanair. But we are organising our next year’s holiday right now and it appears that Ryanair can be a very suitable choice for us. However, I will think twice before spending a penny with Ryanair and I bet there are plenty of people who think exactly like me. Like every other human being I genuinely expect and enjoy being showed empathy when needed, which we didn’t see in this case. However, improvements can be made with the right strategy, along with effective action from the CEO. So I am looking forward to how this will pan out.

Key recommendations for the CEO:

  • To be more visible.
  • To show empathy.
  • To improve staff training in such cases.

Thanks for reading my blog! Please let me know what are your thoughts and suggestions.

The pros and cons of Facebook advertising 2018

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You may have noticed within the last year that the organic reach of your marketing campaigns and your target audience throughout Facebook has decreased dramatically. More creative ways are needed to reach these audiences and remind them about your business. Facebook adverts have the potential to serve as an essential tool for your communication campaigns.

Here are a few positives and negatives related to paid adverts in Facebook. It is worth considering these points as part of your communications strategy.


  • Facebook has a global 2.23 billion users according to the latest statistics.
  • Facebook allows you to target people specifically based on their age, gender, location, interests and connections.
  • Additionally, this is great way of measuring your results using the analytics directly from the social media platform – which is easy and accurate. You can track the type of reach from you audience, whether it is organic or paid. Using this method, you can develop the advertising into a comparative (A/B testing) process in terms of finding what works best for your campaign.
  • The crucial benefit Facebook has is the cost of advertising. The large amount of people that could be reached for as little as £20 is something that will amaze you. The required budget for advertising starts from £1 per day.


  • As Facebook is a social network, it cannot be successfully used for B2B, unless you are reaching small business owners. However, it could be a highly successful tool for B2C.
  • There is a limited number of characters that can be used in the advert- up to 90.
  • The conversion rate might be low- your advert might be seen by fake profiles.
  • It is hard to stand out amongst the rest of businesses who are also using Facebook ads as it is highly competitive.

From my personal experience I can state that Facebook advertising is worth using as a part of multichannel campaign as long as your business is B2C or you are dealing with small businesses. However, you have to consider your goals and what you wish to achieve from the campaign. Setting up goals and objectives helps figuring out the right strategies for advertising. Then, you need to think about which platform will be the best for your business, considering also your target audience. For example, if your business is dependent on creating eye catching photographs (small businesses such as photographers, beauty salon owners, restaurants), then probably you will be more successful in using Instagram as a prioritised social media.

Thank you for reading my blog!


Edward Bernays- The Father of PR

Today I have decided to write about the person considered to be the most important in the history of communications – the father of Public Relations. Some of you might be interested in the history of the subject and curious about why PR came to be known as PR, and why a different expression, such as Press Professional did not become the widely accepted form of expression. Let’s take a deeper look at these questions.

Edward Bernays and ‘’Torches of Freedom’’

bernaysEdward Bernays (22 November 1891 – 9 March 1995) was involved with several campaigns that remain memorable and worthy of discussion even decades later. He successfully blended advertising with political campaigns to create ‘’Torches of freedom’’, widely regarded as his most famous advertising campaign. This was way back in 1929 when he became aware of the fact that an idea was needed, which would have the power to influence public perceptions. This was the era of suffragettes and women’s rights movement. Women were demanding equal rights in society and wanting to be seen as independent beings just as capable as men. Bernays cleverly utilised the general public mood of the period and he convinced women to smoke. The simple act of smoking would project the idea of freedom being expressed through the simple act of smoking. He organised a parade with beautiful ladies smoking cigarettes. The parade implied empowerment and emancipation. Overall, he was excellent at manufacturing consent, changing people’s opinions and perceptions of a subject.

How was he able to do this? Well, here I need to mention one very interesting fact about him – he was the nephew of renowned psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. To be able to create such a campaign using propaganda, you need to understand people in ways that goes much deeper than a friend understanding a friend. He used his uncle’s famous psychoanalysis theories and he was convinced that to make people act irrationally, you have to create an emotional connection between them and a product. The same way he connected the women’s empowerment with cigarettes. And of course, he succeeded – smoking was considered fashionable among the ladies.

Propaganda vs PR

In terms of its meaning, propaganda was at the receiving end of much negative coverage especially in reference to how the term was used by the German Nazi regime during the Second World War. Bernays coined the term Public Relations as there was a need for something rather more sophisticated, something appropriate for post-war use, untarnished by connections to right-wing politics.

Nowadays, PR is still different from propaganda. While propaganda is, according to the dictionary, ‘’information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view’’, PR is, according to PRSA, “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” These definitions developed over time, however, we need to appreciate the fine minds such as Edward Bernays, who created the basic platform and ideas for today’s thousands of PR professionals working globally.

