It’s Your Story. You Should Tell It.
Is public relations an essential element in the branding / marketing mix? Absolutely. Do you want your competitors telling your story, or do you want to take control over how you, your product / service and company are being portrayed?
It behooves companies to be forthright about what they doing, they’re successes, their products – and even, how they’re correcting missteps. It’s all a part of being transparent and authentic. But don’t mistake being ‘transparent’ as being ‘available’ 24/7. There may be times when it isn’t in your best interests to be included in a highly controversial or negative story. That’s where a good agency comes into play and helps facilitate the appropriate response. But make no mistake, ‘no response’ is not a response. At the very least, it’s not one that will be respected by the media or help build your relationship with them. Any respected reporter or editor knows that there will be times when companies will not want to go on record, even if it has something to do with their industry, a competitor, or even a similar product category. That’s a given. But if there is something you can provide for the story, even another reference, it goes a long way to being a cooperative, reputable source. And in our experience, that sort of responsiveness goes a long way towards building a positive relationship with boundaries that are respected.
We have found that honesty is respected and timely responsiveness is appreciated. When a reporter is on deadline, he/she will appreciate a response within the designated timeframe. Even if the response is declining to comment on a particular topic, it is, at the very least, respectful to the reporter to get back to them.
So work with your agency (or ours!) to develop an authentic, branded voice for your company and/or product, and treat the media as respected colleagues versus adversaries. It’s the first step to achieving balance in the media and taking control of your brand voice.