Really Saying Something
by Glenn Hickling, Communications Manager, Buffalo
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
“He was really saying something,” goes the Motown classic, sung the Velvelettes back in 1964 and covered by Bananarama in 1982.
That chorus refrain is something that runs through my mind nearly every time I try and jack a news story, or craft an opinion piece or a blog.
Coz if you want to cut through the noise and get noticed, that’s exactly what you’ve got to do…be really saying SOMETHING. It doesn’t matter what particularly, just as long as no-one else has said that. If no one else is saying it – that’s thought leadership.
Business-to-business PR relies upon thought leadership. You cannot specifically push the brand, you have to push ‘the man.’ And that means making yourself a thought leader to be revered.
Of course, a lot depends on the characteristics and personalities of the leaders of your business, and the nature of the business you are in. Not everyone can go round effing and jeffing like Ryanair supremo Michael O’Leary! But if you’ve got someone as opinionated as yer man off Ryanair – and you have a highly attractive sales proposition where you can risk being offensive – then why not let rip? Saying something no-one else is, even when it’s confrontational and vulgar, is ‘really saying something.’
This is a strategy that has served Ryanair well – they get bucketloads of free PR, because O’Leary is soundbite central. Pithy, controversial, adversarial. He knows what he’s doing. It’s a very measured approach, employing shock value and comedy to devastating effect.
But for the rest of you, who need to mind your Ps and Qs a bit more, then you need to take another approach. You need to join in the conversation intelligently, expertly, like the urbane business sophisticate that you are. But how do you know what the conversation is? Or where it’s taking place?
You need someone like me, who spends huge swathes of his week analysing the news – looking for gaps in the conversation, keeping ‘em peeled for the stuff that’s not being said, assessing the scope for juxtaposition, reading between the lines for opportunities for you to push your agenda - helping you find your media voice.
For business leaders, just a few lines of well-placed, interesting insights can be the route to getting quoted as a market commentator in a big story, and getting your company name out there, or getting commissioned to do a longer piece…( and I could help with that too).
It’s crucial that you say something no-one else is saying, or else say it better - more succinctly and demonstrating deeper knowledge - than your competitors. But the safest bet is to know the story, weigh in with some fresh insight, and watch the coverage pile up.
Then you’ll be “Really Saying Something.” Bop bop soo be do wa.