If you want to find out more about Edward Bernays watch The Century of the Self!

Why I chose Cardiff University for my MA in Global Communications

Around September 2016, after spending two years in the UK, I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in PR. Although I had previous marketing experience working in Bulgaria, I didn’t have any relevant qualifications from the UK, which is considered almost essential to get your foot into the industry.

I looked into a few courses, but in my opinion, the tuition fees felt overpriced and it was more reasonable to look into an MA degree. I have always wanted to pursue an MA so the decision and timing felt just right. When I saw the course offered by Cardiff University, ”International PR and Global Communications Management”, I thought this was exactly what I wanted to study. It sounded as if the course would give me the right foundation as well as a global understanding, widening my knowledge of communications. Continuing with the research, I even found out that the Cardiff University course had a very good reputation within this subject area. Towards the end of my program, I found out that the university is part of the Russell Group Universities. I really wish that I came across a blog appraising the course like the one I have written here when I was trying to decide on the course! After having that amazing year at Cardiff University, I know my choice was right.

My research


As an international student with no friends studying in the UK who might have been able to advise me about Cardiff, I simply had to do my own research. I spent around a week having an extensive look at all the different rankings, fees, locations and what the universities could offer. In the end, there were a few factors that made me choose Cardiff University.

  1. The University was ranked first for Journalism, Publishing and PR by The Guardian.
  2. Cardiff has an excellent reputation as a friendly, international and vibrant city.
  3. As far as I am aware, this is the only ‘’international’’ course within the communications field.
  4. Cardiff University is part of the Russel Group Universities.
  5. As the course is international, it offers opportunities for widening cultural perspectives. (My course group was formed of 70 people from 22 countries)

Application process

I applied in January 2017 for the program starting on September 2017. A few weeks later, I received a conditional offer as I needed to comply an IELTS test with at least 7 overalls. There is also a University run ten-week pre-sessional English course that is available for students who reach 6.5 on their IELTS exam. Then, I prepared myself for the English exam studying for three months. I attended in July and received 7.5 the first time, which to be honest saved a lot of time, stress and money. I was happily waiting for the course to start.


The course

The course, for me, was an exciting mixture of theory and practice. After building up your knowledge base in the first semester, you will start sweating during the second one as the real-time practice begins. For sure, in the end, you will be able to work with a variety of software/tools and have the in-depth knowledge to research, design a poster or manage social media accounts. Also, you will be aware of creating and implementing a communication strategy. Based on my own experience, I can confirm that this will give you the confidence you need for starting your first job. The academic team will make you think differently, which nowadays is very much a requirement in the professional world.


My fiancé and I moved to Newport, South Wales on 25th September. Cardiff University is only a 15-20 minutes train journey from Newport, but I recommend that you live in Cardiff. We rented a house in Newport because he started work in the city and it was also relatively close to Cardiff. During the year I was travelling by car, train or bus, whichever suited me best for my day’s schedule. I know that there are great student accommodations in Cardiff. While I don’t have the experience of living in student accommodations personally, I visited a few of my colleagues living in their studios or rooms and they looked amazing, comfortable, and with great locations near to the shops and the university. To find out more please visit here.

Hope you enjoyed reading my blog!

Why businesses need CSR (corporate social responsibility)?

Although corporate organisations do not represent the government of a country and cannot act on its behalf, they are powerful, and can make a significant difference in society using CSR as a tool. Whether it is a campaign for fighting hunger or saving the whales – every large movement started with a single step. CSR can also help a company to expand in the long-term with no loss of focus on short-term important matters such as its market valuation. These sorts of programmes allow customers to feel as a partner in the act of purchase and their attachment to a particular cause. Undoubtedly, these days, more attention is paid by the public than before on the morality of firms and their desire to support causes. The organisations who can demonstrate that they care about people and the planet, are likely to have a greater chance of success in their fields of business.


Simply defined, CSR is an organization’s responsibility to society. It is important to explain that philanthropy is very different from CSR in terms of responsibility. Philanthropy is a voluntary act of charity and it is not connected to the needs of society. I would now like to discuss the benefits of CSR’.

Therefore, at first, a social problem needs to be identified by a company willing to help and engage in CSR. But why do businesses need to create these CSR programs? What are the benefits?

In order to be a good corporate citizen and to build or maintain current reputation, an organization should strive to work as transparently as possible to develop successful CSR programmes. This is the main requirement for a sustainability-focused business model.

Some of the other many benefits I can list here are great reputation, increased brand recognition and customer loyalty. A CSR programme is a great way to stand out among your competitors, prove your transparency and build or increase the trust in your brand!