Overcoming Bad Publicity

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It is often said that “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” While I admire the positive outlook obviously held by the author of this phrase, the fact is that bad publicity is BAD. From a business perspective, bad publicity within a particular industry can affect even the most remotely connected competitors. This has been the case in the limousine industry as of late, and companies around the country are scrambling to deal with the fallout.

Overcoming “bad press” is a difficult thing to do. In many cases it becomes a matter of individual perspective. For example, when news of the recent limousine tragedy in San Francisco broke, most operators went silent. After all, how could you possibly make sense of what happened? Limousines just don’t burst into flames like that. But there were a few companies that took the initiative and made bold statements about their “new” safety initiatives. The trouble is…some people look at these statements as an admission that it took the deaths of several innocent limo passengers for these companies to take passenger safety seriously, when in fact; our industry constantly has client safety in the forefront of their thinking. Bad press also comes into play at a local level when a “bad apple” chauffeur does something so “off the charts stupid” that it makes the news. There is a current news story regarding a “drunk” bus driver with a load of high school kids celebrating their prom. While there are literally thousands of upstanding and responsible chauffeurs in the Chicagoland area, this one “bad apple” will cause clients to reflect on their personal safety for some time to come.

The publicity challenges we face in the limousine business are no different than those in other industries (banking, investment, fast food, pro sports). In most cases, it’s probably best to ride out the storm. However, no matter how well you do and for how long you do it, all it takes is one well-publicized failure and all bets are off. Some people think that positive publicity will somehow outweigh the negative, but if you are an offensive lineman in the NFL, you know differently. No matter how many great blocks you throw, or how well you protect the quarterback, you generally only get acknowledged for the missed blocks or holding penalties. And who gets more attention in the media…the police officers that protect us on a daily basis or the one that gets busted for illegal activities?

O’Hare-Midway Limousine Service has been an iconic figure in Chicagoland transportation for well over 50 years. Are we perfect? Of course not, because nothing IS perfect. But when it comes to doing the job right, it’s hard to find another company that does it better. We’ve had our share of publicity, good and bad. But in the end, it comes down to just being who we are…your choice for quality transportation in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.

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Dale Schahczinski
Goal driven team leader, with industry experience spanning all aspects of operations and administration.