This post was written by littleBIG’s PR Specialist Camilla Speirs, one of Melbourne’s all time PR guns. Camilla’s a pro when it comes to media communications and smart strategy so listen up y’all…
For some time now PR’s all over the world have been slotted into a not so positive stereotype. Let’s call it an over exaggerated untruth. This stereotype includes amongst other traits, the ability to mislead media in a desperate effort to secure coverage for clients without so much as the blink of an eye. And, apparently all PR’s favour the statement all PR is good PR regardless of their client’s business, service or offering.
In truth, the stereotype is far from the truth, as is the old adage that all PR is good PR. The modern PR consultant comes in a myriad of forms and if they are worth their salt, encapsulate a good mixture of strategic thinking, flexibility, creativity, education, life experience and engaging communication skills. All carefully honed in order to garner opportunities in the media for brand exposure targeting a specific audience. Therefore, most PR’s are equipped with the knowledge that all PR is not always good PR.
So, why is all PR not good PR? Simple, just think about it this way. The theory claims if people are talking about you or your brand, even if the discussion is negative, that it still creates recall at a point of choice or purchase and will positively affect a consumer’s decision-making process. And that even if they decide not to purchase from said brand, the time spent thinking about the decision creates an even stronger memory recall for the next purchase situation. However, lets use negative food PR as an example of how bad PR can backfire.
A recognised packaged food company is accused of bad process and taking advantage of their growers and suppliers. They receive huge media coverage for poor treatment of the people who make it possible for that business to be successful. The next time a grocery shopper is in the supermarket, knowing that a big business has taken advantage of the ‘little people’ will have a negative impact on purchase decisions.
And a similar scenario applies for a service or offering, for example in politics. A relatively unknown politician, yet to really make their mark and solidify their profile makes a poor decision, which is then publicised by the media. The politician then becomes known for that poor decision. Next time they are in a role where important decisions need to be made, which affects every day people, does the taxpayer have faith in the politician? No. Do they want that politician to be in a position making decisions that affect their family? No. When the next election rolls around, do people want to vote for that politician? No. Bad PR in this case does not equal positive results.
At the end of the day, negative information about a brand, a personality or a company can have a detrimental affect on a business. If your PR consultant or agency uses those five short but impactful words, all PR is good PR, you know they are trying to convince you that any acknowledgement of you or your brand is good. This often means they haven’t been able to secure meaningful or relevant coverage for you thus are holding onto even the negative coverage as proof they have done their job. No matter how they wrap it up, ultimately it is probably a statement made in an effort to convince you (and probably themselves) that the job is done.