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The hydra upon you: Hype and its dangers for public relations and marketing

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Today’s post is a continuation of Silos, silly season, social.

The many-headed hydra and key messages

If you believe in dialogue, if you believe in the multiple digital channels that can help convey key messages, then you know the potential for communications. Still, there’s been so much noise during the iPhone 5 announcement, you might wonder why the heavens haven’t opened up and why we aren’t being visited by angels of innovation blessing all things with an “i” before them.

Never mind that sales are being reported as a disappointment.

In the post-Facebook IPO era, best practices, truth and open communication should be reinforced as the way to communicate. Sustainability as a strategy looms large.

Hype is a many-headed hydra. When all the hydra’s heads are talking at once, which one will consumers believe? What are the key messages? Is it just confusion?

Do target audiences believe they have a part in the conversation, or is it just the heads of the hydra talking to themselves?

Just as I’m writing this, a connection of mine, Mark D’Cunha posted this on LinkedIn:

Ears that do not listen to advice, accompany the head when it is chopped off.

— African proverb

Media is a wonderful creator, but what it creates, it can take away.

Satire and blowback:

Reputational damage is best avoided in the first place

When people start satirizing a brand en masse, what does it say about a brand’s future business potential?

Some outcomes are beyond even the most careful planners’ control.

The blowback from the Facebook IPO resulted in a ton of reputational damage, left many who talked about Facebook’s short-term growth potential looking a little ridiculous while reinforcing the long-term thinking of those who understand what P/E ratio means.

Companies have bottom lines. Attenion has to be paid to profitability.

Still, attention also has to be paid to whether a brand can wear out its welcome. How much is too much?

informal
Definition of hype

noun

[mass noun]

  • extravagant or intensive publicity or promotion: his first album hit the stores amid a storm of hype
  • [count noun] a deception carried out for the sake of publicity: is his comeback a hype?

verb

[with object]

  • promote or publicize (a product or idea) intensively, often exaggerating its benefits: an industry quick to hype its products they were hyping up a new anti-poverty idea

Origin:

1920s (originally US in the sense ‘short-change, cheat’, or ‘person who cheats etc.’): of unknown origin

Credit: Oxford online dictionary

IPO gaga and the misvaluations from Mars

If you’ve followed what’s happened to the Facebook brand since IPO, you’ve more than a clue about what could happen in a less-than-best-practices environment. From a risk mitigation point of view, when the crowd’s gone gaga, there’s definitely potential but also a proportionate increase in exposure.

What happens with Facebook is still unwritten. What’s sure is that amidst the feeding frenzy of negative news post-IPO, there were also stories working hard to portray potential, still. If public relations around the Facebook IPO had been conducted differently, less energy would’ve had to be directed toward rehabilitating the Facebook brand.

Facebook isn’t the first nor will it be the last to suffer from its own success. When hype goes out-of-control, it ceases to be good public relations, good marketing. Because target audiences are left with the feeling of being had.

This is sort of like a salesperson thinking of her potential clients as “marks”. Maybe the naming of things creates destiny. Clients are people.

Growth: The greatest investment the world ever knew was the investment in you

Audiences are made up of individuals. When they get together, they have awesome power. It doesn’t matter if they’re internal or external.

If you invest in treating people like smart human beings, they’ll invest in you.

I’ll be continuing posts on Silos, silly season and social. I’d like to share them with you.

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