The current issue of Impact-the marketing, advertising & media weekly features a piece by me titled – In the News!- under their Insight/ My View section. Here is the text. Do leave your comments if this was useful.
A gentleman known to me, CEO of a mid-sized company, was looking a bit anxious when I met him recently to discuss their communication needs. He felt that his company wasn’t being featured enough in the media. “Why should the media talk about your company?” I probed. “Because we are the largest and the best”, was his confident reply. “But the media did cover that prominently when you became the largest player in your segment,” I reminded him, “What’s it that the company has done recently, to be in the news?” I asked.
Being in news is not the privilege. It is (or it should be, I think) the result of being responsible for action or plans that readers/viewers should know about. However, being in the news may not always be needed or even be necessary.
Being in the news out-of-context could mean an easy loss of reputation, built over years. A top television journalist, an icon, a pioneer in the truest sense of the word and much respected at one point in time, is today, referred to the media- in a slightly condescending and frivolous way – as ‘the most persevering partygoer’. Does it affect her reputation as a cutting-edge, prolific debater of serious issues? I think it does – at least among some of her viewers. Should she party less? – NO – we are merely talking about ‘being in the news… for the wrong reasons’.
There is growing concern among communication professionals on adoption of the ‘paid coverage’ phenomenon by one of the largest media houses in the country. What if more were to follow suit? How would products/ organizations/ people find a mention in the media?
In a way, the practice by the said media group, besides throwing open the debate on the ethics and correctness of it- some believe that, maybe it’s ok to charge for covering a party, but who is answerable if the media charges a fee for promoting a product, which the consumers will then PAY for and buy? – has brought out the need to adopt a more holistic approach to public relations.
The media is today, but one way – albeit a very important one – to reach out to the stakeholders. More and more people & organizations are today managing their relationships through personal, contextual efforts- seminars, talks, events, scholarships, employee rewards, newsletters, sponsorships, case studies, white-papers, CSR initiatives and now, of course, blogs. Change as they say, is always for the better, for it has brought out the need to explore many of these latent tools, hitherto not invested into by that many.
Talking about investments, many organizations and corporates are today investing in ‘properties’ that will give them not just domain leadership and recognition, but also news value. The Fortune 500 list of world’s largest corporates is such a property for the Fortune Magazine. Every year corporates strive to make it into the list – their leap into the big league. The report is read by millions, quoted extensively by the world media, but it doesn’t end here – the magic continues. Most, if not all, of the 500 organizations featured in the list, ALSO, extensively quote their respective positions in the list – in press articles, company newsletters, corporate presentations etc- thereby generating even more credibility, recognition, recall for the FORTUNE brand.
Properties like this, however, take large investments, careful and consistent nurturing over years. Properties are a ‘time’ phenomenon and it takes time to establish one.
However, small beginnings, with very little monetary investment, can also reap rich rewards. A few years ago, we identified one such possibility for a dot.com client. The client had always been keen to project the site as a tool for research, so we thought “Why not do it ourselves?” A quarterly ‘trends survey’, giving customer insights in that sector, proved to be not just a wonderful way to showcase the research capability of the site, but the findings were extensively quoted in the media adding to the site’s credibility and traffic.
Efforts like this can and will hopefully manage to beat the ‘paid coverage’ phenomenon irrespective of how many media houses adopt it, for the media needs news and views, and anyone who gets it new, topical or relevant information that the AUDIENCE maybe are interested in knowing more about, will get featured.
PS: That’s Vikram Sakhuja on the cover, NOT me.
Disclaimer: Views of authors are personal and do not represent the views of Blogworks, or any of its clients.