Anytime a company can get
positive press during morning drive on a major news network, that’s a golden
opportunity. Unless. You haven’t
properly media trained the people you plan to put in front of the camera.
This morning a senior station manager
at a Fed Ex Facility in Marietta, Georgia, joined CNN’s American Morning to talk about the holiday rush. Fed Ex
expected to ship 16 million packages today–yes I said today–a 12% increase
over this time last year. Great news for the company, great news for the
economy and great news for whoever is getting all these gifts.
Then Mr. Senior Manager went
from Santa’s Helper to the Grinch Who Stole Christmas in less than 60 seconds
with one comment. When asked about staffing for such a rush, he commented that
one of the things they do is “cancel vacations” at this time of year.
After that, the true reason
for the story lost it’s feel good ‘umphh’ for me. The reason for the story was to announce that Fed Ex is
sending 15,000 live Christmas trees overseas for the troops. A wonderful gesture but all I could imagine were all those poor employees, with canceled vacations, chained to
shipping tables with an overlord driving them to pack, load and ship these
Lesson to learn? That just
one casual phrase thrown out there, can change the entire story or perception
for the viewer about your company or the message you are trying to convey. The
story would have retained a positive, feel good message for me if he had simply
said “everyone knows this is our biggest time of year and they really step up
as a team to get it done.”
Invest the money and time
into media training for anyone that will go in front of a camera. Know the
company’s key messages, practice them and be prepared to bridge to them
throughout your fifteen seconds or more of fame.
Everyone comes out a winner.