When An NFL Quarterback Calls an Audible

Drew BreesA lawsuit is a powerful way to put a lot of pressure to convince other people to pay.  Sometimes it’s a just correction of a wrong sometimes it’s not.  However, once they are filed, they are public information and, therefore, can find their way into the news.

A lawsuit filed against you or your company requires expert crisis communications management even if it’s not in the news.  Lawyers almost always recommend silence.  But silence can imply guilt and affect a company’s reputation in a way that affects the bottom line.  When questioned by reporters, a skilled publicist can often help keep the court action from becoming news.  If it’s already a story, the publicist can ensure your key messages don’t included “no comment.”

Obviously, NFL quarterback Drew Brees is a very famous person.  As soon as he files a law suit, it’s in the news.  Insofar as publicity is concerned, Brees has the advantage of both being a popular personality and the plaintiff, not the defendant.  If you’re the defendant in the news, what is your first move?

  1. Take a deep breath.  Keep a cool head.  This will pass.
  2. Do not manage the press yourself.  Refer to your company’s “crisis communications plan” which should include bringing in an outside expert who is detached from the story.
  3. Move all crisis communications out of the office.  Firewall bad news so it has the least impact on company moral.  Crisis communications should include internal communications with staff which is candid, factual and optimistic.
  4. Choose a single spokesperson.  Refer all reporters to that spokesperson.  They should be available 24/7 to screen all reporter calls and answer media inquiries in an orderly fashion.
  5. Answer all reporters.  You can state you will have a statement in 24 hours, but answer all reporters’ emails and phone calls with a prepared statement.
  6. Tell the truth.  Often, this is painful.  Always, this is necessary.
  7. Stay calm.  Focus on the positive.  Don’t do “spin” – only relevant factual information.

By having a simple, easy-to-execute crisis communications plan in place, a surprise lawsuit won’t derail your business before you have even entered the courtroom.   In fact, when handled well, it can/should enhance your reputation.  The key is the be prepared and delegate communications to experts in this particular type of publicity.

A PR Firm Needs Crisis Communications

Frequently, PR agencies are called upon to use their experience, judgement, skills and reputation to manage bad press.  It’s rare that an agency has to do this for a $200,000+ PR campaign it designed.  But that’s exactly what a local San Diego PR agency faces – cleanup in aisle five – and they’re praying they get their money’s worth out of themselves! Continue reading “A PR Firm Needs Crisis Communications”

Why Hire a Publicist?

It is common for non-PR people to not have a clue how a publicist can improve your business’s bottom-line.  Even when they intuitively know that getting mentioned in news reports (ie: magazines, newspapers, popular blogs and television) has much higher credibility and impact, it’s often difficult to imagine anything you or your company is doing is news worthy.  We get it.  But keep an open mind and take a look at you from our perspective for a moment…

Modern Publicity defines public communications using four distinct segments (ADDD):

  • Awareness (if no one knows you exist, they can’t buy/hire you)
  • Differentiation (if you’re like everyone else, there’s no reason to buy/hire you)
  • Decision (if you don’t give people a specific, timely reason to hire/buy, they typically delay the decision)
  • Delivery (if you don’t deliver what you promise (your brand), you won’t keep old customers or acquire new ones).

Given this, publicity is a powerful communication tactic to do one or more specific ADDD goals.  The results must be measurable. This doesn’t simply mean you see more news about yourself  and your business, it means we work with you to ensure you see bottom-line results such as more customers coming through the doors, more referrals and more sales.  But the question is begged; even if you know a publicist can raise awareness, distinguish you from you competitors and give shoppers or prospects a reason to buy today, what is it that a publicist can do about it?

Putting aside the tactic of self-publicity (social networking), I’ve begun a list of things we quiz you about in order to reveal a newsworthy ‘hook.’  An important value we bring to the table is understanding how difficult it is to get into the news cycle and what reporters are looking for in order to cover you.  Sometimes we create a news event, such as a press conference, an award or a special event, or we’ll define your product or service in relationship to an existing newsworthy trend or event.  To see specific examples of our work, you’re invited to visit our newsroom.   But here are some things that we use to generate interest and mostly links to Google searches for ‘news’ using the term:

  1. Grand opening
  2. New product
  3. New service
  4. New staff
  5. New idea
  6. New partnership
  7. New study (that relates to your business)
  8. New song (for recording artists)
  9. New book (for authors or that relates to your business)
  10. New video
  11. New law (proposed or actual that relates to your business)
  12. New controversy
  13. New invention (it doesn’t have to be yours)
  14. To Be Continued…

Here’s the truth: you don’t need to know how a publicist can improve your business.  What you need to know is a good publicist.  Let US describe what you have that is newsworthy and then get you covered and integrate into a comprehensive marketing communications campaign.  That’s our job.