How Con Ed ensured an employee’s heroics got recognized

A utility worker rescued a man from the subway tracks. A bystander recorded video. How did Con Edison make sure the power company was mentioned in the news coverage?

Imagine that one of your employees heroically jumps onto the subway tracks and saves a man’s life.

He lifts the fallen man onto the platform, then scrambles to safety just before a train roars through. Best of all, a bystander records it all on his phone.

Yes, the publicity potential is huge. Yet if you don’t play it right, you could end up without a single mention. The New York electrical and natural gas utility Con Edison offers a lesson in adroitly handling just such a gift from the PR gods.

“I wanted everyone to report it as ‘a Con Edison worker jumps onto the track to save another person’ instead of ‘a man jumps onto the tracks,'” says Philip O’Brien, assistant director of media relations.

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