Amidst heavy criticism, and facing boycotts by consumers for not ending a marketing partnership with the NRA, FedEx issued a press statement to “provide important clarifying facts.” This short statement can be used as a learning moment for all PR people and brand communicators on WHAT NOT TO DO!
Let me quickly unpack the statement for you, which you can also view in this post.
First of all, never try to use nuance and try to word-worm your way out of the truth. FedEx is trying to say that the marketing partnership is with the NRA’s members, not the NRA itself. Really? There is NO difference. Consumers are smarter than that. If it looks like a duck…
Second, don’t use a tragedy to pounce on your competitor and divert attention away from YOUR issue. This is not about UPS, it is about FedEx and it’s business practices.
Third, I DO commend FedEx for communicating a very clear and compelling POV on gun control. But why not take it one small but important step further and distance itself from the NRA and its members? Baffling.
And finally, why try to hide behind a “common carrier” legal defense and deflect the issue when all of your competitors are faced with the same restrictions? I am not a lawyer but I am pretty sure that eliminating the marketing program with the NRA is not a violation of common carrier laws.
Having been involved with crisis communications for nearly three decades now, I suspect that there are far more facts to this story that need clarification.
This article originally appeared on Forbes CMO Network on February 28, 2018