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Kensington & Chelsea  council faced a PR disaster following negative publicity and criticism widely across the UK due to its handling of the Grenville Tower disaster.  They were criticised for their lack of transparency, accused of lack of empathy for the community and almost three months after the fire, the council is still dealing with negative publicity.

It is fair to say, the scale of the media crisis is something the council and its communications department could not have foreseen and were unprepared to deal with.

Three years previously on 9 August, 2014, another local authority across the pond in Ferguson, USA, found itself dealing with similar negative media onslaught, when widespread unrest broke out across the city.  This followed the shooting of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a white police officer.

The shooting led to weeks of riots across the City as well as in other parts of US.  The civil unrest went on to be the catalyst for the Black Lives Matter campaign which also sparked demonstrations around the world including the UK.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting and subsequent protests, Ferguson officials hired two PR agencies to help the city with media relations. The first firm left the account after criticism surfaced that an all-white team staffed the office.  After the second PR agency resigned, following a number of allegations, in stepped Johnny Little of eLittle Communications Group and his team.

Less than 24 hours of the grand jury’s decision to free the police officer, Little and his team started their efforts to rebuild public relations in Ferguson.

PR crisis does not need to be on a major scale like Grenfell or Ferguson, today, with the popularity of social media, it only takes one post to go viral before you could be facing a PR disaster.

Join our free webinar on 7 September, 8:00pm London time, when we’ll be joined by Johnny Little. He’ll  share his experience and give his advice on how to handle a crisis.  Book Now, it’s FREE.