Personality PR...where to stop...
It's always a quandary. Your company has an enigmatic CEO...charismatic, great personality, brushes up nicely...so the obvious thing is to indulge in some personality PR. Profiles in the trades - maybe even a national - put a human face on the company. But what happens when a better offer comes along and she clears off? You're a bit stuck then. It's a tough one.
The other question, of course, is where do you draw the line? The CEO's an obvious choice...head tech guy too possibly...CFO? Perhaps. UK Press Advisor..? Umm, probably not. Unless you're BitDefender, that is.
A UK tech hack's been in touch. He received an email today with the title: "News from BitDefender - appointment of UK press advisor" and he's less than impressed. Not least because this was the first line of the email:
"BitDefender, an award winning provider of antivirurs software and data security solutions, has set up a UK press centre"
Spot the deliberate mistake...
The new UK press advisor is called Mike Ottewell, an "experienced PR consultant, specialising in IT and business management technologies."
We have to say that we have some sympathy with BitDefender. We've been there...you've got a new PR person on board, a new contact for the press, and you're keen to let them know he's around. But our hack isn't sure it's the best approach. Over to him:
"This email was sent out by none other than experienced PR consultant Mike Ottewell himself, who is clearly so good at his job he thinks such self-publicity will be well received on newsdesks the length and breadth of the country.
"In fact he was clearly so busy blowing his own trumpet he didn't stop to proof read his own email - spot the glaring typo in the very first sentence he ever wrote for his new client. Still, "antivirus" is a tricky word and it's not like he's going to have to write it much... working for an antivirus company and all.
"For somebody who is such an "experienced PR consultant" it seems incredible it didn't dawn on Ottewell that journalists really don't give a rat's ass when a company announces a new press spokesperson (with the utmost respect). It certainly isn't news, which is how this non-story was billed. If he was just updating our contact lists fair enough, but he billed this as "news" - thus setting himself a very low bar in terms of what passes as news for BitDefender (there's nothing like managing your client's expectations).
"But the truth is, as long as a press contact is good at their job (and the above already puts a question mark over Ottewell) and are able to communicate with the press well, that's all that matters to us simple journalists. For the same reason nobody was writing stories about the valets at the Oscars or the woman who buys the tit-tape at London fashion week, good PR people are not the story."
Right then. We'll bear that in mind.