Powerball and the importance of issues management

by | Jan 13, 2016 | Crisis Communications, News, Popculture, Public Relations

For any organization to be successful at communications, they must have a strategic plan that includes many of the core elements of public relations such as:

  • Communications management
  • Crisis management
  • Relationship management
  • Reputation management
  • Risk management
  • Issues management

If a well-thought-out strategic plan is in place and an organization has the capabilities to support it, it will allows the organization to adapt both to opportunities and issues that present themselves.

But what does all this have to do with Powerball?

Well, we all know that tonight’s Powerball jackpot of US$1.5 billion is the largest lottery jackpot in history. This has made Powerball much more than a lottery — it’s now morphed into a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon that everyone seems to wants to be part of.

The chance of winning tonight’s Powerball is a one in 292 million, so I personally don’t believe anyone feels they’re going to win. They just want to be part of something historic (and on the off chance they win, well, that’s obviously a life-changing bonus).

This is where issues management comes in.

Issues management is defined as an ongoing activity that includes studying public policy matters and other societal issues of concern to the organization. This also includes paying attention to trends, and leveraging and seeing those trends as an opportunity.

When done well, issues management also allows the foresight to leverage a trend that can help advance your organization.

Use media monitoring and analysis to help your organization develop a concrete issues management strategy. Click here to find out more about MediaMiser’s services.

There’s no better example of this than that of World Class Bakers in Toronto, Canada, which is offering a free Powerball ticket for tonight’s draw with every $20 purchase. In the wake of this announcement customers have lined up for hours to buy their baked goods. And not only has the bakery been selling out of product, but people who had never heard of them now know who they are.

Because of this stunt, the bakery has been mentioned in over 100 news outlets, including print, radio, and television.

This would be a major coup for most PR professionals working for a Fortune 1000 company. Yet it was pulled off by a local Toronto bakery.

Many major organizations can learn from World Class Bakers, even if the bakery probably didn’t have a strategic communications plan. But what a strategic plan provides is a far greater chance to identify similar trends and opportunities that may perhaps be slightly less popular, but just relevant to your industry.

And if it could help your business potentially pull off a one-in-a-life-time PR coup, wouldn’t that be worth it?

Let us know if your organization has a strategic communications plan, and whether you’re engaged in issues management. Are you tracking trends? If so, how? We’d love to know.

Brett Serjeantson


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