I’ve Got Your Back (But We’re Not Talking Obama)

I've Got Your Back Obama

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Over the weekend, my six year old PC finally breathed its last, surrendering to the dreaded blue screen of death one final time.

Without the funds to acquire my coveted MacBook Air, I went to plan B: another PC that I’ve been saving for just this moment. It’s a newer (only four years old, versus six) PC that hasn’t been powered up in about four months. So on startup, I needed to update software, virus protection, and then bring iTunes (including all the apps I use on my phone) current.

Somewhere in that process, I lost about 40 apps that were on my iPhone but for some reason not synced to my profile. Now begins the long and painful process of finding and reloading those apps – one by one – and rearranging them on my phone’s more than 9 screens. Yikes.

My dilemma brought to mind something we should always be aware of in the PR world: backup and contingency plans.

We always aim high, and plan to succeed. But this world also hands us a fair share of “what if things go wrong” and so we need to have a couple aces up our sleeves at all times.

A few thoughts:

1. Have a backup plan and a backup man (or woman): You can’t be the boss all the time. Sooner or later, you’ll need to delegate, and that means having a wingman who is as well-versed in the big picture of what you’re trying to accomplish as you are. Appoint a backup man at the start of your planning process to make the inevitable bumps smoother.

2. Plan for the worst, hope for the best: We all want our campaigns to run smoothly. But the world is full of chaos, and we need to be ready for it. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Plan for that and you’ll never be surprised.

3. Let your client know there’s a backup in place: There are some folk who like to practice “mushroom PR” – that is, keeping everyone in the dark because you think they will complicate things. While you want to save a client from your minutiae, your most potent weapon is your client having faith in you, and you can only accomplish that by demonstrating to them that you’ve got everything covered.

What’s your backup plan?