Diary of a PR Amateur

Lunch

June 16, 2010
Leave a Comment

How another preposterous PR yahoo became involved regarding the highly demanding area you marketing (or media relations) people and I have been reading and writing about is beyond me. But nonetheless, here I was on Monday, face-to-face with John, our snazzily-dressed agency guy, at one of the area’s finest restaurants.

But I’m no fool. I knew he was going to leave my company with the bill at the end of this in any case, so I purposely ordered light … just a bowl of soup and a roll.

He, of course, ordered a steak, the jerk.

Anyway, the conversation was pleasant enough. Here’s a snippet:

John: I just thought it would make sense, given your disappointment – and the fact that it seems there is a disconnect regarding media targets – that maybe we should get together, away from the office, and talk through some things.

Me: Okay. What’s on your mind?

John: Well, for starters, I have a feeling that you aren’t pleased about the details surrounding my firm being hired by your company. And even though that decision must be frustrating for you, given that you had already issued an RFP, I just want you to know that we see you as our client. You are the day-to-day decision-maker, and we realize that it is you we have to impress.

Me: Well, you’re not doing such a good job of that so far, John.

John: I understand that, and that’s why I thought we should get together. So let’s start with the media targets. Which outlets are most important for you?

Me: Well, as I said the other day (It’s always good to start comments that way, because it makes the other party feel like an idiot for having forgotten what you’ve told him/her.), BusinessWeek, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are the top. That’s why I am paying you. But we also care about the tech trades …

John: Like c|Net, ZDNet and TechCrunch?

Me: Ha! I know what you are doing, Mr. Cuff-links! What? You think I’m going to say that you guys are doing a good job just because you got those three? Not a chance.

John: Now, Joe, take it easy. Remember, I’m just trying to get us calibrated here. I’m not here today to convince you we are doing a better job than we are doing. I just want us to leave here on the same page.

Me: Fine. So yes, those three are important … but there are others as well, and I want to make sure we are in them.

John: Agreed. Can you please send me your “wish list?” We will then be quite clear on what our targets really are.

Me: Sure, but why don’t you send me what you think it should be and I’ll approve or edit it.

John: Fine.

That’s generally how the conversation went. John spending time trying to show me how great he and his team are and me not taking the bait.

I swear, when is he going to realize that we are not on the same team here?

Oh, by the way, just to rub in how much of a jerk he is, John paid. I think he did that just to make me feel like an idiot for only ordering a bowl of soup.

Advertisements

I Know How To Make Edits

April 22, 2010
2 Comments

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE THESE SMART UPDATES SENT DIRECTLY TO YOU, PLEASE CLICK ON THE “Enlighten Me, Joe!” BUTTON ON THE RIGHT.
____________________________________

Well, maybe my boss was off-base when he told me he disagreed with my itinerary for the off-site meeting, but he is the boss after all, at least for now.

So as he requested, I’ve toned down the luxury and raised the level of business content.

Here’s the original schedule:

Day One

Morning – Lavish breakfast at fancy restaurant, followed by white-water rafting
Afternoon – Lavish lunch, followed by one-hour brainstorming session about technology’s impact on our lives
Evening – Lavish dinner, followed by 15-minute presentations by five department heads

Day Two

Morning – Lavish breakfast at different fancy restaurant, followed by visits to three local museums (to cultivate our creativity)
Afternoon – Lavish lunch, followed by one-hour brainstorming session about our business, and how it can be improved
Evening – Lavish dinner, in the form of a barbecue, followed by a dance party

Here’s the revised one:

Day One

Morning – Nice breakfast at nice restaurant, followed by canoeing, during which people can discuss business content
Afternoon – Nice lunch, followed by two-hour brainstorming session about technology’s impact on our lives
Evening – Nice dinner, followed by 20-minute presentations by five department heads

Day Two

Morning – Nice breakfast at different nice restaurant, followed by visits to three local museums (to cultivate our creativity)
Afternoon – Nice lunch, followed by two-hour brainstorming session about our business, and how it can be improved
Evening – Nice dinner, in the form of a barbecue, followed by a business content party

I expect that the CEO will approve this version. I’ll let you know.


Off-Site or Off-Base

April 18, 2010
1 Comment

When I came up with the fantastic idea of organizing an off-site meeting, I thought for sure that they’d put one of the secretaries in charge of it. After all, it’s an event that should be taken care of by one of the “worker bees,” not by any professional staff.

But my CEO thought it would be a good idea for me to organize it. I guess that means that he thinks this is important enough for someone of my caliber to plan.

So here’s the plan:

Day One

Morning – Lavish breakfast at fancy restaurant, followed by white-water rafting
Afternoon – Lavish lunch, followed by one-hour brainstorming session about technology’s impact on our lives
Evening – Lavish dinner, followed by 15-minute presentations by five department heads

Day Two

Morning – Lavish breakfast at different fancy restaurant, followed by visits to three local museums (to cultivate our creativity)
Afternoon – Lavish lunch, followed by one-hour brainstorming session about our business, and how it can be improved
Evening – Lavish dinner, in the form of a barbecue, followed by a dance party

I presented this smart plan to my CEO, but he said it’s way too heavy on the food and leisure, and not heavy enough on the business content. I told him I’d make some adjustments (even though I think he’s a moron who doesn’t get it).

But what kind of nerve does he have, telling me to make adjustments, when he put me in charge of the event. I think he’s off-base.


Off-Site Is a Must

April 12, 2010
Leave a Comment

I’ve always been a big fan of the off-site meeting. An off-site meeting, for those of you without my level of experience, is a meeting that takes place away from the office. The idea is that, once away from the office, the team’s thoughts will be freer, and, as a result, more creative and clear.

So I suggested to my boss that we have an off-site in the next few weeks. I told him that I thought the “corporate thought-process has been stagnant recently,” and that clearly had an impact on him, because he shot me an interested look right after I said that.

Anyway, the next thing I knew, I was being called into the CEO’s office and was asked for an explanation of what I meant when I said that the corporate thought-process has been stagnant. I was about to explain myself when the CEO got a phone call from one of the investors or from his wife. It had to be one of those, because they were yelling his ear off. He quickly dismissed me from his office, and shouted at me on my way out,

“Joe, work with HR to set up the off-site. And I want there to be good food there!”

Like I said, I’ve always been a fan of the off-site meeting.


    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and become MUCH smarter about PR.

    Join 26 other followers