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Reputation Management and the Media.

Reputation Management and the Media.

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  • 1.  
  • 2. Reputation Management and the Media Robin Treacher Fellow Chartered Institute of Public Relations Director of DTW Vavasour Journalist with 25 years’ local government experience
  • 3. This Presentation
    • Getting on the Media’s wavelength
    • Why bother with our reputation?
    • Self-inflicted wounds
    • Doing better
  • 4. WHAT IS NEWS? “ News is what someone, somewhere is trying to suppress ... everything else is advertising”
  • 5. “ Political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness” GEORGE ORWELL Politics and the English Language 1946
  • 6. THE NATURE OF MEDIA What is your primary source of news? Note: Demographics show faster increase in young with internet TV (55% and steady) Press (15% and declining) Radio (11% steady) Internet (19% quickly increasing)
  • 8. Why bother with the media?
    • Keeping residents informed leads to higher satisfaction levels
    • Huge importance to politicians
    • Reinforces confidence and trust in the Council
    • Quick and cheap way to explain policy or service changes
    • Accountable – helps the democratic franchise
    • Dilutes the bad news, which will happen anyway
  • 9. The Silly Season
    • There are two known times of the year when there is a News famine:
    • Summer holidays
    • Christmas holidays
    • This is a prime time for getting good news out.
    • It is also a danger period – especially for FoI
  • 10. Who is the media?
    • Very diverse – over 2,000 titles
    • News has brand values! Guardian v Telegraph
    • Each media type has different requirements and needs
    • Which is most important to:
    • - Your Council = News at Ten?
    • - Your residents = Community Newsletters?
    • National television
    • National radio
    • Professional newspapers / magazines
    • National newspapers
    • Local television
    • Local radio
    • Local / regional daily newspapers
    • Local weekly and free newspapers
    • Local weekly and free newspapers
    • Local / regional daily newspapers
    • Local radio
    • Local television
    • National newspapers
    • Professional newspapers / magazines
    • National radio
    • National television
  • 13. Media Myths
    • The media has to be truthful and balanced
    • Off the record means you won’t quote me
    • You cannot use this – it is embargoed
    • If I ignore them they will go away
    • Today’s newspapers are tomorrow’s fish and chip wrappers
  • 14. Alternatives to media relations
    • If you don’t or won’t use the media pro-actively, what avenues are there?
    • Advertising in the media (not editorial)
    • Advertising elsewhere (e.g. hoardings)
    • Publications – including a civic newspaper or magazine.
    • Web-based information
    • Face-to-face (meetings)
    • All lack the credibility of “independent” media, are slower and more costly
  • 15. Managing your reputation
    • Why bother?
    • What makes a reputation?
    • Who matters?
    • Is it all about media relations?
  • 16. Why Bother?
    • You already have a near monopoly!
  • 17. Why bother?
    • Democratic franchise
    • Vulnerable clients – moral duty
    • Staff recruitment and retention
    • Promotes innovation and creativity
    • Attracts extra grants and funding vehicles
    • Fosters confidence
    • Attracts best partners and suppliers
    • Better time with regulators and enforcers
  • 18. What makes a reputation?
    • What we do – no substitute for good services
    • Community leadership (Kent smoking ban; Essex post offices)
    • Responsiveness – especially disasters
  • 19.
    • IDeA/LGA identified
    • Media (especially pro-active)
    • A-Z guide
    • Regular civic newspapers
    • Consistent branding
    • Ambassadorial staff
  • 20. Reputation via the media
    • Not a local government strength
    • Not a main driver for public sector careers
    • Marketing, brand management, market positioning – alien to those delivering council services?
    • Reputation not a highly treasured asset
    • Private sector: “Reputation is the most valuable intangible asset on the balance sheet”
  • 21. Good reputation: Poor reputation
    • Examples of good?
    • Examples of poor?
    • Good = accumulation of positives
    • Poor = single issue
    • Hard to win: easy to lose
  • 22. Reputation
    • Where do you get your information before making an assessment?
  • 23. Self inflicted wounds
    • The media (and us) prefer bad news
    • Given half the chance a good story can turn bad
    • The media isn’t there to work on your behalf
  • 24. How to avoid shooting yourself in the foot
    • Remove careless or ambiguous wording
    • Don’t use jargon or acronyms
    • Spot a breaking story
    • Don’t draw comfort from blaming someone else
    • Don’t include worst case scenarios
    • Don’t give absolute assurances
    • Think like a journalist
  • 25. You should be.......
    • Gathering news from around the Council – and be pro-active about it
    • Bring about balance across Council priorities and service areas
    • Build in good news to balance the bad
    • Be sure to know when bad news might hit the fan
    • Watch out for “pre-digested” news from colleagues
    • Everyone in your Council has a responsibility to think media
  • 27. Issue Analysis
    • Strengths
      • Three key messages you want to communicate
      • ‘ Safe ground’
    • Weaknesses
      • The angle the opposition is likely to take
      • What you’d prefer not to be brought up
  • 28. ANSWERING THE QUESTION Interview ends KEY MESSAGE 1 KEY MESSAGE 2 KEY MESSAGE 3 Substantiate Substantiate Substantiate Insight Insight Insight First question from journalist
  • 29. ANSWERING THE QUESTION Interview ends Take decisive action Maintain stability of system Take necessary steps Governor, Chancellor and I take any necessary action We will do whatever we can Over last few weeks taken decisive action Sent message to White House Anything to benefit families and businesses Action continued over the weekend First question from journalist
  • 31. Weaknesses Strengths
  • 32. Reputation and the media? When it comes to reputation, the media can be the mechanism – not the menace
  • 33. QUESTIONS?