Yesterday the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, made the mistake of passing some unflattering comments about a voter with whom he had been speaking moments before.
He was not aware that his microphone was still live as he got in his official vehicle to go to his next appointment.
The comments were picked up and broadcast, the subject of the comments was interviewed and was visibly upset at being called a “bigoted woman” and the encounter described as “a disaster”.
After a 45 minute visit to the womans house, the Prime Minister faced the press and tried to assure the world at large that his apology had been accepted. The BBC used the term “damage control in overdrive”
All this in the last two weeks of the election campaign and the day before the final televised debate between the leaders of the three main parties contesting the election.
What a public relations nightmare, early polls indicated that this episode elevated the Consevative party leader to a stronger position and reduced Gordon Browns standing to third behind the Liberal Democrats.
So what are the lessons here for marketers?
Pay attention to details – a good campaign can be ruined by a few seconds of
Be aware of the dangers of taking technology for granted.
Be sincere even when assuming you are speaking in confidence and in private.
Treat others as you would like to be treated and spoken about, yourself.
Make sure that all your communication is consistent.
How much damage has the Prime Minister inflicted on his campaign? The full extent will be known when the election results are in.
Wishing you success in all your endeavours.