Do you want your business to be like Apple… or Rob Ford?

I wrote recently about the myth that all PR and publicity is good.  I couldn’t have hoped for a better example of this than Rob Ford on the Jimmy Kimmel show last night.  Far too often public relations companies sell only media coverage – often driven by their customers desire to be seen in the pages of every possible publication – in print and, increasingly, on line – without any consideration about whether this is the right strategy.

All too often much of the media coverage achieved by public relations companies goes to waste – either because it’s not read by the right audience, or because the interview fails to deliver the right message.  Sometimes, it’s opening up a can of worms that the customer doesn’t want opening but, because they’ve been told that all PR is good PR – people will see the brand or spokesperson name [called visibility or awareness] – they walk head-first in to an ambush, as Rob Ford did last night.  He appears to be the only person that didn’t see it coming!

I often talk to customers about Apple’s approach to PR, publicity and marketing.  The company is selective. Some would call them secretive.  It doesn’t talk to everybody and it doesn’t talk to the media until it has something to say.  It spends the majority of its time building strong and long-lasting relationships with the journalists, analysts and influencers that matter.  It invests in the people that can help it build relationships with a wider audience.

Most importantly, focusing on only a small number media opportunities – the right opportunities – and on building relationships rather than a steady stream of press hits – Apple gets the outcomes it wants.  It gets the adoration of the right media outlets when it has a new product to launch and doesn’t get battered by the media when things don’t go to plan.  Admittedly, the iPhone 5C and Antenna Gate aren’t on the same scale as smoking crack cocaine while in elected office or insulting the Chief of Police in Jamaican patois… but it could have been had Apple not built the right relationships, but spent time, money and energy chasing every media opportunity available.

Read more about Rob Ford’s PR and Media ‘Strategies’

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