Tag Archives: public relations


Mar 21, 2012

Transparency and Honesty – What Can It Buy You?

Honesty and transparency can sometimes cause a company headaches. Never let them see you sweat, right? Everything’s OK, nothing to see here… until the doors close. However, being up front with people can also buy you a new lease on life.

Read Carol Roth’s blog post about a pizza business in dire straits, the brutally honest email he sent to everyone on his email list, and the surprising reaction.

Note that he had PR people trying to talk him out of sending this email. They felt a crisis would ensue. Would this publicity crisis been any worse than the financial crisis he was facing? Another thing to consider here is that a similarly revealing email written in a more negative tone would have been a total flop. Had he adopted a “woe is me” attitude, his message would not have resonated, and would have likely alienated everyone. This is not to say that he wasn’t feeling negative at the time. Of course he was! He was about to close his business and put a bunch of people out of work. But he put on his brave pants and wrote a heartfelt message in an honest, humble tone, and the email’s recipients were able to wade through his words and understand what was at stake.

I am a huge fan of such communication.





Dec 27, 2011

Never Treat Your Customers Like This

Some people never cease to amaze.

Just read:

http://penny-arcade.com/2011/12/26/just-wow1

and http://www.geekosystem.com/avenger-controller-pr-berates-penny-arcade/

I learned of this situation via @reverendfitty and this tweet.

Takeaways:

1. I think there is a misperception amongst some people (knuckleheads, we’ll call them) that any publicity is good publicity. No, bad PR is bad. A local restaurant made similar mistakes, saying whatever they wanted and then thinking that deleting the offending comments made it all better (that restaurant is now closed). Yes, you can say whatever you want anytime you want; it’s a free country. However, know that you’re going to get some blowback shrapnel coming your way. If receiving such negative publicity is part of your business plan, then have at it. Otherwise, you’re probably sullying your brand.

2. Also, I don’t think these same knuckleheads understand the multiplicative power of social media. You simply cannot treat people like crap, because it’s so damned easy to out such behavior. Why would you ever say things like this to people, either online or off? Slightly offtopic: I’ve always wondered about the legality of posting such emails. Do you need permission? And does that depend on what state you’re in? I’ll have to ask my friends @CraigGMoore and @JeffSchultzEsq about this.

3. Finally, this is not a social media problem. This is just a human relations problem. This is one person or set of people treating another human being like shit. Social media takes the shitty treatment and airs it out for all to see. I’d like to think we’d see less (or none) of this as time goes by and more such examples are made public. But we should be clear that this is not a social media issue. It’s just a company treating its customers poorly.

REALLY AWESOME POSTSCRIPT: Out of business?

REALLY AWESOME POSTSCRIPT 2 – Here’s a 2012 business goal for you: make sure people DON’T make movies like this about your business! (WARNING: this video is rated R – it contains foul language. Do not watch it if you don’t want to hear such words)