We once had an aggressive, new biz-focused account person who was constantly cold calling companies. One day, she cold called David Neeleman, the now beleagured CEO of JetBlue. And, she actually got through, only to be told by the uber successful chief executive: "We don’t need outside PR counsel. Never did. Never will."
Fast forward to the cover story in yesterday’s Times. I’d bet my bottom dollar Mr. Neeleman is now paying some PR shop hundreds of thousands in crisis communications fees to help him try and save his company’s battered image and reputation.
Might a prior invesment in external PR have helped last week’s disaster and its reputation aftermath? Maybe. Maybe not. One thing’s for sure, though, an external PR firm would have media trained Mr. Neeleman and schooled him on what promises to make and when. Right now, his credibility, and that of his airline, is in a death spiral, all because of horrific performance and broken promises.
So, here’s hoping Neeleman can fix his current mess (and maybe be more open to assistance from public relations counsel in the future).