As a PR professional (6 years on the job), I wanted to post a quick comment regarding the protest and the press coverage it has received - I just hope this won't sound redundant to anyone!
Evidently, you've all seen that the press is focusing mainly on the 'mixed messages' and the 'lack of focus' of this movement. This probably feels incredibly frustrating to people who are taking part or supporting it. On top of that, given what took place in the world of finances over the last three years, undermining the movement is almost unbearably insulting.
But there is a silver lining to this, and this is where PR comes in. The press coverage you are receiving is driven by companies or groups of interest who are investing so the story will be told with this specific angle. Right at this moment, hundreds of journalists are receiving calls and emails from communication agencies, pitching them on the 'lack of focus' keypoints on the behalf of their clients. This is why the coverage we get only revolves on this point, because there is a concerted effort behind it. Sounds terrible? Well, that the way things work.
The good news is that, if people are spending resources in changing the perceptions towards this movement, it means that it bothers them or they feel threatened by it. They know that this needs to be squashed from the start because it has potential to do damage. If things pick up much more, it will be more difficult to handle, in particular if credible public figures or interest groups begin to rally to the cause.
So what is the proper response to something like this? Here are a few pointers:
- Don't discuss the 'mixed message' thing don't address it at all, this would only create more negative coverage for you
- Don't respond to it either by emphasizing that you have a focus, this will be a sign of weakness (you change the movement because of critics)
- Clarify your message, turn them into soundbites. Get the most articulate people you have in front of the cameras and make sure they keep it on a positive and righteous tone
- Peaceful and respectful protest only, but you already know that
- The Dodd–Frank bill failure is one of the most blatant evidences of abuses in the US financial system, this is a great way to get credibility!
Hope this helps guys