Thursday, June 11, 2009

Media Relations – Keep Moving Forward

Referring to chapter six of the book “Media Relations” the right way to present the own company nowadays is a good and elaborate marketing strategy. The public have to remember about a special kind of brand all the time. Most of the financial institutions have lost their reputation during the financial crisis in 2008 and the beginning of 2009. For the banks this means, they have to win back again the lost confidence of their customers.

Now, the customers are past the angry phase, and everyone is waiting to see what the banks will do. That means the banks have to be active. They must organize a direct advertisement about their products and the independence about coming financial crises. This can either be provided by specific advertising messages or by interviews put well. The banks use all kinds of media, for example newspaper, billboards, television etc. Especially in interviews, banks have the chance to give an awesome statement about the capability and the security for their customers. On the other hand, strategically unfavorable interviews or badly prepared statements can harm the bank more as help.

My main article shows the different kinds of efforts from financial institutions to reviewing their public image and to win their customers back. There are some examples about banks, like Citigroup or Bank of America, released a large campaign for its business. Furthermore, some video examples of smaller financial institutions can be seen with advertizing measures.

Every bank has to report the annual balance amount and the profit and loss. Therefore my financial institution also has to publish its annual result. We gave statements in newspaper, on press conference and sometimes on television. I support the management to create the statement. In additional, there are many principles how to make a good statement on television. The statement must be planned strategically and the information processed first of all exactly. The information must exactly and briefly be processed. This gives the CEO safety and a good stand for questions of the reporters. Till now, we have always achieved good successes with our interviews. “The success gives us right.”

My blog based on a currently "real-world" example from my occupation. The topic from the chapter six was pick up in an article from “The New York Times”, published June 8th 2009. Complete in electronic form – the link will give the whole article.

“In Ads, Banks Try the Warm, Cozy Approach"

I still have found some interesting videos about the basic principles of good interviews as well as examples about good and bad interviews on the Internet.

Interesting advices about interviews: “Media Relations Strategies - Chapter Four”

Positive example of an interview: “Crisis PR interview”

Negative example of an interview: “Interview gone bad”

Funny example of an interview: “Extremely Funny Interview Gone Wrong”


  1. I really appreciates the way Diroll presented the subject by giving an example of financial institutions and their relations with media. I would like to add on a few more points as follows:


    Media relations are very important for a company since it is not only a constituency but also acts as a transmitter of company’s Image, Identity and Reputation. The media play a vital role in creating a positive image and long term relationships with investors, suppliers, and consumers. Media has the immense power to change the way people think about the company, so it’s very important from company’s point of view to maintain good media relations. Working with the media is most important because establishing relationships with the right person from the media helps companies to convey the right messages to the right constituent in the right manner when it is required.

    The Right Approach

    In order to build better relationships with members of the media, organizations must try to establish close relationships with the appropriate people of the media. The traditional approach of sending out news releases to everyone, does not work anymore. Most of those press releases are not read by journalists anymore because of the amount and frequency of press releases coming to their mailboxes. A better approach in today’s business environment is to establish good media relations with the right kind of journalists and media persons.

    Life- Experience Example

    The way media works in India is pretty much different than what it does here in U.S.A. I would rather say that their organization culture, ties to politics, and way of bringing out facts are different than what we see here in U.S.A. In India there are many national newspapers and several regional or local newspapers. It becomes almost impossible to satisfy one set of newsgroup while satisfying the other set of newsgroup simultaneously. I recall an incident from my family business, once my father gave out a corporate advertisement to one of the leading newspaper, soon after a couple of days my father finds that he had two reporters waiting in his office, one was there to seek an advertisement for his newspaper, while the other one was there to seek donations. It was very interesting to note how my father dealt with each one of them. To the very first reporter, my father advised to come back after a couple of months and assured him that he would have our advertisement when we will launch our new product. The second media person was the one whom I was familiar with, I had seen him in office a couple of times and he already had several advertisements and donations from us. However it was just an obligation on our part since this persons’ newspaper had only 3000 readers. This time my father disagreed to place either an advertisement or donation to this person. Despite of being refused for more advertisements and donations this person was adamant on donation and stressed that he would not leave the office until he gets it. Quite a rare case, but that happens in India! My dad called in security guards and asked that gentlemen to leave. That brought little bit of bad publicity and image to the company but since the company shares a good relationship with the media, it finally became evident that whatever the company did was in the best interest of all.


  2. contd...

    Another strange fact

    Almost every news channel in India is connected with some or the other political party and it is so strange that they lay stress on that party's portfolio very well i.e. the political parties with which the news channel is affiliated with. Whenever a particular party is in session the concerned media channel receives a higher TRP- Television Rating Points.

