Never Say Never

June 2, 2017

by Roger Pynn

We can all hope that British Airways never again has an IT failure like the one that stranded thousands of passengers over the weekend, and while it may be a laudable objective, saying you plan to never let something terrible happen again is an all-in bet you might not want to make.

“Once the disruption is over, we will carry out an exhaustive investigation into what caused this incident, and take measures to ensure it never happens again,” BA CEO Alex Cruz said.

Those advising Cruz on messaging should have known better and that in an industry that has been taking so many hits, erring on the side of caution is the best rule.  Just as you can’t be sure you won’t have an unruly passenger or turbulent weather, you can’t promise technology won’t fail.

So what makes sense in a case like this when the pressure is on?  Perhaps you advise your executive to acknowledge that “in today’s technology dependent world we all know the potential for glitches, but it behooves us to investigate this situation exhaustively and do everything in our power to find solutions and redundant protection for the future.  We truly apologize and appreciate the patience of all those who were inconvenienced.”


Timing is Everything

February 9, 2017

by Kacie Escobar

Chili’s just lifted its permanent ban on Pam Beesly Halpert … and fans of NBC’s “The Office” are eating it up.

In a memorable episode, Pam (played by Jenna Fischer) is banned from the restaurant for causing a disturbance during a company party.  Asking fans whether she should go inside, the actress recently tweeted a selfie in front of a Chili’s, triggering nearly 500,000 combined retweets, likes and comments.

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Chili’s was quick to reply and “officially” lift the ban on Fischer’s character.

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Complete with a quote from the company president, the announcement extended the life of the social media event across two days.  It even prompted some of Fischer’s co-stars to join the fun, enabling the brand to reach thousands of additional followers:

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Because of its timely response, Chili’s is now on a growing list of brands that have successfully capitalized on popular culture to boost social media engagement.  These brands understand that the timing of your communication is just as important as the message.


Want to Avoid Negative Reviews? Provide Better Service.

August 4, 2014

by Dan Ward

Mashable reported on Monday about the Union Street Guest House in Hudson, NY, which threatens to fine guests $500 for negative reviews.

In what will be a surprise to no one except the Union Street Guest House management team, this policy has resulted in an increase in negative reviews, mostly from people who have not stayed there but who believe the policy to be absurd.

Here’s a thought for the Guest House team:  if you’re upset about negative reviews, provide better service.  You might even try listening to what your guests are telling you and making changes to provide a better experience.

The Guest House explains on its website that it is not for everyone, and that its vintage look is sometimes unpopular with guests.  Instead of fining those who don’t like the look, the Guest House should try targeting its message to those who will.


Targeted Messages more Important than Ever

August 29, 2008

by Roger Pynn

Communicators – marketers, advertising folks and public relations people – talk a lot about target audiences, and as Brian Reich points out in a blog entry at the Public Relations Society of America’s blog ComPRehension, new media and new technology may be causing static between message sender and message receiver.

Communications models have long taught us that the responsibility for a message being received lies with the sender, because static and noise can interrupt even the most carefully crafted message on its way to the receiver.

Reich, author of Media Rules!, offers an important precaution: don’t let the toys and the new technology become your new static.

He’s so right. Far too much of the dialogue among public relations people today is about the medium … not the message … which brings us way too close to proving Marshall “the medium is the message” McLuhan right. It isn’t about Twitter and it isn’t about your iPhone.

Message is always first. Without a message you have no reason to communicate. Whether we choose some old fashioned form of delivery (like a postcard or a newspaper) or instead create a viral pathway through a social network, we ought to be more concerned with targeted messages.

Let’s not leave the target audience asking “WHAT?”


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