For marketers and PR professionals, timely communication with your audience is important to maintaining a strong brand. In a world where news, opinions, reviews, and customer feedback is almost instantaneous, issues must be dealt with now, not later. You must actively engage in an upfront and honest manner. Consider the following story about director Michael Bay’s recent PR mishap (from Cinematical.com)
Never keep hundreds of people waiting in the rain for hours. Michael Bay, Shia LaBeouf, and Megan Fox did just that in South Korea on June 9. An estimated crowd of 600 fans and press lined up in Seoul early to see the red-carpet premiere of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, according to Screen Daily, and were then disappointed when the Transformers entourage arrived 80 minutes late, spending only a few minutes with the crowd. Members of the press were further distressed when the group arrived 30 minutes late to a scheduled news conference the next day, and some staged a walk-out.
Bay has now issued a written apology, explaining that “traveling from another country, and not allowing enough time for airport delays, city traffic and hotel check-in,” and that the press conference delay was due to the “serious pain” he was experiencing from a pulled back muscle. (The group traveled directly from the premiere in Tokyo, Japan.) Damage control was necessary, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because bloggers had started a campaign to boycott the film in theaters, while local distributor CJ Entertainment insists that interest in the film remains high.
As in the U.S., Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen opens in Korea on June 24. The first Transformers made even more money outside the U.S. than within, so it makes sense to court international audiences, but this incident demonstrates once again that no one likes to be shortchanged or taken for granted.
I particularly like the last line of this article, “No one likes to be shortchanged or taken for granted.” Let your audience know you appreciate them. Communicate with them. Ask for their ideas and input. And utilize the power of video to get your message out to a mass audience.