I have no idea who Meghan Trainor is. When I started digging into the research to write this blog post, I realized I did know one of her songs. I like her spunk, her unwavering commitment to celebrating her curves, and her clothing choices. (Trainor’s stylist deserves an award and a cookie, and Trainor deserves a standing ovation for taking a stand against Photoshop whittling down of waists, thighs, and bottoms.)
She fell. On stage. After she sung her recently released song, Me Too. It wasn’t a dainty fall. It was an all-out, fall-flat-on-your-ass, strangers-stop-breathing-because-they-aren’t-sure-what-to-do fall.
Many celebrities would have demanded that the footage get trimmed from the final show. Others would have brushed it off or gone into hiding. Trainor made fun of the fall, retweeting media mentions and joking at her own expense. Her fans checked in on her and told her she rocked it before and after the fall. Even Michelle Williams, formerly of Destiny’s Child and a survivor of an on-stage fall, tweeted support for her:
So what does this have to do with public relations? One of the things many organizations attempt to do is to snip their past transgressions and mistakes out of the public record. (We see you, UC Davis and your efforts to scrub bad mentions from the Internet. Apparently, no one has told you about the Streisand effect.) Organizations of all stripes attempt to control every aspect of their message. In a social mediated world, they can’t, and when they do they fail.
Sometimes you have to own your narrative and take the L. You can be gracious. You can have a laugh with it. Owning your narrative means that the lumps, warts, and falls are a part of the story., making the brand (human or organizational) more realistic and honest. No one expects anyone to be flawless or perfect. (Hell, even Beyonce fell on stage. As flawless as she is, she had a brief battle with gravity and lost. She is mortal.) We do expect brands (celebrity and others) to be flawed, authentic and grounded in trust. What matters is how you get up and rebound.
PS: Oh, what also matters ((in pop culture, entertainment, and public relations) is your footwear. Stay away from five-inch (or whatever level of heel that feels skyscraper-like for you) heels, and stick to flats or Chucks.