Archive for June, 2011

Tips for Boards When Dealing With the Media


In previous posts I have discussed how invaluable it can be to have a Board – in my case an Advisory Board – to assist the overall direction of the business.
My Board members are supportive and helpful, but I got to thinking perhaps this is not always the case.  This is particularly tricky in a high-profile organisation where there is a great deal of media interest in the company’s activities, and you and your Board members are the subject of media interest and scrutiny.

While there is no question that media training for Board members is very important (I would say it is critical, actually!) but in the meantime,  I came across an article by Tony Featherstone (former editor of BRW and Shares magazine) that touches on many of the key points concerning how Board members should interact with the media.

You can read the entire article in full at the Australian Company Directors website www.companydirectors.com.au but I wanted to just extract a few key points for you.

Rule #1:  Speak with One voice – Tony advises for Board members to never break the confidence of the boardroom.
Rule #2: Never break Rule #1

Media management is tricky, as the journalist rarely is interested in your carefully prepared talking points or key messages. They will ask questions looking for something topical, controversial, trying to niggle to find out if there are tensions or divisions within the Board on one issue or another, not to cause trouble, but to generate a story.

The problem is, the story they want to write will not be the one you want them to write as no-one wants to read about differences of opinion, power struggles or conflicts or the leak of confidential information.  Or about that big new project that you are not ready to announce quite yet.

I strongly recommend that if you are a Board Member, or are thinking of appointing one, it is well worthwhile reading Tony’s article in full.  Let me stress here that while hiring a firm like Publicity Queen to handle your media can be a good strategic decision, you don’t necessarily need to outsource this function: if you are smart and careful, and if you observe the rules mentioned above concerning confidentiality and discretion, you can do this yourself.

If however, you would like to avoid the stress and pressure of handling media enquiries, give me a call, we are always happy to help! 🙂

Publicity QueenYours in PR,

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Creative Signature Blocks – Leave an Impression

 

I have watched with interest the evolution of the humble signature block.  This small entry of text at the end of an email that was really designed to provide the reader of your email with contact info so that they could reply to you – the equivalent of a letterhead on a piece of correspondence.

Recently I have noticed colleagues and friends are being far more creative in what they put in their signature blocks. Aaron Hendershot from Snap Printing first introduced me to adding buttons into my email so that I could have people click to link directly with me on Linked In.  Love that!

The Growth Faculty have gone one step further, with buttons to connect to their own online presence on Facebook, Twitter and Linked In.

More recently, Tracey Montgomery from Pure Source Recruitment, showed great flair when in her signoff she listed the four people (living or not) that she would invite to dinner, her favourite winter warmer and the song that instantly makes her feel better when she hears it.  By doing so, Tracey has given all of us an insight into her as a person, and a way of connecting that goes far beyond reading her bio.

I am ruminating myself about how to change my own signature block so that it reflects who I am, who Publicity Queen is as a company, and using signature blocks both in terms of increasing functionality for building an online  network as well as providing insights that trigger real moments of human connection.

Publicity QueenYours in PR,

Protect Your Intellectual Property…Or Else! A Cautionary Tale

One of my all-time-favourite business gurus is the amazing Verne Harnish, (pictured left with moi!).  Verne is recognised internationally as ‘The Growth Guy’, and is author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits. Verne’s other great claim to fame is his One-Page Strategic Plan.

This sensational one-page strategic wonder, has literally changed my business since I began using it in September 2007 after I attended a one-day workshop of Verne’s that was hosted by The Growth Faculty

I understand from Verne that he tried some time ago to protect the intellectual property of that document, but because the content of the plan was somewhat generic, he was unable to secure a trademark on it.  Verne being the generous teacher that he is, decided then to make the 1-page strategic plan an open-source document so that any business owner or manager could simply download it, without any obligation, from his website (you can check it out by clicking here…)

This wasn’t so much of a problem… previously. 

Recently, after many attempts, the trademark rights for a one-page strategic plan has been sought by someone else and Verne has been sent a ‘cease and desist’ letter regarding his use of the one-page strategic plan – a business resource that he has popularised the world-over no less!

While I can’t comment on much more of this situation as it is a legal matter, it is a timely and painful reminder of the importance of protecting our intellectual property.  In this case, when the IP is not branded or readily identifiable with an individual or a business, the need can be even greater.

So what’s the lesson here… not to stop sharing great ideas, but to take steps to protect your most important business collateral – your original thoughts, ideas, plans and concepts – just as you would your plant, equipment, and computer files. 

And if by chance you wind-up in a predicament similar to Verne, send a templated affidavit to your database asking if your contacts would be willing to sign a formal document acknowledging their awareness of your rightful ownership to your own IP. 

So, if you are a fan of Verne’s and use, or are familiar with, his one-page plan, please feel free to sign an affidavit which can be downloaded from here: http://www.gazelles.com/AffidavitLlink/

Publicity QueenYours in PR

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