In his bestselling leaflet titled Growth Hacker Marketing (a 100-page book cannot be called differently), which contains plenty of approximations and wrong case studies, Ryan Holiday writes as follows:
«If I were in PR, I’d quit because it sucks. It’s a bunch of relationships with people who don’t matter that much anymore (i.e., legacy media reporters)».
Ryan Holiday should ask
if reporters are «people who don’t matter that much anymore».
I understand that controversy is one of the very few ways that nowadays can help you get your message out there. But controversies must be justified.
It might be because I am not that much into giving the people what they want, but giving the people what they need.
This makes me an utter dictator from a political point of view, but that doesn’t matter, as business isn’t a democracy at all: either you do what works or you are out.
What you think is right must face the outcome of numbers.
What Ryan Holiday got correct is that if you want to create repeat customers you need to create a movement of people with your same beliefs, and beliefs are those intangible pillars that lead you to action.
Together with controversy, there is another potential trigger that savvy marketers are able to leverage: breaking the axiom.
If you think I don’t like Ryan Holiday, you are completely wrong. His book Trust me, I’m Lying is full of insightful operative directions that as a new entrepreneur you should consider applying with utmost urgency if
Going back to the topic, there are two kinds of broadcast PR you should avoid as an evil spirit when under the constraints of holy water:
Black PR is the opposite of positive PR, and it undermines your credibility. In the broadcast world Black PR is usually the result of a scandal coming from leaked information given to the press.
According to the deontological code of a journalist, you will hardly know who leaked the information and how he or she got it. But the press will show no mercy with all the dust you have been hiding under the carpet for a long time.
WHERE DOES BLACK PR COME FROM?
Black PR comes from three possible sources:
When it comes to Black PR you shouldn’t blame journalists, but yourself.
A journalist does his job: reporting the news.
It’s you, as a professional or as an entrepreneur, who should know how far you can go with things that might not be illegal but are for sure socially unacceptable.
When it comes to Black PR, you suddenly discover that the members of the industry association, clubs, etc. that warmly welcomed you at any event have never been that friendly after all.
They can’t wait to see you out of the market to get a share of what you have left.
Joining an industry association is one of the most absurd and irrational things an entrepreneur can do: how can you associate and share responsibilities with the same people you compete with on a daily basis?
Under the heavy fire of the press, you are just carrion for vultures.
And the vultures aren’t the journalists at all. They are those who intend to share deeper insights and details with the press to kick you out of the market as soon as possible.
They are your competitors or someone in your company who couldn’t get what he wanted.
Jesus Christ got it right: it is usually one of those who have shared your bread with that is going to betray you.
Once Black PR has started, it will be very complicated for you to rebuild a reputation.
Especially when people look after your name when they google it.
PR THAT COMES FROM A LINE EXTENSION
If your company is already a big brand, it might be hard for you to attract the interest of the media unless you provide them with a positive insight that will help you make the news.
This is the essence of PR:
PR is creating the news to make the news.
What major companies do to attract the news isn’t creating circumstances that will favourably endorse their existing products and reward the focus of the brand, but rather extending the line of products they offer and “sell” those line extensions as an INNOVATION.
This is tactically a clever move: Innovation makes the news.
Strategically speaking, it is a tragedy…
Even if these line extensions attract considerable publicity, they are damaging the brand in the medium-long term.
The issue is complicated, and I can’t explain why without too many examples for a blog article. If you have read my book, you already know.
If you haven’t, you can purchase it by clicking on the link you find on the right side of this page, and you will discover how the most sophisticated research in consumer psychology goes against the present marketing trends. Those research studies are accompanied by a considerable number of factual case studies you shouldn’t ignore.
To sum up:
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Founder and Managing Director at POWER BRAND. PR that Sells for Startups and SMEs,
How to turn your content into a PR advocate
Why you should write a book from a PR perspective
How to use PR to disqualify your competition
How to get media coverage by giving the media what they want
Brand Positioning. Broadcast PR. Brand domination.