02 June 2008

I hate bland PR quotes

Three business executives outdoors
One of my pet hates is the standard PR quote used for padding. (I have mentioned this before)

PRs know that all journos need to quote somebody to make a story stand up. So every press release comes with a ready-made quote, 'off the shelf'. Many are bland and banal 'corporate speak'.

Let me go find some examples....

(returns 5 mins later - promise!) OK, these are some of today's. They are by no means the worst I've seen, but they'll help illustrate what I mean.

  1. [company]’s Chief Executive Officer, [name], added: "We are most proud to have contributed and to continue contributing to [company]’s growth. The largest cruise operator in Europe, [company] has just celebrated its millionth passenger in the year. I am confident that this alliance will stand the test of time and enable our companies to further consolidate our positions as market leaders in our respective business areas."


  2. The deployment of [company] technology is another great UDOT success story according to Governor [name]. "Utah's decision to deploy[company] is making Utah highways safer, cleaner and more efficient for us all."


  3. "The overwhelming popularity of [company]'s innovative, express bus service prompted us to expand to the East Coast," said [name], president and chief operating officer of [company]. "Our Midwest same city sales are up 107 percent from 2007."

    "Seventy-nine percent of our customers are choosing to travel with [company] instead of driving, flying or taking the train and have been delighted with their travel experiences, " [name] added. "With current gas prices and financial strains, [company] continues to be the best value for the money choice of the traveling public."


  4. Hotel Relationships Director, [name] comments: ‘The rapid growth of [company] is a result of constant evolution to meet the needs of customers and hotels. We’re thrilled to welcome both [name] and [name] to the [company] team, their expert knowledge will help us enhance our service to the relevant hoteliers in Scotland and the North of England. By having a market manager based in specific regions we can get a much better understanding of the markets and individual hotel needs’.


See! They are THAT easy to find!

Now look at them.

"With current gas prices and financial strains, [company] continues to be the best value for the money choice of the traveling public"

"I am confident that this alliance will stand the test of time and enable our companies to further consolidate our positions as market leaders in our respective business areas."

I mean, cmon! Does anyone in real life really talk like that?

I know they do in corporate presentation mode, but in today's Web 2.0 world consumers can smell hype at a thousand paces. Instead, they respond to, and believe in, normal kitchen-table conversations. That's why company blogs have taken off.

So what is the solution?

Well, I have two...

The first is for PRs to use SMNRs and include multiple and extended .mp3 interview & conversation clips, from which journos can select the quotes they want. (But then, since I make those sort of podcast clips for people, I would say that wouldn't I!)

The second is for PRs to simply inject some personality into the quotes they quote. When you phone your client to ask for a quote (or tell them the quote you are proposing), make it something personal that couldn't be said in the body of the release. IE Instead of...

"We are delighted to add this new hotel to our portfolio, which expands our properties in Scotland to 11"

try...

"I've been visiting this hotel every month during its construction and getting more and more excited with every visit, but when my 12-year-old daughter saw it for the first time yesterday and said 'Dad. it's beautiful', I knew we have a success on our hands"


It's not rocket science, it's people science.





1 comment:

Jeremy Head said...

It's not just PR quotes.. it's PR generally... all of it is bland. I delete at least 60% of the stuff I get emailed just on the title alone. Wouldn't travel writing be so much nicer without them!