The primal questions of public relations: How do you react to a scandal? How do you generate stories that attract the right viewers? How do you launch a new product when no one has heard of you before? Public relations (PR) is the art of telling a story through the media. PR can make you instantly famous or instantly infamous – and everything in between.
The media play their part, in exchange for stories that generate page views they will cover a company, individual or event and most of the time they play it fair. They serve the public honorably and do their best to get the story right. Occasionally however, you run into bloggers or journalists that are not covering stories but creating their own twisted versions of them. Part of this stems from the need to differentiate their story from the rest, but sometimes it’s driven by the narcissistic need to promote themselves.
With that as our lens, let’s examine three of the biggest PR events of the past week (including one I was involved in) here are their stories:
The Uber Scandal
The reaction to the Uber scandal from the press and tech elite has been ceaseless and divided, the outrage both manic and ludicrous. But then, the politically correct mafia’s righteous anger is the defining play in its attempt to shout down anyone it believes to be a bad actor. Even if the mafia’s architect is a seedy tabloid reporter pretending to be a high-ground moralizing tech journalist.
But now that everyone has pretty much chimed in, let’s take a moment to catch our breath and remember that no one jumps on the GPS ordered bandwagon without their own special interest location in mind.
And let’s face it, given the chance, some journalists will opportunely shoot a business and its executives to rack up page views. And as a consequence, they soon accumulate enough victims such that they begin to live in fear and have a good reason to; they make a lot of enemies.
These are the types of so-called journalists that pander daily to people that find tabloids the literary equivalent of Twinkies and tater tots. They don’t seek to improve their readers’ minds, they serve it junk and pander to themselves.
So will this type of anti-public relations increase their viewership? Probably in the short-term, but when the adrenaline of hype dissolves, the hangover of all that junk journalism will clog their literary arteries.
Let’s take a look at the Uber sentiment analysis from Crimson Hexagon over the last week. It’s not as bad as one would expect given all of the bad publicity:
Yet Uber’s PR team should have done more to counter the rising tide of outrage, they should have taken their cues from the Netflix NFLX -2.84% PR fiasco a few years ago. But quick success yields arrogance and arrogance attracts opportunistic journalists. We’ve seen both in play here.
Mike Golic’s Assets
When is enough enough? It seems we still haven’t reached it in the case of Kim Kardashian’s most marketable asset. On a losing bet, Mike Golic of the ESPN show “Mike and Mike”, had to recreate the infamous Kim Kardashian rear view photo. So I will reluctantly and with some trepidation show you the result:
This takes keeping up with the Kardashans to a whole new level.
Fortunately the well placed bow protects us from being smacked in the face by an image only a deranged Hugh Heffner could create. As I alt-tab back and forth from Kim Kardashian to Mike Golic I wonder which is more offensive (and clever). Seriously, think about Kardashian and then think about Golic; who has done more for their career?
Then, check out the buzz index from Crimson Hexagon:
Marketers take note, news jacking is alive and well. You’d be well served to study your industry’s top trending content and launch creative tangents that benefit from the publicity produced by them.
Ocho: The Art of the Startup Launch
First the due diligence: my company has a contract with Ocho, backed by Mark Cubanand the latest video app to take the stage. I should also add that I am white, love poker and coaching football, spent 20 years refining my Foxtrot, and yet I’m still younger than the oldest major league baseball player. Was that enough background information?
That’s the type of information Ocho wants you to share through video with your friends and family. The real you, the real behind the scenes story of your life, not the manufactured comedy you see on Vine (not that there’s anything wrong with it).
And from what I saw (we had nothing to do with their public relations efforts) the “real world” angle resonated with a vocal group of journalists, bloggers, celebrities and users. All told, the coverage on launch day (they launched last week) garnered twenty-one tier one stories and a host of “how to” articles like this one from Stephanie Frasco of Convert with Content.
The key to a successful launch is to start at least 90 days ahead of time, create a story and brand image that you believe we will resonate with a core audience, find the right influencers, bloggers and press, then launch. Competing with Vine and Instagram won’t be easy, but Ocho’s story is unique and they’ve already found a group of core users.
Let’s see what their next act turns out to be.
Autohor: Mark Fidelman
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