The decision to sack Kenny Dalglish from Liverpool Football Club is a result of poor on and off the pitch performances and provides valuable lessons about the importance of effective communication.
There’s no doubt that King Kenny is still adored by the Anfield faithful but in an era of intense media attention he was simply unable, or unwilling, to interact with the media in a positive way. In fact, it appeared that he actually resented the ‘bread and butter’ press conferences and post match interviews that come with football management. He often snapped and growled at journalists, which in turn, led to unhealthy relationships, unflattering headlines and detracted from the day job which played a part in his demise.
In addition, he made a massive error of judgement by continuously backing Luis Suarez in the infamous race-related incident earlier this year, despite the apparent wrong-doing and strong public feeling. This contravened the first rule of crisis management – don’t defend the indefensible.
Football is now big business and individual clubs, like any other successful companies, must look after their reputations just as carefully as their balance sheets. A fundamental part of this is developing an integrated approach to communicating with stakeholders and being ‘media-ready’. This is why investing in good quality PR advice should not be seen as a ‘nice to do’; it’s a fundamental business development tool which should not be neglected.
Investing wisely in PR is a must for any forward thinking company. At the very least it will ensure spokespeople, in what ever guise they take, are ready and able to shape positive perceptions about their organisations and don’t score unnecessary own goals.