This morning, Mic published a follow-up article on lack of diversity onstage at last week's Apple iPhone 7 event, resulting from an "off the record" conversation. This article brings up some very interesting debates in the PR world around the whole concept of "off the record" conversations.
Any basic Media Training 101 session should explain the differences between "on the record", "off the record", "on background" and other scenarios related to speaking with members of the press. (also see NYU's Journalist Ethics Handbook, points #4-10) Here are a few key takeaways that everyone should learn from this morning's situation:
In case you were living under a rock yesterday, you probably already know about the Apple event that happened yesterday in San Francisco. A new iPhone and Apple Watch were announced along with AirPods and a new mobile OS and a few other things. But unlike Apple events from years' past, there were no surprises. At all.
In fact, Mashable published a piece this morning about this exact concern: if Apple can't keep secrets, who can?
So many PR programs still rely heavily on pre-briefings, embargoes and keeping the details of the announcement under wraps until the very last minute, when the press release and blog posts go live along with a flood of press stories all publishing at the exact same time. While this tactic should remain in your PR tool belt, it shouldn't necessarily be the only way you approach garnering coverage around a company announcement or product launch.
We live in a "24/7 breaking news-wins and 'normal' business hours don't apply" world where you can keep very few things a secret for long, particularly if it is connected a well-known brand or public company. We need to rethink how we launch products and share news with reporters and the rest of the world.
Launch events, press releases, blog posts, social media, pre-briefings and embargoes still have their place. But we need to find additional avenues. And many of those approaches will be unique to your company, the industry in which you are a part of, your target audiences and the media that play in your world.
Let's start thinking outside the box.
Unless you were living under a rock, Apple hosted their regular March product event yesterday. The products were straight-forward and there was no “just one more thing…” The event just came and went. Reporters covered the news, some live blogged but most of the news had come out in the weeks prior to the event.
The curious thing is that with so many Apple fanboys out there, particularly in reporting circles, why weren’t more of them publishing critical post-event analysis? They simply broke or reported on the pre-event claims, attended the event, covered the news and moved on with their day.
It could be a variety of reasons (check all that apply).
That era has slowly petered out since Tim Cook took the reins in August 2011. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing at all. But it certainly shows a complete 180 in the product, business and communications strategy from the company’s previous regime.
Welcome to ROAMings, a compilation of thoughts and musings about the PR and media industries. This is an opportunity to discuss the “here and now” of the industry, interesting events or case studies, pivotal moments that affect how we approach PR, etc. It isn’t about brand loyalties or preferences -- and we will not be publishing self-promotional materials or talk about our clients in this setting -- but how those brands, individuals and events are leveraging (or in some cases abandoning) PR.