Posts Tagged Mallabo

Media relations is a wee portion of brand communications

I remember not too long ago that the “PR guy” was the guy who wrote press releases and called down a list of reporters to ask if they got the release or not.

I swear. Like acid wash jeans — this happened!

While I think it’s been fascinating to watch the art of story telling make its way into PR and communications work, I think it’s even more important to see how the convergence of traditional PR with areas that might have been called marketing in the past is changing the way we think of PR and how we organize the function — whether it is in-house or on the agency side. I’ve been interviewing and prospecting for clients over the last 5 months and I can usually tell by the line of questioning whether or not the opportunity is going to be a good fit or not.

When a prospective employer or client asks me about my media contacts the giant reg flag goes up and I start looking for the exit signs. But when the questions are about engaging the right audiences using a mix of tactics and levers I think: “Winner, winner chicken dinner!”

So many companies go to PR people to help fix the business or make management happy that they lose sight of why you would initiate a communications campaign and they go into the market shopping for tactics instead of results. Here are some questions I’d ask if my boss told me to go get some PR help:

  1. What are we solving for?
  2. What exactly do you expect to get with more ‘coverage’?
  3. How should we integrate it with social, marketing, employee communications and the brand?

The answers to 1 and 2 are often intertwined in some sloppy hot mess about driving sales or the stock price or the b-word that drives strategic communications people the battiest: buzz. Whoever sold and popularized that BS term “buzz marketing and PR” needs to be dunked in a vat of ice and forced to watch re-runs of the first season of Seinfeld. If you can nail down the business objectives and explain that coverage is no panacea then and only then do you move on to 3.

This is organizational design and the only way you get to keep your job a year from now when someone asks why what’s on Facebook isn’t aligned with what’s on the blog and in the press coverage.

The best PR functions I’ve seen of late are built like this:

At the heart is the brand — including the stories and messages that work to connect with people over the long term — supported by an integrated effort of all the areas a person could come into contact with it and your product. Amazon and Apple have raised the bar very high here . . . and have wired people to expect a similarly consistent and high-level experience with every other brand and story they come into contact with — including yours.

So, who is the PR person today?

A story teller who can organize campaigns at the brand level and across all these domains. Let me know if you are in the market for one, because I may know a really handsome, witty guy who will ask you incessantly: “So, what are we solving for?”

– Jose Mallabo 

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3 things that don’t matter to the unemployed

3. Dry cleaning. Outside of damp, chilly days in November there’s no reason to wear wool. Except for at work. With the U.S. unemployment rate still clawing at double digits, sheep everywhere are fist bumping and hoping mutton never becomes a universal delicacy.

Take the unemployment check and leave us be, please

Take the unemployment check and leave us be, please

2. The latte. Don’t agree? Just look at Starbucks’ performance over the past year. They brought back Howard Schultz to right the ship, but the company that made coffee both mainstream and exclusive still reported a net earnings drop of more than $83 million.

1. Saturdays. To the guy sorting through hourly, Saturdays are what Mondays are to people with jobs. Stores are crowded as everyone is off from work trying to get shopping done.  I once heard that Wednesday is the most heavily trafficked day of the week. Makes sense, only the dense or truly sick call in sick mid-week. So while the workforce is busy trying to stimulate the economy, the 9 percent not working are home cheering you on so they can some day soon stop blogging in boxer shorts and queue up behind you for a $4 coffee and wonder if that wool suit you’re wearing was off the rack or tailor-made. Until then, Wednesdays are my new Saturdays.

– Jose Mallabo

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