Running a company is more than just internal facilitation of departments, delegation of tasks, and execution of product. While internally a CEO may have everything running smoothly, we are finding that more and more that external happening of a company play a significant role in the company's success. Whether the issue is sales, marketing public relations, or media--it is essential for a company to have a good handle on its relations with the media. A company's relationship with the media, it turns out, can have as big an impact on its audience as a company's own internal and client-facing procedures.
While on one hand, media is a great tool for organizations and companies to create a positive image with consumers and build rapport; it can also be harmful if used incorrectly. Despite the importance of handling press, not all tech companies have succeeded in doing so. Twitter, US Airways, and Mastercard demonstrate three recent examples of companies failing to properly handle the media.
About a year ago, Anthony Noto (Twitter CFO) sent what appeared to be a private message. Out of mistake, Noto made the tweet public. Once he noticed the error, Noto quickly deleted the tweet, which read, "I still think we should buy them. He is on your schedule for Dec 15 or 16--we will need to sell him. I have a plan." When people saw the tweet, it became evident that Noto was referring to the company's plans to acquire the company Shots.
To many, the mistake may have seen like no big deal. After all, people mistakenly send texts all the time. Maybe you meant to text your friend but you texted your mother instead. In most cases, the damage can be fixed with no major repercussion. In Twitter's case, however, because of how gigantic their audience is and the sensitivity of the information, the damage was significant.
Another example of a company failing to properly communicate with the media also involved Twitter. This time, it was US Airways who shot themselves in the foot. While attempting to use Twitter to respond to a customer's inquiry, US Airways sent out an inappropriate picture. The picture, which was deleted soon after, caused a negative ripple amongst the customers. For US Airways, the action made them seem unprofessional, and negligent.
Around the same time as the US Airways hiccup, Mastercard experienced a media error. Mastercard had been working with a public relations firm which got journalists to reference Mastercard in social media by using a hashtag. However, things did not go according to plan and the journalists' display of the hashtag was taken with an incorrect message. Context, it seems, was the cause of failure of Mastercard's social media experience.
The consequences of failing to properly handle the media can include a loss of customers, sales, revenue, or image. While there are instances of companies failing to utilize media to their advantage, here are three ways to handle media correctly:
1. Understand your message
Properly handling he media requires you to articulate your message or idea in the correct manner. Before doing so, however, it is essential that you have a very thorough understanding of your idea, and the reaction that this idea will have on an audience. It is important to package and display your idea to fit into a message that will be easily digested by your target audience, and will be welcomed. This is not always intuitive, however; often it is helpful to learn from experts who can coach you on how to work with the media to display your desired message. Media training is a fundamental aspect to any successful media campaign.
2. Understand your audience
Once you have tailored your message to fit both your idea and the audience who is receiving it, it is necessary to deeply understand your target customers, their goals, and what they want. Seasoned novelist and publisher Adrienne Monson advises that CEOs make a connection to their customers. When they do so, Monson shows, their fans are much more forgiving. Monson demonstrates that CEOs can connect with their customers by publishing articles, publishing articles, books, and other works.
3. Get the right tools
Once your idea, message, and target audience are laid out, the next step is getting the right tools. A message is useless without a vehicle to take it to your audience. Utilize publications, articles, newspapers, websites, books, and other forms of media to get your message across. Digital media is typically more versatile and reaches a broader audience. By imbedding your message in a form of digital media, you will be able to effectively articulate your messages.