Cantopop singer Leon Lai-ming was forced to call off an April 28 concert in Hong Kong as the marquee that enclosed the venue was deemed to pose fire safety risk.
The cancellation, which came at the last minute, could have spelt very bad news for the pop star and the event organizer had it not been for some deft crisis management.
Making use of a social media platform, Lai quickly released a video in which he apologized to his fans and promised to ensure that the rest of the concerts under the “Leon 30th Anniversary Random Love Songs 4D in Live 2016″ series can be held as scheduled.
Lai’s live video went viral, garnering millions of clicks and drawing more than 20,000 supportive comments from netizens.
The quick response and the sincere apology helped avert a public relations disaster for the Cantopop artist.
While this offers a lesson to others in crisis management, it would however be wrong to assume that being good at playing Facebook is all that it takes to resolve a PR crisis with ease.
With the rise in popularity of social media, information is now being transferred at a rate faster than ever.
Mishandling of an issue related to an individual or a company of public interest would attract critical comments from tens of thousands of people quickly and fuel a PR crisis in no time.
According to a study conducted by the Hong Kong Public Relations Professionals’ Association and Hang Seng Management College, the issue uppermost on the minds of public relations professionals is the development of new media and social media.
And the biggest challenge they perceive is crisis management.
Given this, there is an opportunity for young people seeking careers in related fields.
Courses on corporate communication and public relations should be beefed up at colleges in order to help equip students with the knowledge and skills for the future.
Providing students with courses introducing basic knowledge and techniques for new media and social media are more than sufficient, given that the youth are generally tech-savvy people capable of exploring and mastering new skills and tricks.
What is essential is firing up the passion of the learners with regard to the art of communication and public relations.
Are young people willing to read up on real-life cases during their pastime? Have they ever thought of following the Twitter accounts of renowned PR professionals to get inspiration and new ideas?
And do they think carefully as they skim and scroll through the news feeds on Facebook?
These are some things that the students need to bear in mind if they want to develop new skills.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on May 21.
Translation by Darlie Yiu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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