PR and the Chilean miners

Now that the 33 Chilean miners are above ground and safe and sound, it is interesting to look back at their ordeal and review how it was handled and what that might mean for the miners in the future. Movie deals? Book deals?

I have to admit, I was obsessed with this story. And, from the sounds of it, so was a great deal of the world. I think that the reason for this is that there was ongoing, honest communication being put out about what was going on and there was a realistic hope of a happy ending.

The fact that the world was kept up-to-date on what was happening underground with the miners, with their families and with the rescue effort was incredible. We were allowed into the story and that made us feel connected. I think the Chilean government and the people working on the rescue did an exceptional job of providing information and because of that, they earned worldwide support. Not a small thing when you are in the spotlight like they were.

Sunglass maker, Oakley, stepped in and provided sunglasses for the men. Now, I have read some criticism about why Oakley did this; but, in fact, they were approached by a journalist covering the story. They responded and said yes, of course, they would provide sunglasses to help protect the eyes of the men. And to their credit, they wrote one blog post about it and that seems to be it. They didn’t try to maximize coverage of their role; they just did something good and that was that. Of course, as each miner came out of the ground, their brand was front and centre and was connected to the success of the rescue. They received an estimated $41 million in television coverage. But, they handled their contribution with class and style and if it benefits them, good for them.

There is a great article in the Jamaica Observer about leadership lessons from the mines that focuses on the communications efforts. It’s one of the best pieces I have read on this topic and worth a read.

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