Thursday, 23 June 2011


It’s always so easy to critique the handling of announcements when you’re not in the midst of the maelstrom of preparation, but (without naming names) there have been a couple of real clangers this week. These bring to mind a couple of rules:

If your brand is under pressure and your performance is poor, it is loose talk to say that you are “flattered” at the idea that a competitor might be considering acquiring you. It is, in the same breath, both an acceptance that you are the weaker party and a betrayal of your lack of faith in your own brand.

If you are a worldwide superstar announcing an initiative that has been teased in the most spectacular fashion you need to be damn sure that the thing that you are announcing is genuinely newsworthy and groundbreaking. It doesn’t matter how big you are – if the initiative doesn’t warrant much attention you’ll get a critical pummeling.

If you’re a CEO or President of an organization and you have a Twitter account, be very careful what you tweet, especially in response to a tweeted complaint. Even if you feel you’re mildly in the right, take pains to diffuse the situation and be personal and reflective in your responses. Reflect back (assuming questions of legal liability don’t apply) the way that the complainant feels so that he/she gets a sense that you are really listening. If you find yourself in trouble, with the complainant’s fellow twitterers on the case and spreading the word, take the time to deal with the issue, quickly, professionally and politely. The consequences, otherwise, could be huge.

If your CFO is leaving the business, announce it immediately. If you are a PLC, you have a disclosure obligation. If you think that by hanging on for a bit and slipping it out as part of your results announcement you’re going to get a better press, you’re mistaken, especially if the CFO is setting sail for a relatively unknown business and your numbers are under pressure. You might think that he’ll in part take the heat for poor performance, if that’s a current issue, but it doesn’t work that way.

Right, that’s that off my chest.

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