A couple of weeks ago, I attended an event at which, as things wrapped up, the visiting V(i)P said he hoped the session had been valuable and looked forward to the feedback he felt sure local PR would organise.
That caused a lot of blank stares from the journos around the table, because none of us had ever been asked for feedback on a presser before.
And indeed, the local sub of the US company that threw the event has not been back in touch for our opinions.
Last Friday, I experience an incident that also pertains to feedback. I was called by a PR to whom I had previously indicated I would “maybe” attend an event.
She called to confirm my attendance. But I confirmed in the negative, which she felt odd as a I had previously seemed “very keen” or words to that effect.
This was not what she wanted to hear. So she asked why – a very unusual act of seeking feedback.
I said, basically, that I considered the product launch trivial and not worth the time. The PR tried, gamely, to convince me otherwise. At this point I must admit I was not at my most charming as I tried repeatedly to explain that I was not interested as I did not think the product of particular interest to my readers. The PRs arguments in response were, sadly, not sustained by facts. So we got exchanges like this:
Me: I’m not convinced that small businesses need high definition videoconferencing. It is not as if they have adopted any other form of it.
PR: But it is now so much more affordable.
Me: How much is it?
PR: I don’t know.
Once that vein was mined out, the PR also showed no evidence of:
a) ever having read the publication she was pitching to;
b) knowing I write for more than one publication.
That kind of stuff kind of ticks me off. It seems to me, as I have said very often, that a pitch should be better-informed because frankly I find it hard to be civil when they are not.I ended up saying “I am at No on this and I cannot imagine you will get me to Yes.”
Today, she even rang back and offered to send me the press release which by then I no longer cared about. Once again, gamely, she tried to win me over by mentioning some research that accompanied it but seemed strangely miffed when I rebuffed the chance to read some vendor-sponsored research commissioned to accompany the launch. Let’s see … that research is not going to be super-independent, is it?
So there we have it. One organisation in which a senior rep from HQ believes in and expects feedback but does not implement it locally. And a lone PR who seeks it and then walked a line between worthy if bloody-minded plugging and refusing to understand that No means No.