Out of the Blue: PR Measurement News

Thursday, September 14, 2006 Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Read 'Em and Weep   VOLUME 2 ISSUE 1  
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Read 'Em and Weep
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Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: The Sweet Smell of Diapers
August 11, 2006
Vol. 1 Issue 9
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Who Do You Love?
June 1, 2006
Vol. 1 Issue 8
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Goose Me!
April 25, 2006
Vol. 1 Issue 7
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Some Animals Eat Their Young
March 19, 2006
Vol. 1 Issue 6
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: New Year's Resolutions
February 13, 2006
Vol. 1 Issue 5
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Setting Goals for Press Coverage
November 21, 2005
Vol. 1 Issue 4
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Rating the News
October 14, 2005
Vol. 1 Issue 3
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Internet Impressions
September 2, 2005
Vol. 1 Issue 2
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Reputation
August 3, 2005
Vol. 1 Issue 1
September 14, 2006
Read 'Em and Weep
When Consumers Expect More Than What They Bought...
by Neal Combs

Hurricane Damage in the calm after the storm.
Need something a bit more difficult to ponder than the square root of Paris Hilton's boyfriends? How about the old which-came-first game? Chicken or egg? Too cliché. Let's try wind or water damage.

Home Is Where The Heart(less) Is
In areas of the country damaged by Hurricane Katrina last year, some people whose houses can not even be FOUND, haven't received an insurance settlement because it can not be determined whether the house was demolished by wind or water. That's right. It makes a difference. The house is MISSING, and someone needs to decide if it was wiped out by wind (covered) or water (not covered). To add to the degree of difficulty, not to mention the degree of absurdity, the water part of the equation has a sub-category. Heavy rain? Covered. Flood water? Not covered.

Hook A Brother Up
One can imagine the late Johnny Cochran, a native son of Shreveport, fighting his way back from the grave, being retained to shill for the insurance industry, and loudly proclaiming, If your house has been hit, we don't give a . . . crap. All right, all right. Johnny HAS been dead for awhile and it is fairly obvious that the ability to rhyme is the first skill you lose in the coffin. Once planted, the body may flow, but the words won't go. More than half the coverage of insurance news in August mentioned claims and denials from the hurricane a year ago.

Coverage? Oops. That's Extra
What's next? Will reporters leading the current charge against home insurers move on to other sectors of insurance? After all, all insurance policies exclude something. Well ma'am, if you read the fine print you will find that we are not liable for damage that falls under the Sir Isaac Newton clause. Anything discovered by Mr. Newton immediately voids your coverage. Gravitational pull, the speed of sound through air, and at least two of the three laws of motion all seemed to have played a part in your fender bender. However, we do have some good news. Your rate increase just approached the speed of sound. Can we make this a direct debit from your account?

By Check? Through The Mail?
When are insurance companies reluctant to hand money to judges or politicians? When it must pass OVER the table. Among the people filing suit in Mississippi are Senator Trent Lott, U.S. District Court Judge Louis Guirola Jr., and U.S. Representative Gene Taylor. They, along with thousands of other Mississippi residents, say their insurance companies are being less than fair in their settlement offers which only adds fuel to the media fire. Negatively rated impressions outweigh positive ones in every case.

But We Have Cute Animal Mascots
Bad coverage abounds in the storm damaged areas, and insurance companies are fighting that battle in the media instead of the mailbox. Shoot a warm, fuzzy commercial? Yeah, baby. Cut a check? Umm, not so much.

Your grandmother told you, It's always time to do the right thing. Insurance companies dealing with Katrina claims may want to take a moment to brush up on history. In 1906, Fireman's Fund Insurance did the right thing after the San Francisco earthquake. They paid claims in unique ways that saved their company money and also created goodwill with their customers. For the 100th anniversary of the Great Quake, major media outlets throughout the country ran extensive coverage that still paints a picture of an insurance company with both heart and smarts. The Great Quake: 1906-2006, Funding the recovery. An outstanding piece of PR work there, with a hundred year positive effect on the company's reputation.

Media managers, we hope you can tell that story of doing the right thing. May your media measurements prove that your positively rated coverage is rising and that a decline in the sheer volume of these claim denial stories is in sight.

1 Print and online data from FactivaTM, August 2006 press coverage. Only selected insurance companies shown.

Published by Blue Marble Enterprises, Inc.
Copyright 2006 Blue Marble Enterprises, Inc.. All rights reserved.

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