Archive for the 'Public Relations' Category

Catch a Tiger by the Tale

Okay, okay, I’m as sick of the news coverage about Tiger Woods and his transgressions as the next person. But really, isn’t it just the best case study of how to not conduct your PR? Really?

Of course, if I had just acted like a complete idiot following a fight with my spouse over how I’ve been a complete idiot, I’d be a little embarrassed to speak in public too. But here’s how the public statement could have read on the day following his incident:

As you know, I had a car accident last night. My wife and I had a disagreement and, like most families, we have some things to work out in private. My behaviour was irresponsible and I truly apologize to my fans, whom I may have disappointed.

End of story. But that didn’t happen, and yes I’m sure he was busy working things out in private with his wife. But unlike many others, the dad in this family lives a very public life, makes multiple millions from sponsorships and a popular sport with huge purses. If you live out loud, you have to expect your fans to be listening at all times.

It must be difficult to be a “golden boy” as it were. A notable child prodigy, professional in his teens, and living the life of highly competitive athletics. Heck, this guy made golf cool! Has Tiger Woods had a chance to conduct a private life? Unfortunately, as with other child stars, the public thinks they own him. And in a way, his sponsors do own him. Luckily, they’ve stood behind him. But they also know he will bring them millions of dollars in sales, and that’s a PR story for another day.

If there is a next time, Tiger, tell your own tale so the gossip columns don’t start inventing it for you.

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The art of the apology

Apologizing has come out of the lawyer’s office and into the PR advisors. Thank goodness! At last, spokesperson’s can talk like human beings instead of having to face critics who think they don’t care.

That said, if you are going to apologize, you better mean it. Here’s my two cents:

Senior Spokesperson

The apology should come from the most senior person available. Your customers and investors don’t want to hear from a PR person – they want the president. If the CEO or president are unavailable, they apology should come from the next in line who has responsibility for the organization.

Sincerity
The apology must be sincere, and from the heart. If the president is too nervous or not a good speaker, it isn’t the end of the world. I’d prefer to hear from a nervous sincere president than a polished salesperson. Better yet, coach your C-Suite before apologies are ever needed. An empty apology will be detected very easily.

Acknowledgment
The spokesperson should acknowledge the error that was made. Whether it was distasteful matter in the media or an accident at a work site, sincere acknowledgment of the issue lets stakeholders know that you take the issue seriously. “It appears that the accident was a matter of human error as the tool that fell to the sidewalk from the 3rd floor should have been tethered.”

Commitment
Let the public or your stakeholders know that you will act responsibly to ensure the incident isn’t repeated. Make a commitment to resolve the issue. For example, new measures or training will be put in place, corrective or punitive actions will be taken, a thorough investigation will take place.

Follow-up
Your job isn’t done. Follow up with the spokesperson to ensure the actions are taking place, then report back to your stakeholders.

An apology is only as good as the sincere action that follows it.

Find Waldo, er Maggie

I’ve been missing in action in the blogosphere, as my one remaining reader can attest. I have to apologize as I’d like to say I’m a great role model for my clients.

Well, I might be a crummy role model, but I have been a great coach. For example, my clients Scott McDonald and Kazuyo Iga of Rocky Mountain Soap Company have embraced both social media and PR to become superstars here in Victoria. In just a few short months, they’ve sponsored events and supported fundraisers, launched a Facebook page and Scott (@FootButterGuy) has 673 followers on Twitter. More importantly, the store’s sales are skyrocketing! More on this in a following blog.

Then there’s our client Moss Development who have built 24 gorgeous waterfront condos in Tofino. What with online ads, bloggers and traditional media, The Shore only has 7 condos left.

And then there’s the whole training thing. We had a wonderful co-op student Linnaea whom I enjoyed mentoring as much as she enjoyed learning. Below is a photo of her at the awesome event we did at Church & State wines when they were presented with the Lieutenant-Governor’s award of excellence in wine making.

Linnaea at Church & State Wines

Linnaea at Church & State Wines

So, dear one remaining reader, I’m back in the writer’s chair and I promise I’ll keep up the work.

Wherefore art thou, Canadian media?

CTV cuts 118 jobs

CTV cuts 118 jobs

Last night I attended an excellent evening hosted by Douglas business magazine in Victoria. Highlighting the Top 10 businesses to watch in Victoria, publishers also announced their new city lifestyle magazine YAM.

This is interesting news in challenging times. Earlier the same day, CTVglobemedia Inc. announced the layoffs of 118 staff at stations across Canada, including 18 at A Channel in Victoria. Just three months ago, Victoria’s other station, CHEK, layed off 19 staff and is for sale.

What’s the underlying story? Well at last night’s  event I ended up in the corner with a knot of local journalists and the subject naturally strayed to the current state of the media. It didn’t take much to agree that media is in decline, but we didn’t all agree on what’s next.

I fear newspapers are soon to be dead. Too bad, because I love spending weekend mornings in bed with a pot of tea and a stack of newspapers. But during the week, I depend on RSS feeds and my favourite news sites. Citizen journalists aren’t just a bunch of yahoos…many are professional journalists who are contributing to news sites as events unfold from around the world. This may be the new economic model, and the new social model. Heck, you’re reading a blog, aren’t you?

What does this mean for PR? More social media, yes, but we need to integrate these tools into other areas of PR. We also need to ensure that we remain accessible to ALL  people we need to consult and inform, otherwise our results are seriously skewed.

Top five things clients can do to help their PR agency succeed

1. Keep your PR company informed of business developments, HR successes and just about everything else. They will likely see opportunities you may overlook.

2. Be upfront about your expectations for PR. What do you want your PR campaign to help you accomplish? This will ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.

3. Understand that no PR campaign can be successful if it its claims are unfounded. A dishonest campaign, or one that “spins” the truth will only discredit your company.

4. Be open to new ideas and methods. A good PR firm will have reasons for their ideas and you should seriously consider them.

5. Understand that building or managing a company or product’s reputation takes time. Give your PR firm adequate time so they can do their work right.

Great books on social media

Hey there! Tonight I had a lot of fun speaking with PR students from Royal Roads University and University of Victoria at a CPRS student mixer called “Get Connected.” As well as me were three other PR pros – Katie Josephson, City of Victoria; Deidre Campbell, Tartan Group; and Marisa Adair, BC Public Affairs Bureau – and we had a great debate and discussion going about what it takes to be in PR, and probed the interesting and evolving world of social media.

I promised I’d post the name of two books I’m re-enjoying, so here they are to share.

The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting,
Viral Marketing and O
nline Media to Reach Buyers Directly,
by David Meerman Scott

Marketing to the Social Web: How Digital Customer Communities Build Your Business, Larry Weber

New Rules to Marketing & PRMarketing to the Social Web

I look forward to hearing from you about what books you’re reading. I also would be pleased to continue our discussion, “What is PR about these days?”

Social Media Embodies PR

I just read an interesting blog post by Richard Bailey, a university lecturer who teaches PR at Leeds Metropolitan University. Richard cites the the chapter “Survival of the Publicist,” in the book Naked Conversations by Robert Scoble, when he asks the question, “is social media killing PR?

In my mind, PR at its highest and best invites two-way open communication with your stakeholders. This is no longer the age of “push” marketing—social media presents the opportunity to engage stakeholders and respond to their beliefs and opinions. Yes, it can be a little intimidating at first, but my clients are really excited about the results they are getting.

So if a publicist is pushing out information for the public to swallow, I hope social media does kill it. And if true PR is inviting open community engagement, then I say a resounding “No, social media is not killing PR; social media embodies PR!”