I remember when I was a kid my mother telling me, “Don’t sign your name to anything that you wouldn’t be afraid of appearing one day on the front page of the New York Times.” How true these words of wisdom were then, and how they still apply to developing and maintaining a positive public relations image.
Today, with the advent of the internet, it seems that everyone is obsessed with themselves—and others—from constant social media updates, including those ubiquitous snaps of what they’re eating—to selfies. But heed the warning of my mother and beware of the following:
Photos–The next time you go to post photos of your awkward encounters, including drinking, carousing and canoodling, think about what mother said—and don’t do it. It can come to haunt you in the future. Today, employers often ask not only to view your social media sites, but also ask for passwords so they can take a closer look. Don’t risk it.
Social sites—The same warning goes for sites like Facebook and Twitter where people often vent their hostilities towards people, places and things. Mom would tell you to Inhale, breathe slowly and take a minute to rethink posting hostile posts. Like those irreverent photos, they too have a life of their own. And in the corporate world, where you may go to seek future employment, well, this just may be a hindrance. But, on the other hand, a little reverence may go a long way by posting comments/opinions/complaints on company social sites, such as their Facebook or Twitter, and often will engender a rapid response.
Emails—Need I say more than these two words: Hillary Clinton. Be aware that emails too have a life of their own and a strange way of never disappearing—they are like that stray piece of dog hair that sticks to your clothing and try as you may, never gets pulled off. That’s what happens to emails. After you write them, again, think about taking that extra breathe, inhale and then fully contemplate the possible ramifications of the contents of your email appearing on the front page of the New York Times.And, another point of interest: Be aware of that reply to all button, and try NOT to hit it, especially when replying on personal matters. Everyone remembers at least once occasion when that button got us in trouble.
If you are one of the lucky ones to have invented a new product or service, look or even better a new product category, the likelihood of it being successfully introduced to the general public without public relations and marketing support is highly unlikely. This proverbial: ahorse won’t drink the water unless you take him to it, so to speak. So how do you accomplish this?
Well, first and foremost is the use of a public relations agency that will work with you to develop a brand strategy and a launch strategy. Working with both the traditional media (print and broadcast) and the new media (social and websites), an agency experienced in new product and new service introductions will often initiate the following media tactics:
Press Releases. There are certain basic PR tactics that should be done as a matter of course, when you are releasing a new product, starting a business or want to tell the public about any new business related development. Press releases are probably the best known PR technique of all.
Media deskside briefings. In an instance where you have actually created a new product category (lucky you), the PR agency may set up a series of one-on-one meetings right at the media outlet’s office. More cost-efficient then a press conference, and obviously more intimate, the PR person can describe and actually demonstrate a new product.
Product reviews. New product reviews by critical media and bloggers only help to elevate your product’s visibility among your target audiences. Public relations agencies may distribute product samples to targeted media for review. Good reviews may be posted on your product website as a badge of honor.
Contests. Working with the media, your public relations agency may suggest implementing a consumer-based contest in a magazine or newspaper. With this, the media will call upon their readership to actually participate in a contest, the prize being your product sample.
Spokesperson. It is always wise to appoint either a client-based internal spokesperson as the media liaison, or, if not available, to seek out, train, and work with an external spokesperson, such as a celebrity, book author, etc. Often you can work out a deal that you will allow the book author to promote their book in return for promoting your new product—this way you can avoid having to pay for their time.
Live events. Live events can include many different possibilities, from the conventional to the more outrageous guerrilla marketing tactics. Involvement in trade shows, charity events and publicity stunts are the kind of thinking out of the box tactics that a good public relations agency can suggest and implement on your behalf.
A well timed and clearly executed public relations program can go a long way to helping successfully introduce a new product, service, or business. How else will you get those horses to drink the water?