On the BlueSky PR Facebook page we have a feature called PR gold star and PR fail of the week, where we identify those who have had a particularly good week in PR terms and those who have committed a major public relations own goal. Almost every week, many of the contenders for the PR fail prize are from the world of football. But it’s fair to say last week the bar was raised quite spectacularly by Manchester City’s midfield maestro Yaya Toure.
Having scored 20 goals in City’s title winning season, Toure may seem an unlikely character to be mocked all over Twitter. However his recent ramblings of how the club disrespected him by “only” giving him a very large cake and sending a single Tweet to honour his birthday seems to have upset even the most staunch Blues supporter.
Perhaps the key issue with Toure’s comments is that they prove how out of touch he is with his customer base (i.e. the fans that effectively pay his wages through ticket prices.) Despite the amount of money that has come into the game in recent years, football punters would like to think that their club’s players still represent them on some level. I’m not sure how many of Manchester City’s global fan base turned 31 this year, but I’d be willing to bet none of them kicked up a fuss about having their birthday recognised, much less threatened to quit their jobs because of this.
So here is the PR message: no matter how successful you are, it is important to never lose touch of your customer base, whether they are football fans or business clients. With the rise of social media meaning your message goes worldwide in seconds, it is even more crucial to remember this.
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