PR’s Bad PR


PR’s Bad PR


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Blogger-turned-restauranteur Bruce Buschel sparked a heated debate last month when hisscathing attack on PR firms ran in the New York Times. His rage-fuelled rant details all the blunders his PR firm made in launching his restaurant, Southfork Kitchen. Yes, the agency was to blame (clearly they had no plan, media strategy or measurable goals), but Mr. Buschel is no innocent victim.

Aside from culinary creations, he produced a recipe for disaster. To avoid repeating his mistakes, CatchOn offers a five-step plan to choose a PR firm:

DO YOUR HOMEWORK Rather than sign with the first agency you stumble upon, ask around. Find out if other firms have the experience, talent and expertise your business needs. PR is a partnership between client and agency where both are working toward a shared goal.

GET A PLAN The client should have insisted on a timeline, regular updates and a schedule to meet his objectives. Without these guide posts, last-minute surprises are inevitable.

CRAFT A STORY Mr Buschel claims “PR people are paid to twist reality into pretzels and convince you that they are fine croissants.” Actually, our job is to tell engaging stories, strategize on newsworthy angles and never compromise on the truth.

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE The client admits he wanted to appeal to “locals and tourists… Wall Streeters and Gen X, Y and Z’ers.” Again, without a strategic focus or target market, he’s shooting in the dark.

BE SELECTIVE Keen to secure publicity (at any cost!), Mr Buschel agreed to have a documentary film crew trail him for a year. Of course, the cameras caught every dramatic showdown, heated argument and tense meeting during the pre-launch phase.

Paul Calder

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