April 7, 2017
The popular adage of “All press is good press” is a myth. Media matters. Although constantly evolving in form, media is one of the most powerful mediums shaping public opinion and consciousness. Fortunately, the complexity of media’s impact and where your brand should be are easily distilled in the simple graph below:
Let’s start with each axis. On the Y-axis, we have the tone of the media exposure. In order to ascertain where it stands, we need to ask, “Is the tone of the media exposure simply good, neutral or bad?” And then, “How great or how bad is it?”
A handful of tools exist that monitor sentiment, including Mention and Meltwater. The quality of the media outlet lies on the X-axis. Tiny blogs with hardly any traffic are on the far left, whereas the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post and Tech.Co would be on the far right. For particular brands, certain trade publications may be considered on the far right as well.
The first quadrant encompasses brands that consistently acquire top-tier media coverage with a favorable tone. When top-tier media outlets are shelling out positive statements, it’s clear you’re in this ideal quadrant. The action here for a brand is to maintain the positive and high-quality press, which is no easy feat, and the topic of an entirely new article.
How does one get to this holy square of stardom, though? There are numerous ways: sometimes, one stellar placement in a top-tier outlet creates a snowball effect for other media outlets to pay attention. Other times, a solid PR team is keeping the momentum going and driving the messaging.
In this box, a brand is getting positive coverage, but from less prominent media outlets. The action item for a brand in this box is to get to the “Maintain” box by gaining the attention of the larger, more legitimate media outlets. In a way, mega media outlets function like a private, snooty club: access is highly limited and guarded. Plain and simple, you need to be big enough to gain entry.
We started in the “Strive” box with our client, Bryght, an online designer furniture brand that initially only obtained reviews on a few blogs. After months of work, Bryght has appeared in ELLE Décor, Good Housekeeping, Dwell and a number of notable home and décor outlets, and the brand is now in the “Maintain” position.
Monitor and Move
Here, a brand can easily slip into the position of high-quality outlets conveying a negative tone of the brand. The brand is often young and small. Chatter on blogs and social media may be less than favorable, and many startups that are coping with massive growth and the daily demands of startup life could find themselves in this quadrant. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the choice course of action here is to move to the “Strive” box as quickly as possible.
Moving from the “Monitor and Move” to the “Strive” box quickly is important, and great brands can sometimes leapfrog “Monitor and Move” to “Maintain.” The usual course of action is to actively pitch and secure positive coverage if the brand is ready.
If a brand is still on shaky ground, not clear on its positioning, or is simply spread too thin with greater priorities, then PR is not a priority. Only when a brand is solid should pitching to acquire positive press be warranted.
Full-blown reputation management by professionals is needed here. In this quadrant, reputation management needs to navigate a brand out of the media’s eye by assessing the extent of the situation, telling stakeholders what action will be taken, and then quickly executing on the action.
One brand currently in this position is Theranos. Once a health tech company regarded as a Silicon Valley unicorn, the brand has been pulverized by Fortune, Business Insider, Fast Company, and Bloomberg, among others, as the company squirms to showcase evidence of its supposed revolutionary technology.
These four quadrants sum up the landscape of public relations and ultimately, where your brand is or can be. Where are you on this graph?
Read more about branding here on Tech.Co
Did you like this article?
Get more delivered to your inbox just like it!