Not ones to shy away from self-promotion and publicity at TNR Communications. That’s the name of the media game we are in. But, when someone else kindly bangs our industry’s drum for us – namely Allister Heath, the Editor of City A.M. – it’d be foolish not to shout about it.
In his Editor’s Letter ‘Bosses must engage with the media’, Heath goes as far as calling bankers, business people and CEOs “frankly pathetic” for not “making their own case to the media.” A little harsh perhaps, but he’s got a point.
As in Heath’s article, Stephen Hester is a perfect example. The CEO of RBS has been lambasted in recent days over his £963,000 bonus. Now he has rejected it, the media is citing “political pressure” as the catalyst to his decision.
But what about media pressure? Every newspaper across the land was quick to voice its opinion about what he should do. However, if he had publically justified why he should be given a reward for sorting out RBS’ mighty mess, he may have changed public opinion – and not have felt like he had to give the money back at all.
As the Media Training Manager at TNR, the communications arm of the Press Association, I am often surprised at the reflex response by many high-level executives (often from the financial world) to avoid the media at all cost. It allows journalists to set the agenda and get their message out to the public.
If they are prepared to face the lions, their image and reputation could be managed in a more balanced way. But….here’s the banging our drum bit….that said, without proper media training it can be a disaster. Knowing your enemy is key and learning how not to end up as media fodder can save your company’s skin.
In Heath’s words, businesses need to “get out and fight their corner.” I couldn’t agree more, but only if their spokespeople are armed.
Post by Tessa Parry-Wingfield Training Manager @ TNR Communications