Like many, I recently binge-watched both Fyre Festival documentaries: Fyre Fraud on Hulu and Fyre on Netflix. For those not familiar with the festival, the summary is a young entrepreneur, Billy McFarland, and rapper Ja Rule promised millennials a luxury experience at a music festival in the Bahamas by creating a promotional video and social media buzz. However, they weren’t able to follow through on the promises and the whole thing crumbled. As a millennial, I watched the meltdown of the Fyre Festival in real-time on social media last year. But the documentaries offered an inside look and reminded me of the number one rule in public relations: be authentic.
Some call public relations and the communication industry just “spin.” But nothing can be further from the truth. For us to be able to do our job, we first conduct research and make recommendations to clients about both messaging and operational changes that can be made to support long-term success. Both of which could have saved the Fyre Festival a lot of pain… and probably criminal charges.
As I watched both documentaries, I was astonished by the trust Fyre Festival built through just social media posts. And I was equally as amazed at the amount of effort the Fyre Festival crew put into the marketing – and the lack of effort put into the organization of the festival. At Truscott Rossman, we don’t organize festivals (thank goodness.) However, we do help clients make big announcements, launch new programs and solve crises. Whatever we’re tackling, we are seeking to build trust with the audience – and follow through. Without the latter, any effort will fall short and face the same fate as the Fyre Festival.