This is an archived blog from when I ran Conscious Public Relations Inc. from 2008-2018. Excuse the potential outdated-ness!
The balance between good PR and keeping it real
On the Skytrain yesterday I was browsing my Instagram feed and came across a very interesting thread in response to Blenz Coffee’s contest winner announcement.
First of all, I will say that I was one of those people who added Blenz on my Instagram feed when I saw a friend enter a contest and I had to follow and #regram their graphic to enter myself. AND I won the $10 gift card and water bottle, and it is not the first time I have won things. I tend to win. So I apologize to the people who may enter these contests with high hopes and have never won anything in their life without effort. I really am sorry for you.
I’m even sorrier for Blenz and the backlash they got from comments when they announced the winner of the Pemberton Festival tickets they had given away. Daaamn! Them were fighting words. Many people admitted to following Blenz just to win. And they commented that they were unfollowing… potentially right before the unfollowing!
This poses a good question about PR. Blenz might choose in future not to announce the winner of their contests at all, to avoid comments like this. They could have deleted the post altogether to pretend it never happened. Or they may choose in good faith to continue, knowing that this will happen but that it may result in waves of Instagram followers and unfollows each time they run a contest of substantial value. This is the gamble we take each time we create a contest like this. There is the risk of making someone’s day and then making many others’ days worse.
But kudos to Blenz for not commenting back and being 100% transparent. I see lots of companies playing the defense card and jumping into these conversations only to be swallowed whole by the masses. Keep offering wicked prizes. Keep building your followership. Something IS working and it will continue to work with the people who are loyal fans!
And for those who are scared of doing stuff like this on Instagram or any other social network… see what your competitors are doing and what their results are. Are theirs worth the effort that you’re holding back on?
Sometimes transparency can equal flattery, but not always, especially if you’ve not done the right thing. Rule #1 is Do the Right Thing. You may not get flattery, but sometimes transparency is the best you can get.