You Might Need a PR Firm … Part 2

26 05 2009

Last week, we offered up a list of situations that might suggest you need a PR firm’s assistance.

As a follow-up to that post, a colleague on the corporate side submitted his own list — all actual situations he has faced during his PR career. We’re keeping it anonymous and have edited his list slightly to protect the innocent.

Here goes.  You might need a PR firm if …

  • 60 Minutes wants to interview your CEO
  • Your CEO’s compensation figure is being published in the local business magazine (making things worse, perhaps the day after layoffs were announced?)
  • A worker at one of your company’s factories shoots his girlfriend’s new boyfriend
  • You are charged with introducing a “new” product that’s the same product as it was four years ago
  • You have no time and the boss wants a PR strategy document by the end of the day – TODAY
  • Your company’s president wants to know if he should participate on a panel at an industry event, which will also feature the CEO of your company’s direct competitor
  • It’s been discovered potentially toxic fluids that were dumped there decades ago have leaked from your plant’s property into two adjoining neighborhoods 
  • You have a rare but brief opportunity to speak up on a hot industry or government policy issue that has entered the spotlight
  • You’re hosting a small, regional media event and need local expertise and/or extra arms and legs (and brains) onsite to execute it
  • You want to differentiate your company with local media in light of a forthcoming announcement that a competitor is being charged by the government with price-fixing
  • You need new, professional executive and product photography, but don’t have time to manage the process
  • Your CEO wants to “run with the big dogs” and be recognized along with the major players in your industry.

As a former corporate PR guy, I’ve faced a few of those situations myself. I admit that, as a PR professional, you may not NEED a PR firm in all these situations, but in most cases, you might WANT one … even if it’s just to get another viewpoint, to provide extra brainpower and/or manpower or perhaps to reduce your own stress and maintain your sanity. 

What do you think?

You Might Need a PR Firm If …

18 05 2009

Last week, a few colleagues in other professional service fields asked me how they might recognize if or when any of their clients might need the assistance of a PR firm like ours.

So, using the format made most famous by comedian Jeff Foxworthy (who’s famous for his “You might be a redneck if …” jokes), here’s an initial list of when a company or organization might need professional outside help.

You might need a PR firm if you are:

  • Launching a new product, service, pricing scenario or promotional campaign
  • Changing your organization’s name, logo/identity, direction/strategy, mission/vision
  • Naming/promoting a new CEO or other high-level executive
  • Facing the prospects of some potential negative media coverage due to strikes, litigation, plant closings, layoffs, accidents, product recalls, environmental spills, etc.
  • Acquiring or merging with another company/organization
  • Breaking ground for, or opening, a new facility or entering a new market
  • Exhibiting at a trade show or having a key executive speak at an industry event
  • Missing media opportunities because your communications department has been downsized
  • Reviewing/revamping your organization’s communications strategy, website, key messages, and/or social media approach
  • Finding that many of your target prospects don’t know about your organization
  • Noticing that your competition is getting more than its fair share of positive media coverage
  • Experiencing wins that can be shared, such as new contracts, expansions, community donations, awards, environmental achievements, equipment investments, employment increases, etc.

If you have some additional suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

It’s the Strategy, Stupid

11 05 2009

Back in my college PR 101 class years ago, we were taught an acronym for some simple, but great, advice: KISS – “Keep it simple, stupid.” In the years that followed, we learned another acronym of equal importance: ITSS – “It’s the strategy, stupid.”

Today, marketers have more tools and technology than ever to use. With recent news that more people now use social networks than use e-mail and that 2/3 of the global online population visit social networks and blogs, we must be careful not to be myopic about our media choices. We should resist being swept away by the SMM frenzy which tempts us to throw “old-school” media approaches under the bus.

While I agree that social/new media can be extremely powerful tools, we must remember that they are ONLY tools. What handyman worth his salt has only one tool in his toolbox?

Sometimes, to do the job correctly, you need more than just a hammer … you may need a pair of pliers, a wrench, a Phillips screwdriver or countless other tools for special situations. You often need a succession of tools, used at just the right time and place for the right purpose.

Likewise, to be effective communicators, we need to consider more than one medium. If we’re building a program, we need to look at ALL the tools we have available to us. We shouldn’t dismiss any media until we’ve carefully considered all the tasks at hand.

We shouldn’t base our program solely on medium or message, but on sound strategy … a strategy that integrates all media and messages and revolves around one simple (remember KISS?) question: What are we really trying to accomplish here?

Al Croft, an experienced agency consultant and publisher of Management Strategies newsletter, gets it. He reminds us that the best marketing PR campaigns have always been based on solid strategies, regardless of the media employed. As Al says simply: “It’s always been about the strategy; it still is.”

I say, amen, Al.

What do you say?


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