Friday, December 2, 2016

How to Win Friends and Influence People

A recent conversation with a brand manager went something like this:

Brand Manager - "But I thought you loved brand x?"

Henki - "I love the watches, but the people at HQ are pretty rude."
(In fairness, I named names and used language a might bit stronger, but you get the point).


So here to follow are Henki's tips for the care and feeding of a positive press relationship:

1.  When you communicate directly with the press, whether you are in sales, in service, pr or marketing, you are the face of that brand to that press person.  If you are rude or indifferent, they will remember that.  Chances are they won't take it personally, but it will color the lenses that they view your brand through.

2.  Don't ask other news outlets to promote articles written by their competitors.  It is frustrating when you spend your time and your money to cover a brand, and then they send you a press release written by a competitor that they have paid, fed, watered and pampered and ask you to promote it for them.  It would be like me sending an article to the PR wing of Eterna promoting the new in-house movements of Breitling and asking them to promote it to their retail partners. 

3.  Don't "borrow" ideas from a blogger or journalist, use the idea for your PR/Marketing campaign, pass the idea off as your own, then claim credit for yourself. 
Yes, you know who you are. 

4.  Don't play favorites.  Yes, Hodinkee, A Blog to Watch and Watch Anish all have big audiences.  But that does not mean that I will want to cover their co-branded event with your brand AFTER you have already given them the news item 24, 48 or 72 hours in advance.  If you are going to play favorites that way, don't be surprised when other outlets stop covering you.  One PR office said that I should be happy because I was in the third group that they sent the news to.  Sounds like Prom Night all over again.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm my own favorite blogger.

5.  Remember that the purpose of having a press/pr/marketing office is to actually ENGAGE with the people who might, I don't know, actually write something favorable about the brand that pays the salary of the press/pr/marketing office.

And perhaps most important of all, keep this in mind - a brand is not a stand alone item.  A brand is actually the PEOPLE who work there.  Some of my favorite people in the industry are friends that I have made while covering a brand that they worked for.  If I am honest, I often look forward to BaselWorld for the time I will have to reconnect with those people than to see new watches.  It may be that they will have moved to different brands that I have not covered before, but I will want to cover those brands now.  Not necessarily because the watches are more interesting, but because I have connected with the people behind it.

A brand is the PEOPLE that work for it.  Not the other way around.

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