The Good and the Bad from Today’s PR in Scotland

by Holyrood PR

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Donald Trump's PR in ScotlandThe Good

You can say what you want about Donald Trump and his ridiculous hair, but there’s no denying the man is a bona-fide PR machine when he wants to be.

After being roundly lambasted over the past year for destroying half the Aberdeen coastline to make his exclusive Scottish golf resort, Trump’s reputation has been fairly low in recent months. However, he still finds a way to come up with the goods to keep his name – and his resort – in the media.

This time, The Scotsman has picked up on the latest development to come out of Trump Tower: namely that Donald is thinking about creating his own whisky for the launch of the multi-million pound venture. Alas, we don’t get the confirmation that the Trumpmeister will be distilling the magic liquid like Teuchter moonshine behind the sand dunes on his resort – rather that he’ll be going into partnership with a local distillery to create something “special”.

Considering the negative connotations that the Trump resort tends to conjure up, this whimsical piece of puff is actually something of a PR coup. Not only has it kept the story in the public eye, but it’s also started to change the perception of the venture into a more consumer-y issue, rather than a controversial news piece.

Nicely done Mr Trump.

Lockerbie furore in the TelegraphThe Bad

The Scottish Government could do with some positive PR at the moment, as it seems like the entire world is currently venting its ire at Holyrood.

With the ugly spectre of the Lockerbie bomber release rearing its ugly head once more, we now have David Cameron firing pot shots North of the Border in a barely-veiled “it wasn’t anything to do with me guv. Some bigger boys did it” suck up to US President Barack Obama. Oh, and there’s also the uncomfortable truth that freed Libyan bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi still isn’t dead yet, despite the government’s proclamation during his release that he only had “three months to live”.

Unfortunately there’s not much you can do to avert this kind of bad PR when it happens – except to ride it out until the negative publicity subsides and everyone gets bored. However, it is still a good idea to stick to your guns and stand fast with your decision – and, unfortunately, Kenny McAskill and the other Scott Government bigwigs don’t seem to be following this rule much.  

Reading the papers today, it looks like a big game of pass the buck, with government ministers trying to toady their way out of taking any responsibility, saying that they acted “in good faith” and generally kicking their toys out of the pram. According to the Telegraph, Kenny McAskill has even said that the US is right to direct its fury at Westmintser and BP over the Lockerbie decision – rather than towards Scotland.

As any good PR practitioner will tell you, when you have to limit damage caused by bad PR you have to present a consistent message on all fronts, stand tall against the storm and withstand the blows from the media. Personally, I would have preferred to see the Scottish Government not rising to the bait and steering clear of a slanging match with the UK Government – and instead simply stating that the decision was the right, proper and humane thing to do, and leaving it at that.

Provided ther conspiracy theorists aren’t right – and there aren’t any shady deals being done in the shadows – this would have been a way of at least trying to negate the bad publicity. At the moment, it just looks like a mess.


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