    I think this type of system setting should not be there in a democratic system as media is someone to speak for the public and give knowledge to the public about the society as a whole and should convey right messages. But despite these an organization should adapt to these situations and always carry on a healthy relationship with the media.

    I found a very interesting article on Media Relations and the best part is "NEVER GET ANGRY ON THE MEDIA":!&id=60121

    Media Relations Strategies

  3. I really appreciate Diroll explanation of importance of media coverage.
    Developing healthy media relation will help corporations to gain media coverage for their business and social cause. This help corporation to ensure fair media coverage if any controversy arises involving your organization. Positive media coverage will help to spread the message of the organization in much faster way.

    My experience

    My father is in construction business. I started working with him after completing my engineering. One morning my father got a call from our media relationship executive. He told my father that there is news that our construction companies used bribe to get contracts and tenders from government agencies. This news was very critical for the business. This can destroy the image of our construction companies. There are chances that we will loose our customers to our competitors. My father always concentrated on developing good relationship with media. He quickly responded by calling several media agencies. He decided that it is better to go before public before spreading any bad words about our organization. He gave statements in many newspapers and news channels. Via media he told public that we always considered work ethics as our priority and the company is never involved in any unethical word. He told them that company’s records are open and anyone can check it. He assured them that he himself will appoint a committee to look into this matter. Healthy media relation gave my father chance to present his side of the story before any negative media coverage. The issue was resolved as nothing was found illegal. The media responded to it by saying that sometimes good business also has to face hard times because of rumors.


    Video: Communication Steroids: Press Relations

  4. Life Experience Example

    My father used to be a journalist in a local public TV. Therefore, I could not agree more when I read in the text book that business should maintain ongoing relationship. My father was working for a local news program which was broadcasted 30 minutes everyday. News from local governmental policies and local communities would usually take more than 50% of the 30 minutes. Thus, everyday there were only 10 to 15 minutes for business related news, which could hard cover all the local business news. In this situation, the producer would allocate more time to talk about business which had maintained a good relationship with the local TV or with the department or with the producer. I had seen successful businesses in dealing with media relationship. They usually would seldom change the PR person, which was easier for PR person to develop a good private relationship with media journalist. They often engaged in community activities in cooperation with local TV. Most important, they really respect the media work. As a result, a good ongoing relationship with public media would bring much more effective communication than a normal advertising campaign.

    An article about Chinese local media:

  5. The media has become a great influential impact on peoples’ lives all around the globe. The media with all its branches can majorly change things around. The media can make something or someone look good or bad. Nowadays, media have almost become a governmental authority in which they can judge people through its means and change their image and/or reputation.
    In 2005, a Danish Newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, have created a controversial and insulting, according to many Muslims, cartoon regarding the Profit of Islam, Mohammed. As Muslims have known about the news, Danish companies have struggled in the Middle East. Denmark is known for their dairy companies, and they several agents in Middle East. Muslims in that area especially and around the world generally have boycotted all Danish dairy products. In the next 3 years, all Danish Companies have a dramatic decrease in their profit because everybody thought that Arabic Companies export directly from the Danish Companies. Owners of the Arabic Corporations have confirmed through TV interviews, local newspaper, and companies’ websites that they only acquire the franchise Tag only, but all the components of the dairy products are from local sources.
    If the Arabic Corporations have spoken through media, they would have been hurt badly by the boycott. After their confirmation, people started buy the products again knowing the facts of these products. Also the Danish Companies still survived from the profit from other companies’ use of their name. The Middle East is huge market for the dairy companies, and Danish Companies can’t afford to lose their position in that market. We can see how the media almost could’ve destroyed the image of well-known Danish Companies like Lurpake by only a use a cartoon.
    Here is the links that talks about the effects of mass media on society

  6. We all agree how great media relations can help and how poor media relations can harm a business. Once again I lack any professional experience relating to this topic. On the other hand, there is an individual I know who began using innovative media channels to gain recognition. That person is the executive director of a non-profit organization aimed at the professional development of inner-city high school youth. In this particular example, the executive director began using social media like Facebook and other blog sites in order to create more awareness for their programs. Facebook allows her to stay in contact with past members as well as send out news alerts of from the current happenings within that organization. As a result she was also able to put together a network of past participants and develop success stories that are posted on their website. She also set up blogs on their website which allows her to open the lines of communication and discuss current issues that are related to her business.
    Suggested Link
    The following article focuses on the future of media relations. Although the articles is several years old, it does present a valid perspective.

  7. A good example of media relations would be the controversy between President Obama and his former pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Jeremiah Wright was known to be Anti-America from his life experiences with the American system. Reverend Wright made many controversial statements during his sermons and one of his live interviews with CNN which severely hurt Obama's image and reputations before the Primary Elections. Because of the severity of the issue, it was definitely the best idea that President Obama went on air and did the interview himself opposed to having someone from his Public Relations staff do the interview.

