PRSA Event Gives Universal PR Advice from Healthcare Experts

By Erica Everett

PRSA Tampa Bay members and guests mingled at the Brio Tuscan Grille dining room for its “Universal Lessons from Healthcare PR Pros” luncheon. USF PRSSA Vice President Erica Everett tagged along to report.

John Dunn (APR), director of public relations at Tampa General Hospital, opened up the panel discussion by asking, “‘I’m sorry’ – What does it really mean?” Using examples of hospitals that fail to meet an effective apology, Dunn explained the difference between being sorry and an apology and how that can affect the outcome.

“’Sorry’ is not an apology. An apology is a communication expressing fault or admission of a mistake,” said Dunn. “It takes a long time to build trust and only one instant to destroy it.”

According to Dunn, there are four components of an apology that are applicable to all facets of PR: Empathy, compassion, admission of fault, and how to prevent it in the future.

Christine Duffy, vice president of U.S. Health Care Provider Practice at Hill+Knowlton Strategies,  tacked on to Dunn’s message with an approach on “Aligning Industry Trends To Thought Leadership.”

Duffy communicated that it’s important to establish communication pillars to leverage expertise and focus resources when implementing a successful leadership campaign. Her four-step process is to identify the industry trends, research media coverage, analyze coverage and develop insights, and lastly, identify pillars for a proactive outreach.

Alicia Argiz-Lyons, director of development at Shriners Hospital for Children, drove the talk home, touching on the subject of re-branding. Until recent years,  Shriners Hospital for Children provided free medical services to its patients for 90 years. The hospital recently launched Fezzy the teddy bear as Shriner’s new mascot in transition to this newer image.

The discussion opened up to the event attendee’s diving further into questions about the affects an apology has on an organization’s reputation and trust and even some questions asked via their twitter @PRSATampaBay.

The conversation will turn a new page at the PRSA and FPRA Annual Media Roundtable June 24, where PR professionals will get to build relationships with local media about and discuss how to work with them to generate media coverage.

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