Rene Musech explores what horrors can occur when companies take PR advice from agencies that are not qualified to give it.
We’ve all heard the horror stories before. A company hires a PR agency that looked good on paper and was cheaper than the competition but then something goes terribly wrong and a brand’s reputation ends up damaged. We’ve asked our network to identify the kinds of PR advice unqualified agencies sometimes give that should never be listened to. Let this be a lesson for the next time you are on the hunt for a perfect PR agency!
Has a fault been identified in your product or has your service gone offline? Do not wait around hoping for the customer uproar to just blow over. Take action quickly to address any of their concerns and keep them updated on what you are doing to fix the problem. Not communicating with customers is rarely the right answer so question your PR agency twice if this is what they advise.
If the Daily Mail calls and wants to interview your CEO about a hot or controversial topic such as immigration, be suspicious. Just because a journalist promises to put your company’s name in print doesn’t mean they are going to say nice things about you. Be wary of a PR agency that only cares about putting you in front of journalists without any thought as to what could be the result.
Perhaps you have a spokesperson that is naturally charming and funny (in an appropriate way) and you want to use their personality to attract the admiration of journalists and customers. You are lucky and in the minority. If your company spokesperson is not naturally funny please do not take PR advice that tries to force the funny. If you do, people will be laughing for entirely the wrong reason.
News hijacking is a common and often effective PR strategy. It involves providing comment or getting interviews off the back of a story in which your company was not initially involved but has something to contribute to it. Some PR agencies, however, can advise their clients to take news hijacking too far such as using natural disasters or someone’s misfortune to gain publicity for a brand. Trust me, this approach usually backfires.
Do you remember the Harlem Shake craze in early 2013? No, it was not a good idea to make a video of your office doing the Harlem Shake. It is difficult to make a corporate video go viral and usually when one does it is because everyone is laughing at you (not in a good way). Click here to see an example. It’s just wrong.
The B2B PR Blog is a resource for both PR professionals and people working in B2B industries on how to devise and implement successful B2B PR campaigns. The blog is managed by b2b pr specialist Heather Baker, founder TopLine Comms, an inbound marketing and B2B content marketing agency and takes contribution from anyone sensible in the industry with something intelligent to say. Follow Heather on Twitter @TopLineFounder or contact her via email on [email protected].
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