VIRTUAL REALITY HAS REAL-WORLD BRAND POTENTIALVirtual reality, or VR, is on the way. And, it’s another gamechanger for brands. It’s the technological gift that consumer businesses have been waiting for. For years, marketeers have been seeking ways to immerse potential audiences in their brand and values – and here it is.
THOU SHALL NOT LIE
During an appearance at the University of Chicago's Institute of Politics, Sean Spicer, current White House press secretary said: "I don't think any communicator worth their salt can go out and tell a lie…If you lose the respect and trust of the press corps, you’ve got nothing.”
It is a pity Spicer did not recall his own wise words ahead of his first full briefing to the White House press corps at the weekend.
Spicer stunned the media (and everyone else!) by claiming that Trump’s inauguration attracted the largest audience ever, claims that were quickly and easily disproved by images from the day and other facts. Spicer is a seasoned communicator, who clearly understands how the media works. He has since admitted that calling the inauguration the most watched ever was a “mistake”, but it was a bizarre, head-scratching moment for a communications professional to watch his performance.
At the end of the briefing, Spicer headed swiftly for the door, taking no questions, an odd act for someone whose job is media liaison. But it made me think, there goes a press officer who was acting on the instructions of his boss to halt negative headlines.
We have worked with organisations who are subject to intense media scrutiny, due to the nature of their business, poor current or past performance or spending of public funds. It is difficult to endure negative headlines and suffer potential reputational damage. However, media relations is a two-way street. If you want to make the headlines for your achievements, you must be prepared to handle increased scrutiny if things go wrong.
It is the job of the press officer or PR consultant to educate their bosses and clients on how the media operates and advise the most effective way to turn a tide of negativity. In our message rehearsal and media training sessions for issues management and crisis communications, among our top don’ts is “don’t lie”. Not least because the internet makes it difficult to maintain falsehoods, but also because effective media relationships are earned through trust and integrity – which is why corporates invest time and resource in building them. The best thing a business or organisation can do for their reputation is to always aim to get things right, and if they don’t - own it and fix it.
It’s also important to remember that while media coverage is a strategically important element of most communications campaigns, it is one element. Organisations now have a powerful direct line of engagement to their audiences via social media. So, if media coverage fails to tell the whole story or misinterprets statistics and figures, organisations can redress that through their Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other owned channels.
Now, Trump’s Twitter feed – that’s a whole other blog…