Archive for September, 2010

Anniversary and Music

September 30, 2010

Break out the bubbly - its my anniversary!

A year ago (yesterday) I started this blog. It has neither been consistent nor awe inspiring, but for me, it has offered an amazing opportunity for reflection on what it means to be a modern communication professional. I thank you, my readers for tolerating my bits of nonsense for so long!

Today’s post though is dedicated to the communicative power of music. Whether it is J-I-L-L-S-C-O-T-T that represents the definition of lovely in your music or Axel Rose or Machel Montano, without question, music communicates with more than the mind – it moves the soul. What is the rhythm of your soul? What moves you?

These questions are ones we all in a way, ask as “Pr Peeps”. We have to find a way to communicate with even the most savage of society. With our own rhythm and rhyme, we must work our magic in the ways Quincy Jones, Michael (Jackson – not Bolton) and for me, J-I-L-L-S-C-O-T-T, magically work over the souls of their audiences. Our clients expect us to “fix” all their communication problems by somehow hitting the right key. Don’t you wish we could tell them it’s as easy as hitting those notes Mariah does in “Vision of Love” (see the live 1991 Grammy Performance below)?

To once again compare our work to music, when faced with the challenges of our profession, the more hardy among us know, the only way to achieve results sometimes is to move between the standard beats – to create our own musical genres. We are the musical radicals – like Beethoven did, we must challenge traditions and at times move to our own beat to inspire a multigenerational, picky and fickle audience to want to listen and want to be moulded into the shapes outlined in our PR plans (musical scores for the purpose of this analogy).

Is it easy? Nope! Do our performances always inspire applause? Nope. But play on PR professionals. Play on.

Today’s post brought to you following a wonderful evening of Itunes. Oh modern music world, how I love thee!



Beyond “Getting the Media Here”

September 29, 2010

One of the biggest mistakes companies desiroud of PR make is the mistake of simply “”getting the media” to attend an event. By “getting the media” the persons issuing such ‘commands’ do not mean “invite”. No no –  in that instance the media is, in there minds, to be present, pen in hand ready to accurately capture there every orchestrated word and deed. Newsflash – media relations is a sybiotic relationship. Newsflash to PR folks – its your job to ensure both sides understand that.

Think such an important lesson is well intertwined in the detailed preparation all head honchos at companies MUST go through prior to receiving their first hefty pay check? Think again. I once heard an Exec say “Marketing and Communications classes were an irritant to my MBA pursuit.” I realised then and there this is how we are viewed – as irritants and get this, PR/ Communications folks may be irritants but media are seen as even more lowly to some of these decision makers. This makes our work hard.

So what do we do? We plan, prepare and pounce.

  • PLAN: If you can see the event coming (if its a planned event) – plan YOUR media strategy. Know what YOU as a PR professional would like to see as the out comes of said event. How will you measure your success and how can you align these achivements with the success desires of those in charge. Example: You want a print news story in the 1st 15 pages of the next day’s paper with at least 2 verbatim quotations. They want: A big picture with a check and a headline with their name in it…Great! How will you work with the media houses to achieve both the professional PR desired outcome and the outcome the poeple signing your check want? Strategize!
  • PREPARE: If a distinguished member of the media is assigned to your event – they are not coming to hang out and shake hands. PREPARE for THEM! Have a media sign in area – a programme with names and deisgnations. Ensure they are aware of who the dignatories are in the audience (aka: have a conversation that is newsworthy…you know, more than ‘Hi! Thanks for coming – you look nice’ – small talk is not what they came for. Give the media news. Prepare it and show them that. The best way to do this is to have a PREPARED media release as part of the media kit. Now, this is tricky, because quite often head honchos think pre-scripting a post event media release is crazy. “You must attend the event first, hear what everyone has to say and then proceed to write a prolificly detailed message.” Ok, that thinking is as old school as high top fades. Find a nice way to ensure the head honchos learn this. The best way to is advise the prepared release promotes accuracy.
  •  POUNCE:  You probably thought I meant pounce on the media. Negative. Pounce on your Executives pre and post the event. Pre the event force into their heads that there are things they just SHOULD NOT say and SHOULD CONSIDER avoiding. (yeah, note the tone. If you were speaking to a peer or someone that saw you, lowly PR person, as human, you would say – Don’t/Can’t…). Know what they are planning to wear – pounce on the lighting people to make that work so they look their best in photos. All in all – pounce all over that event before, during and after it happens. Pounce so hard after that you be sure to be 1st to submit the actual printed photo and news article to the very execs that wanted them. Don’t expect a reaction though. Consider yourself a Pouncing PR Dragon – you know, a hidden tiger. 🙂

So, to all the hidden tigers out there….Fear not. You can “get the media” – but it would be oh so much better to invite and make them feel appreciated – or at least understood.