My family loves basketball. I mean loves it. It seems like everyone in the family has either played or coached the sport, myself included. I didn’t get past the YMCA little league, though. So when March Madness rolls around, it is serious business at the Hoehner household. Unluckily for me, I chose Villanova to win the entire thing this year. I admit, I didn’t do any research when putting my bracket together…unlike my brother.
The “upset” is a magical thing. When the little guy defeats the powerhouse Americans eat it up. I think upsets follow the theme of the American Dream. Anyone can do whatever they put their mind to in this country. The Miracle on Ice and the 2014 Allstate Sugar Bowl (Boomer) are some of my personal favorite upsets. I love rooting for an underdog, but Villanova losing in the second round of the NCAA tournament reminded me a lot of one of my favorite aspects of PR–the crisis. Sports upsets and PR crises actually have a lot in common. In a way, an upset is a crisis for the team that loses. It’s a gaffe that leaves us wondering, “How could this happen?”
- Upsets are hard to foresee, but there can be some evidence to show that an upset is brewing. In the same way, a PR crisis can break with no warning signs or it can develop over (little) time.
- Games and campaigns share similarities in that teams practice and plan all season long just like communicators research, plan and test their message before releasing it.
- Upsets and crises both generate a pretty good amount of buzz among the public and on social media.
- A company in crisis and an upset team both have their face/public perception affected. Point blank: they’re embarrassed.
- Each are a result of a lack of performance. Something went wrong in the execution of the game plan or in the creation of the campaign/integrity of the company.
We all love a good upset, except for when it happens to our team…or our company. Although it’s painful when they occur, these upsets and crises can bring on change and improvement. The wise will not ignore their shortcomings, but use them as a catalyst to becoming even better at their job or sport. Hey, there’s always next year Villanova!
Holly Hoehner is a public relations senior at the University of Oklahoma. She considers herself more of a Russell Westbrook than a Kevin Durant and enjoys learning about and participating in the digital age, blogging about anything that comes to her mind and creating witty Instagram captions. Holly was raised a die-hard Sooner fan in Edmond, OK.