Richard Brennan

How over-managing your image can misfire in the PR spotlight

by Richard Brennan on May 31, 2013


We’ve all seen it, day in day out, high profile personalities striving to carefully manage their image as they live out their lives under the glare of the public spotlight.

However, there is an extremely fine line to be drawn between successfully preserving a public persona and knowing when to avoid ‘over management’, which can lead to a media backlash.

Take US singer, Beyonce, for example. The global superstar’s image had already taken a hit after it came to light that she had mimed at President Obama’s second inauguration. This revelation was followed by the singer subsequently asking the media not to use any ‘unflattering’ shots that had been taken during her performance.

However, rather than embrace the request, the media responded by reproducing the images that the singer had so desperately wanted to keep out of the public eye.

This, coupled with the decision to ban snappers from her world tour, led to a host of negative coverage. In addition, photographs that had been taken by concert-goers on their mobile phones, were instantly available for all to see after being shared via social media.

Rather than positive coverage of the world tour being generated, the media were provided with the necessary ammunition to run articles with a far from positive news hook. These negative articles were further compounded by being accompanied by grainy, unprofessional images sourced from members of the public – the outcome Beyonce’s PR machine had strived so hard to avoid.

The micro management of this chain of events clearly demonstrates how taking a balanced approach is key to generating positive column inches and achieving good media relations and, no matter how much a story is managed, there is no controlling the headline that the media ultimately have in mind.

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Richard Brennan

This post was written by Richard Brennan

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