Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum - Can a Flippant Approach to Media Relations Have a Positive Effect?

Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum - Can a Flippant Approach to Media Relations Have a Positive Effect?

Article excerpt

Even those who dislike Ryanair profess a sneaking admiration for chief executive Michael O'Leary's hang-the-consequences marketing style But what does this devil-may-care attitude do to a brand?

NO - JON INGALL, MANAGING PARTNER, ARCHIBALD INGALL STRETTON

While I privately revelled in Ryanair throwing caution to the wind and telling its patrons to like it or lump it, it's just bad business to inform customers they aren't, in fact, always right. They say all publicity is good publicity, but it's a very risky strategy to insult your customers.

We've gone too far down the road of political correctness; you shouldn't always bow and scrape. However, there is a line, and Ryanair has crossed it with a blatant disregard for its clientele. Just because passengers pay low fees to fly, that doesn't mean they should forego any customer service. The real issue is that Ryanair has got its PR message confused It's tried rather aggressively - and unsuccessfully - to cover a cost-saving exercise with the excuse that the saving is passed on to customers.

Giving customers a reason to stay with your brand is a basic principle of media relations, but it's all in the plan - and, like Hannibal in The A-Team, I love it when a plan comes together.

NO - VIJAY SOLANKI, HEAD OF MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS, BP/CASTROL

The British media has a history of building up to knock down. So, although you might escape with being flippant to drive media coverage in the short term, you will be damaging your brand reputation with relevant media. This will always leave you prone to attack, even if you have a history of being really adept with the media. This applies whether or not you have a personality-led brand, such as Michael O'Leary at Ryanair.

There are two aspects to this situation. One is the quality of your communications planning and media relations. The other, and the most important, is how your PR connects with your brand and customer experience. Further to O'Leary's threat to charge passengers pounds 1 to use the lavatory, for example, on short-haul flights, what percentage of customers actually use the loo and what do they think? That's what really matters.

NO - IAN BILLINGTON, MANAGING PARTNER, BILLINGTON CARTMELL

To be flippant is to be frivolous or inappropriate, and managing a brand is about neither of these things. …

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