Out of the Blue: PR Measurement News

Tuesday, December 12, 2006 Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Do You Hear What I Hear?   VOLUME 2 ISSUE 3  
Public Relations Measurement
Do You Hear What I Hear?
Be Quotable To Get Quoted
Premium-Quality Media Training, Bargain-Basement Prices
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Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Viral: Virtual, Voracious and Vital
October 21, 2006
Vol. 2 Issue 2
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Read 'Em and Weep
September 14, 2006
Vol. 2 Issue 1
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
December 12, 2006
Do You Hear What I Hear?
Loose Lips Sink Ships
by Neal Combs

Shut Up!

Help Wanted. Special Abilities Required.

WANTED: HR Director for Genghis Kahn dba Mongol Hordes.

WANTED: Marriage counselor to Britney Spears.

WANTED: Chargé de Hair for Donald Trump.

Oh! And...
WANTED: Spokesperson for Wal-Mart.

Certain jobs just carry a set of challenges that separate them from the average way to earn a paycheck. When Wal-Mart felt the need to add some weight to their stable of PR representatives, a former US Ambassador to the U.N., active civil rights veteran and personal friend of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. seemed like a pretty safe bet. Well, at least it did until Andrew Young broke out with this comment when asked if Wal-Mart was the cause of smaller Mom and Pop stores being run out of business:

Well, I think they should [run them out]; they ran the 'mom and pop' stores out of my neighborhood. But you see, those are the people who have been overcharging us, selling us stale bread and bad meat and wilted vegetables. And they sold out and moved to Florida. I think they've ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it's Arabs; very few black people own these stores. 1

Oops! Was that bad?
Maybe that all-inclusive, non-judgmental kind of talk works at the U.N., but it just won’t fly in the retail world of always-low-prices.

"I think I was on the verge of becoming part of the controversy, and I didn't want to become a distraction from the main issues, so I thought I ought to step down," said Mr. Young.

It warmed several hearts when Young regained his sense of understatement just in time to resign. Oddly enough, at the same moment, the Grand Canyon was on the verge of becoming an example of soil erosion. Who knew? Recovering from a media relations turn for the worse after racist remarks by Wal-mart PR leader.

I Want To Take You Higher
So how much worse is a PR disaster when it is perpetrated by a former Ambassador? High profile, coupled with highly inappropriate, creates an even lower PR dip than “normal”. It cost Mr. Young his job and earned Wal-Mart an extra 136 million negative media impressions to work off in the 90 days that followed.

Vanna, May I have an “S”?
Once Wal-Mart made it clear that stereotyping Jews, Koreans and Arabs as purveyors of wilted produce to the black community was not their official corporate position, they quickly moved to stamp out an even greater threat - the continued insistence of every person over the age of 70 to refer to the company as Wal-Marts with an "s". No word yet if they have hired Yogi Berra2 as Mr. Young's replacement.

1 Wal-Mart Image-Builder Resigns, August 18, 2006 By MICHAEL BARBARO and STEVEN GREENHOUSE
Are civil rights leaders racists, too?
2 Yogi-isms, famous misstatements by Yogi Berra
How many times can one man put his own foot in his mouth?

Neal Combs learned to write in the first grade. Eventually learning to read during high school, he discovered a variety of deficiencies in his early work, which necessitated the long and torturous job of editing everything previously produced. He is now up to June of 1973. Stay tuned and please disregard any references to President Nixon and Captain Kangaroo. You can reach him at nealcom@gmail.com.

December 12, 2006
Be Quotable To Get Quoted
Why are you talking? What do you want to say?
by Jerry Brown, APR

Jerry Brown, APR

The best way to get quoted by the media is to say quotable things to or within earshot of reporters.

But getting quoted by the media is a two-edged sword. Say the right thing and you may be a hero. Say the wrong thing and you may regret it forever.

Unfortunately, the fear of making a mistake makes too many people who talk to the media overly cautious. And then they wonder why their side of the story doesn’t get told.

You do need to be careful when you’re talking to or within earshot of reporters. But you can be careful and still be quotable. You just need to understand why you’re talking to the media (your objective), what you want to say (your message) and what you want to avoid saying. And then you need to stick to that agenda.

That’s why I believe anyone who talks to the media should be media trained. And, if you can afford it, I recommend you track who within your organization is being quoted in the media – and how they’re being quoted.

How many times last quarter was your CEO quoted? Your CFO? The media spokesperson on your public relations staff? What percentage of the time was each of them on message?

If you find some of your spokespeople are consistently on message and others aren’t, that’s information you can use to make corrections. And if you already know you have executives who are consistently off message, you have a tool to help them see that for themselves if they’re not willing to listen to the people who work for them.

Jerry Brown committed journalism for 20 years and has been practicing public relations for more than 20 years. He plans to keep practicing until he gets it right, which he hopes takes a long time because he enjoys what he does. You can reach him jerry@pr-impact.com or 303-781-8787.

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

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