The Death of a Publicist
Firstly, when times are busy, we don’t always do the due diligence that we should on clients and take them on board because it means more revenue and hopefully more profits, rather than a good fit.
Secondly, often we take things on face value and when someone needs your services and you believe you can help them, it appears on face value to be a ‘no brainer’.
And last, but not least, no matter how hard we try to be ahead of the game and how often we hear people try to fool us, it still happens. No-one, no matter how many knocks they have had, seems to be immune.
A couple of weeks ago, I met with a company that I really thought we could make a difference to. They needed PR and marketing, but in the first instance, wanted to get some good press for undisclosed reasons.
I met with them and was somewhat enthusiastic about what Marketing Eye could do. Afterall, improving people’s brands through the media and through our marketing efforts is what we do best.
After a secondary meeting and after Marketing Eye’s services were engaged, I was introduced to the newly appointed CEO, and have to say I was disappointed. Very disappointed.
Not only did she lack the ‘oomph’ of any CEO I have previously worked with, but there was a real issue with being misleading. Now, when you are dealing with media, this type of thing is something they see all the time and it doesn’t take them long to work it out. When they do, its disaster for any publicist.
I was dismayed after reminding the new CEO of what she said either on the phone or in person minutes ago and how the story kept changing, but she was completely unnerved and kept going and going. All taped I might add because I was meant to be getting content.
Other than a few body language indicators like scratching of her nose and pulling of her ear – if I didn’t have such a good memory, I would have let it just go by.
Ultimately, it is important that the product or service you market, is something that you wholeheartedly believe in.
It has to be something you can proudly talk about to journalists and stand by through good and bad press.
However, if the product or service is not quite right to start off with, you’re typically the wrong person/company to be representing it.
Honesty is important to me in business, in friendship and as a key value of each and every employee that Marketing Eye employs.
We have built a successful company where this has never been compromised.
Years ago, I worked with a dodgy property developer (or marketeer) who I didn’t have a clue about their dealings. We achieved remarkable good press for the owner in all the key editorials – The Australian, BRW etc and they were particularly focused on press about wealth creation and their ‘new found toys’, so I had an overwhelmed client and was giving myself some pats on the back for every win.
I thought this was all ego centric to be getting so much press about how rich this guy was and how many toys he had but at the time, there were a few of those around doing the same things, so I put it down to ‘new money’.
Then one fatal day, a journalist did their research to find that this person was not what they seemed.
They rung me and told me the facts and I was completely shocked.
I then rung the client and said that I could no longer represent them. They were taking none of that and threatened me with big muscly men. My youth at the time made this more amusing than scary, but I suppose in hindsight, I should have taken it a tad more seriously.
Whilst I was pondering what to do (and at the time was only 27 years old might I add), the journalist rung me (who was a Murdoch employee) and said that he and his family had just been threatened. I was mortified! I apologised profusely over and over again for introducing them, of which the journalist was ever so nice. I then basically crawled under a rock swearing that I would never deal with anyone that I have not done due diligence with again and if my gut instinct said ‘no’ it was ‘no!’.
Nevertheless back to my current story, I made a decision immediately that I could not represent this company with a CEO that couldn’t get their story straight. I had a conversation with her later in the week and advised her as much.
It’s these valuable lessons we learn in business that ensures that there is no ‘death of a publicist’ trying to promote the wrong brand for the wrong reasons.
The Marketing Eye brand is as much impacted by the quality service we provide as the clients we keep. It is important that we work with businesses that are aligned to our key values and that see honesty as being important.
Marketing Eye is a leading national marketing consultancy firm that specialises in helping small to medium sized businesses grow through marketing.
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