Editor's Note: The
author of this article is the CEO of a public relations agency, and we find her
thoughts just as aptly apply to the relationship between marketing executives
and their media agencies.
The guys I know all have been looking forward to The Three Stooges remake, which opened
earlier this month. They think Moe, Larry and Curly's harebrained schemes,
silly missteps, and thwacks, smacks and blindside attacks are hysterically
Heck, I don't need to go to the movies for slapstick -- I've
got men in my life! (Kidding, of course.)
Anyone -- yes, women included -- can be a stooge now and then.
Lifelong Stooges fan Alex Hinojosa,
our senior campaign manager at EMSI, says if you watch enough of their films,
you start seeing their personalities in the people you meet. And just like on
the big screen, the Moes, Larrys and Curlys of the world get themselves into
loads of trouble. It happens all the time in public relations.
The Moe: He's the
client who knows everything (so why on earth did he hire PR professionals?) Moe
will bark and bang and bully to get things done his way even though he's never
coordinated a media campaign, never worked in radio, TV or newspapers, and doesn't
know a tweet from a twit.
He's the client who insists on rewriting his media pitches
because he thinks they should be longer and more detailed. (Succinct
communications are what catch the attention of busy journalists and show hosts,
but he disagrees.) He insists his angle is much more likely to interest a talk
show host, even though he's never hosted a talk show. Would you perform surgery
on yourself? Moe would! And with disastrous results.
If you're going to be a Moe, at least get a better haircut.
The Larry: Easygoing
and passive, he doesn't want to stir up controversy or offend anyone. No matter
what the medium, he insists on appealing only to audiences and show hosts that
already agree with his message, so he misses out on the opportunity to win over
new fans-and their friends.
The Larrys are also easily forgotten. If they won't do, say
or write anything provocative during their marketing campaign, they won't
engage their audience, which means few will remember them.
The Larrys tend to quietly go along with everything their PR
agency suggests. They don't ask questions when they have them, and they don't
contribute their ideas. Their campaigns may be a bit lackluster because they're
afraid they'll bother somebody if they actively participate.
The Curly: He's
the star of the stooges-and he doesn't even know it. The Curlys are the clients
with great stories, powerful messages and a big lack of self-awareness. "Why
would anyone want to interview me?" they ask.
In truth, everyone has a great story, and a pro will find it
and use it. Nothing breaks my heart more than to hear someone tell me, "I was
with an agency and I paid them thousands of dollars, but all I got was one
mention in a weekly paper in Boondocks, Idaho. No one's interested in me."
What a cruel blow to a person's self-esteem! PR companies
that tell you no one's interested are really saying, "We didn't get results, so
we're blaming you."
Yes, your message, the energy and interesting content you
bring to the media and the quality of your product will determine whether you
ultimately meet all of your goals.
From what Alex tells me, the actor who played Curly in the
original Stooges was painfully
insecure in real life. That led to heavy drinking, overeating and other
self-destructive behaviors, which took a terrible toll on his health. He
suffered a stroke in 1946, never fully recovered and died six years later. Such
a sad end for a man who made so many people laugh.
may make for great entertainment on the big screen, but if you want a
successful media campaign, don't be a stooge! When you've hired a team of
professionals with a strong track record and plenty of years in the business,
trust them. Let them do their jobs.