Two letters cropped up again this week that have been the bane of my life in the PR industry.
Not Politically Correct, nor Personal Computer. No; the PC that I am referring to is the definition most non-PR savvy people use to describe our industry – the Press Conference.
Why is it the most competent of marketing or brand managers, working for some of the biggest global brands, continue to think that public relations comprises nothing more than a press conference?
My boss is coming to town, I need a press conference; we have changed the colour of our logo, I need a press conference; we’ve added lettuce to our new sandwich, I need a press conference.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that bosses coming to town, logo changes or food enhancements are all important to the respective people/clients who retain our services, but a PC is not the only way to garner publicity.
The mis-use of a press conference can have a more detrimental effect on an organization, than any minimal coverage garnered by going ahead with an event where a consultancy may have used up a lot goodwill in persuading a good media contact to attend – only for him and/or her to react the way you expected. Their valuable time has been wasted.
So if a client still wants to hold a press conference, ask them a few more basic questions starting with whether or not they have newsworthy information for the media. Does the press conference offer the media special advantages over simply picking up the press kit to learn about the new products such as presenting interesting visuals, hearing directly from technical experts and company representatives or providing hands-on opportunities of new products?
The boss coming to town isn’t enough. What your boss has to say is another story – forgive the pun – and to have him reveal information that will be of real interest to a publication’s readers is what we should be striving to achieve.
Do you really need a Press Conference?