A couple of people responded by email to my post about Segway–where a PR rep at an obscure industry vertical tradeshow made Segway sound like an obscure product for an obscure vertical during an interview with National Public Radio. What *should* she have done–give up the opportunity to get Segway’s name out over the national airwaves?
No. The problem is more strategic than tactical. If you’re making an investment in PR, you should be working with a company that understands targetted messaging and how to deliver it. The message you position with a trade press journalist is not the same story you deliver to the general business media, much less a mainstream consumer audience like NPR. You and everyone who represents your company should have a playbook of targetted messages for different media outlets and journalists, and you should have it memorized.
When a reporter from NPR showed up at Segway’s booth, Segway’s representative should have had a message ready for a national audience, or she should have phoned home for support. Instead, Segway blew an opportunity to connect with one of the nation’s largest audiences of educated, affluent and environmentally aware consumers–exactly the audience Segway needs to connect with. Those are the kinds of mistakes you can follow right to the bottom line.