Networking and Relationships

Mutually beneficial relationships are the foundation of every good public relations campaign. One of the best ways to build them often is to offer help to somebody without the expectation of an immediate benefit.  A piece by Gary Vaynerchuk in the Wall Street Journal makes the point that first-mover advantage can be a powerful tool when building relationships and is far more effective than handing out business cards to everybody you meet.

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What Use Is Hype

The common belief is that the more you hype something the more attractive it becomes to your target audience.  The truth is that the more you hype the less believable your claims become and the higher you set expectations, the more likely it is that you will fall short.

Friends, Folks and Followers…

Two words that I’m hearing online and in media interviews – friends and folks.  The first is increasingly used before a request for help – to share something or do something to increase their credibility online – or to get people to pay attention because, well a friend would, wouldn’t they?!  The second, is increasingly used after a statement to normalize it or to try and implore you to believe what has come before because the user is just like you.  Cut them some slack won’t you?

The two terms are – to my mind – used increasingly as communications tactics and are becoming increasingly ineffective.  I wonder why they’re using them – unless I really am their friend or ‘folks’ is a term that they’ve used for years.  Too often these terms are being used to manipulate; to win favour; for their advancement.  Not because it’s sincere.

So, next time you hear somebody address you as a ‘friend’ or as a ‘folk’ stop for a second and ask yourself why!

Silence was Armstrong’s best PR strategy

If Lance Armstrong was going to come clean then the time was long ago. Not, as he chose, in a two-part special with Oprah. Much has been made of Armstrong’s long-overdue confession with America’s most watched talk show host. It’s been described as a bid to secure his long-term future [Armstrong wasn’t paid for the interview, but it was suggested that by confessing, he could open the way to a reduction in his lifetime ban] or as some kind of redemption and rehabilitation strategy. If it was, he failed.

If Armstrong wanted a path back to competition then his best strategy was to remain silent. I’m not condoning it, or suggesting that he shouldn’t have come clean, but the timing and manner of his admission were all wrong. The right thing to do would have been to own up to his cheating when the rumours first started to surface. There was even a window when the USADA investigation gathered pace – he could have avoided the high-profile publicity, the 1000 page report and the mass media attention.

But, given that he repeatedly denied he’d doped, and went as far as to sue people who were actually telling the truth, Armstrong’s best strategy was to stick to the approach he adopted when the USADA labelled him a serial cheat – to stop denying he had cheated and say nothing. Given that most people already believed he was guilty, most people would have forgotten about him in a matter of months.

Sure, there would always have been a cloud hanging over him, but he could always have truthfully repeated the mantra, ‘I never failed a test’. This was, after all, the fact, if not the truth. Had Armstrong continued to work behind the scenes for his Livestrong foundation he could, in time, have reestablished himself in the role of cancer survivor and charity fundraiser and reentered the public arena. Silence would have enabled him to lobby the sporting powers for a reduction of his life ban and re-introduction to competitive triathlon and road racing in 2020 as an age-grouper. In 7 years, likely only the hardcore cyclists will remember him, and nobody would criticize his establishment of a foundation that has raised hundreds of millions to inspire and support people affected by cancer.

Armstrong’s very public admission, however, will likely cost him his reported $100m fortune, as well as his chances of ever competing again, and label him not only a cheat, but a serial liar. This is now what his legacy will be.

Time to Spring Clean your Comms Plan?

We’re fast approaching the end of the first quarter of the year.  Is your communications strategy delivering the results you expected?

One of the most common oversights in any PR, marketing or social media programme is taking time out to review what’s worked well, and what hasn’t.  Until you understand which elements are delivering the greatest return and which ones didn’t work in the way that was intended, it’s almost impossible to refine the strategy.  Sometimes, being on the front line can also make it difficult to come up with new ideas.

If you think your communications plan would benefit from a fresh pair of eyes, we’re offering a special rate on our Communications Spring Clean.  For just $999 [usually $1200] we’ll review your PR, marketing and social media plans, offer advice on how they can be fine-tuned to make them work even better, and offer a couple of new ideas on how you can ensure that marketing communications helps your business meet its corporate objectives for the year.

To find out more about what our Communications Spring Clean could do for your business or call +1 647.773.2677