October 23, 2014
By: Meredith Broadwater @Mere_Broadwater
Public relations can change the way people identify one product, or disease in this case, compared to another. Ebola is one-of-a-kind, so it’s the most ideal client for a public relations professional.
- Ebola is already internationally known. Part of the job is already done! Everyone knows the client, but the problem is that it’s a negative image because it’s a disease (obviously). However, not a lot of people know what it actually is. When you tell people something about Ebola, they’ll pay attention because they don’t want to die.
A little Ebola lesson: According to the CDC there are only three confirmed cases in the United States, all in Texas.
- People are scared, so they’ll pay attention to messages about it. According to a New York Post article, airline sales are going down because people don’t want to risk getting infected by another passenger. People have been canceling flights, selling their airline stocks and taking other steps to avoid flying.
People continue to take drastic measures to avoid getting a disease that three out of 319 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with.
Ebola is only spread through body fluids and blood, it’s not airborne, but the virus can live on objects (like doorknobs and counters) for up to a few hours.
- Ebola isn’t selfish. It understands that you have other things to do. It’s selfish because it’s a virus and wants to contaminate everything it comes in contact with, besides your job as a PR professional. It understands that there are other clients to deal with and classes to study for because when you come back to it, it’s still there. Ebola will always be there for you.
- Your market is defined for you: every human being. Part of public relations is finding your target market, but with Ebola, anyone can get it. The CDC has no evidence that dogs or cats can get the virus, so your pets are safe. Your message will be broad, but that makes it more exciting!
- Ebola has a story to tell. It may not have traveled through seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, or through the sea of swirly twirly gumdrops, but it came from somewhere.