    I found that Obama did a great job in preparing for his public speech to the media. He managed to distance himself from the problem and at the same time, remedy Reverend Jeremiah Wrights' image in the public eye a little bit. He was very successful overall because the media's attention was drawn away from Reverend Wright and after the Primaries, then he could focus on the major campaign against John McCain.

    Here's President Obama's distancing speech.

  8. I think Diroll has a great point about how the media has portrayed the banks here in the U.S. as of late. It seems that the media is always hungry for any kind of late breaking bad news. Sure, there is plenty of good news to go around, but bad news gets better ratings in the U.S. media. I have a real life experience from my first engineering job out of college that deals a little with how the media loves bad news.

    My early career

    About ten years ago, I worked for a small aircraft performance company providing runway analysis, weight and balance, and flight planning.

    A little on aircraft performance

    Most profit margins for any airline, be it cargo or passenger, are based on the amount of weight they can carry. Ideally, aircraft that can be loaded to maximum structural weights can return the most profits. However, certain conditions such as airport altitude, runway length, weather conditions, and flight path obstacles can reduce that ideal takeoff weight. The aircraft designers test their products under such adverse conditions and record the performance data in the aircraft flight manuals. The company I worked for digitized these manuals into a computer program and produced the maximum safe take off weights given the inputs of runway lengths, weather conditions, airport altitude, etc.

    The problem

    One of the senior engineers for the company wrote and maintained an aircraft performance program developed for a small carrier in northern Canada operating a Boeing 727. Northern Canada experiences extreme weather conditions, especially during the winter months. Most aircraft are designed to operate in adverse conditions, but they usually have to take some sort of performance or weight penalty. The senior engineer for the firm failed to digitize and program the performance reduction that related to a special weather condition present on one given day. Thus, the client's aircraft, taking into account the wrong calculation, overloaded the aircraft and attempted to take off. The aircraft failed to take off and skidded off the end of the runway. Luckily, nobody was killed, but the aircraft was heavily damaged. Protocol dictates a full investigation by Transport Canada (TC), similar to the NTSB investigations here in the United States. Of course, these types of investigations attract the attention of the local Canadian media. My former boss faced a dilemma with this. He had to skillfully make a statement about his company's contribution to this incident. I remember he had to travel to the client's headquarters in Canada and make a personal appearance in front of the TC and Canadian reporters. He was able to handle the situation better because he had a crisis management protocol along with a committee in place. This committee was able to assist him and facilitate his communication with the TC and the media. I could not imagine what may have transpired without such a team.

    Here is a link that tells a little about the TC and its protocols.

  9. Although I have a diverse business background, I have never been directly involved in media relations. However, my daughter works in media relations for a non-profit corporation and I’ve observed the time and effort she spends researching media sources, preparing for interviews, and developing and maintaining strong relationships with the media.

    Media packets are developed with pertinent information about specific events the company is trying to promote as well as the sponsors of those events. Incentives are developed for those members of the media who agree to cover events and promote educational programs the company develops.

    Strong personal relationships are forged with photographers who do promo shots for local newspapers and magazines. Developing relationships with local television personalities and celebrities is an important part of her job.

    A lot of prep time is put into the interview process so that, as we saw in the 60 Minutes piece about Coors, company representatives reflect a positive image. Talking points are developed ahead of time and rehearsed so that they are aware how to rephrase inappropriate responses.

    One of the things my daughter stressed is the importance of crisis management and being proactive instead of reactive to possible crises. She cited the Johnson and JohnsonTylenol case as the standard in media relations for proactive crisis management. Below is a link explaining the case as well as others including the Valdez incident and how those crises were handled.

  10. Media relation is one of the critical communication area within business. I read Diroll’s explanation about media relation with video-links showing some interview examples. As I also studied the case study of Coors beer which was also throwing light on how media relations can convey your message to people.

    My own Experience:

    My father, Vrindavan Solanki, is one of the well known artists (painters) of India. I still remember when I use to observe him dealing with only certain art galleries. When I entered college and my dad thought that I am mature enough, he started explaining me the art of doing art business. We have developed good relations with some journalist of leading news papers who comes to our exhibitions and do the required coverage to make it art news. This is helping us a lot in gaining publicity (because in art world fame is more valuable than money). As I said before, my father does dealing, for arranging exhibition, with only certain types of art galleries and he selects galleries with his past experience and knowledge of public and media relationship maintained by that gallery.
    Years ago when we never paid more attention towards this point, my father was gaining less credits for the same amount of art work. But today, we understand that media is a very vital element for any type of business.

    Here is a link which contains an article about why a public relation officer is required in a company.