Friday, April 27, 2007

Sorry Karl, There’s Evidence that Bad Publicity Does Exist in Hollywood

In case you missed last night’s episode of The Office on NBC, Dunder Mifflin office supply company was in crisis mode. A disgruntled paper mill employee inserted an obscene watermark into over 500 reams of paper delivered to customers. Responding to the controversy, Michael the manager decided to take charge of the situation by calling his own press conference…

The episode quickly becomes a case study into what not to do in a public relations crisis. This led me to recall Karl’s post from last week. Turns out there is such a thing as bad publicity in Hollywood—at least as far as fictional characters created there are concerned.

At a fictional company and in the real business world as well, anytime an unforeseen publicity problem pops up, there’s an urge to respond swiftly that can lead to further gaffes. It’s certainly a good idea to get right out there and control the message, contact important customers and share reliable information. But in the rush to respond, your organization’s overarching goals and strategies can be obscured.

Rather than trying to handle the pressure and confusion all on your own, it’ll always pay off to contact a professional who can provide expert, objective advice on how to proceed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

“No Such Thing As Bad Publicity” Applies Only In Hollywood

Anyone remember the Atkins diet craze and what happened when Dr. Atkins died? Since his death four years ago this month, the Atkins diet and its related consumer products have fallen into disfavor as if the diet guru had died of heart failure connected to his protein-heavy, fat-laced Atkins plan.

Media reports swirled linking his death to a heart attack. But, in fact, head trauma from a fall caused his demise. One could argue media scrutiny brought the diet approach to its knees. A statement released to the media by his wife suggests that there is such a thing as bad publicity for consumer products.

We counsel our clients that the adage “there is no such thing as bad publicity” applies only in Hollywood. Movies and TV programs may benefit from whatever coverage they or their stars can get—good or bad. Products and services sold in the B2B domain, however, rarely suffer the sensational publicity garnered by the rich and famous.

But B2B media efforts do frequently suffer from being off-strategy and off-message, and these misguided media efforts amount to “bad publicity.” In B2B-wood, not just any publicity, but publicity designed to reinforce overall brand positioning is the way to support blockbuster results at the home office and achieve a star on the B2B walk of fame.

Friday, April 13, 2007

How Strategic Is Your Media Coverage?

There’s media coverage and there’s strategic media coverage. Strategic coverage supports your brand. Staying on message and remaining mindful of the desired outcome of each interview differentiates successful coverage from a mere mention.

Consider a recent feature on D-M-E Company, one of our manufacturing clients, in Global Logistics & Supply Chain Strategies. Granted, D-M-E is a client, so I acknowledge this might smack of professional bias. But this is an excellent illustration of artfully weaving key messages into an interview to support brand positioning in the marketplace.

D-M-E President Dave Lawrence masterfully recites “every step of the way” and “essential resource” messages, resulting in page-one coverage in the feature. Market research conducted to strategically position the company for growth led to those messages and countless others, such as “speed-to-market,” which also are included in the article.

When you know what to say based on what drives the market and how to say it in ways not offensive to reporters’ sensibilities about including marketing speak in their stories, you are well on your way to producing strategic media coverage for your company.