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Misjudging the mood

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In New York about a week after 9/11 a London based business lobby group had an idea. Since the UK, and London specifically, was so used to dealing with terrorism, what with the IRA and all, it plainly had much to teach The Big Apple.

Hacks working in New York for UK papers were contacted. Would we like breakfast/lunch/an interview with the CEO to take notes on her sterling advice?

The reaction of the hacks veered from amusement to anger.

The IRA were a nasty bunch, we agreed, but none of us could recall them hijacking jets and flying them into skyscrapers.

The lobby group meant well. But it misjudged the mood horribly. 9/11 was not a public relations opportunity. Neither is coronavirus.

This is not to say companies should not be telling us what they are doing and why. Of course they should.

But anything that sounds like bragging, like your CEO is a font of wisdom, is highly likely to come across badly.

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