After The Bridge Run: PR Fail
This post is for the staff of the Cooper River Bridge Run, and everyone who participated this past weekend. Or wished they could. Or avoided any travels downtown because of it. You get the idea. I’m disappointed in the PR from the Bridge Run since, and I have a compelling discovery to share about their social media that I’ve not seen addressed anywhere else – yet.
If you have any connection to our Bridge Run, you no doubt heard about the delayed start of the race this year. While unfortunate, this iconic Charleston event has gone off without a hitch since inception in 1978. Correct me if I am wrong, but this is the first year I know of that there has ever been a significant problem. That’s an awesome track record considering how large it has become, and the meticulous planning and execution that must be in place for everything to coalesce so well year after year. I think we can trust the fine people who make the event happen to determine exactly what occurred, and take steps to prevent a repeat.
My first beef is with the apology letter. I know they’re worried about decreased participation in future races, but it was too long and a bit pompous. It also included what seemed like a slap at all the news and social media outlets reporting on what caused the delay by saying that these reports were “all speculation and rumor.” Really? They didn’t need to go there. A lot of people were helping them get the word out with information present at the time. The main thing being reported that I saw was that there were delays in transporting people to the starting line – something the letter itself confirms as true. No explanation was offered beyond that – just a promise to figure it out to help ensure it would not happen again. Fair enough, but I think it would make more sense to wait until there is a complete explanation and offer it along with a brief apology – all at one time and one time only.
Now for my discovery: It would appear that the Bridge Run has disabled their Facebook Page and made both it and their Twitter presences harder to find by disabling the links to them from their website. Do a Facebook search and click the website links, and you’ll see what I mean. These links now direct you to their YouTube channel. I know they worked correctly prior to the race, as I used them. Making the sites hard to find means less complaints to deal with, and handling that would be quite a task. But, it also makes it much harder to offer online support there as well. I actually discovered this when I tried to go to the Facebook Page to say something along the lines of: “It’s OK, we’re all human. After 34 great races and one misstep, we know you’ll address whatever went wrong.”
I understand that big mistakes happen and that the fallout can be tough to handle. I understand the desire to apologize and make amends. I don’t understand PR which includes a letter that apologizes on the one hand and accuses on the other. I don’t understand making it harder for the very people you’ve apologized to to find and communicate with you on your own social sites afterwards, except for the obvious reason of not wanting to deal with it. But they should be willing to deal with it as a consequence for the inconvenience caused to so many, shouldn’t they?
I’m really hoping someone from the Bridge Run will hear about my little post today, and care enough to respond right here, as well as have the wisdom and courage to restore former access to their social presences.
What do you think of their response to this situation?