Sunday, November 16, 2008

Confessions of a PR Ego-maniac

Public relations has the most impact when it is aligned with the sales, profitability and valuation goals of the business.

To achieve this strategic direction a company must often focus on the thought leadership of a specific executive. For instance, our corporate positioning campaign for government services firm Altron leveraged the industry reputation of their new president as a means of differentiating the company from similar providers in the public sector.

It’s never an ego-play though. I often tell clients that only your mom will be impressed with your photo in a magazine and she loves you regardless.

This is particularly true when it comes to customer case studies, a staple of most PR campaigns. The goal is to make the customer the hero, positioning the vendor as merely the resource that supported a successful program.

At Strategic Communications Group (Strategic), we’re fortunate to have an exceptional set of clients whose hard work, innovative thinking and commitment to success make them heroes to their respective companies. That’s especially true of BT Americas’ Jean Foster.

Jean has been our champion at BT since the beginning. She challenged the agency to design a social media and digital marketing program that would help drive success for several segments of BT’s business. And then she invested the time to educate us about their growth goals, sales methodology and competitive environment, while promoting our tactical accomplishments internally. Jean is tough, yet fair and supportive.

When the opportunity presented itself to promote BT’s social media program with BtoB Magazine we appropriately gave Jean the lead. She was a featured speaker at the magazine’s Net marketing breakfast in New York City which then resulted in this profile article in their current issue.

Writer Christopher Hosford was spot on his reporting. He addressed the business environment that led BT Americas to incorporate social media into its communications mix, how the program was designed and executed, and benchmarks for success. Something was missing from the article though: there’s no mention of Strategic.

I am thrilled that BtoB Magazine profiled Strategic’s work and excited for Jean. Yet, I spent some time on Friday stomping around the office bemoaning our lack of inclusion. One of my colleagues reminded me that success stories are about making the client the hero. True…yet it would have been great to show my mom the article too.

Read more about BT America’s social media and digital marketing program in this podcast with Jean Foster:

1 comment:

paulericdavis said...

This represents a classic PR conundrum. Sometimes when we communications pros lure reporters to a compelling story, we find they don't gravitate to all the aspects we hope they will -- which can be disappointing or frustrating after a lot of work.

But, beyond ensuring reporters understand the core messages and positioning, it's best to let them pursue the story that most excites them. The reality is that they will remember the firm or PR contact who turned them on to a great story and may leverage us more in future. Eventual coverage may pay greater dividends.

We PR pros should all take some heart in recalling that, despite the best strategic intentions and tactics, media coverage can still be a role of the dice. In the end, it's about the journey (relationships) as much as the destination (coverage).