Fox10 in Phoenix shoots a story with our client about his toothpaste collection from around the world.
Fox10 in Phoenix shoots a story with our client about his toothpaste collection from around the world.
To celebrate the holiday, Loren booked a room at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. She booked the room through the hotel and not Expedia because the hotel offered a $50 food and beverage credit. At least that was our understanding.
When Loren checked in, the front desk told her the $50 credit was only good for a two-night stay. We were staying one night. I checked our email confirmation and, in what I consider small print, I read the two-day requirement.
The woman who booked our room didn’t mention the two-day requirement.
I Tweeted: ”Woman who booked room at @fairmonthotels didn’t mention I needed to stay 2 nights for $50 F&B credit. I missed the fine print. Disappointed.”
Fairmont Hotels responded with its own Tweet. Impressive. They responded in two minutes. More impressive.
Fairmont Hotels responded: ”@keithyaskin Can you email us a bit more on the situation Keith? email@example.com Would like to help with this if possible.”
Then someone quoted my Tweet: “happened to me last yr! RT “@keithyaskin: @fairmonthotels didn’t mention needed to stay 2 nights for $50 F&B credit. Disappointed.””
While I composed an email to Fairmont Hotels, Loren called Fairmont Hotels from the room. The first person indicated to Loren she wasn’t the first guest affected by this situation. But a supervisor told Loren the hotel couldn’t remedy the situation because Loren booked the room through a AAA promotion. Loren was flabbergasted the supervisor couldn’t just offer her a $50 credit. The supervisor simply began to repeat how the AAA promotion prevented her from helping. The supervisor said she could fill out some paperwork, but the situation might not be resolved for a few days. Loren indicated she was ready to pack up her bags. After putting Loren on hold, the supervisor then offered to sign her up for the “Fairmont President’s Club” which would offer two $25 credits. The supervisor explained the “club” membership would take about 30 minutes to become active.
I Tweeted: ”Frustrating and confusing conversation with @fairmonthotels supervisor in trying to resolve dispute over $50 food and beverage credit.”
Someone later called back Loren, explained how someone entered the wrong “code” and that we would be receiving our original $50 credit.
I Tweeted: ”@fairmonthotels resolves dispute & gives us $50 food and beverage credit. Thank you.”
Fairmont Hotels later replied: ”@keithyaskin Email received, but it sounds like you’ve since resolved the situation on-site. ?”
Maybe my Tweets played no role in resolving this dispute. I’m happy Fairmont Hotels resolved it, although if I were the supervisor, I would have made the resolution less difficult to achieve. But even if we hadn’t solved this on-site, Twitter allowed me to check in publicly with someone at a much higher level.
That’s an option I didn’t have years ago. That’s an option businesses didn’t have to deal with years ago.
As we walked our dog Molly and darkness quickly settled in, a shadowy figure galloped toward us, its feet “clip clopping” against the cement. A dog, I figured, escaped from his leash. But as the shadow approached, the little light remaining revealed this was no happy-go-lucky pup on a joy run. This was a pig, none other than what we know as the modern javelina. It was too late to escape. We prepared for hand to hoof combat. But with seconds to spare, the javelina adjusted course, scurried across the street as if deciding he was in no mood to tangle. He or she disappeared into the desert and we returned home after yet another sidewalk adventure.
During our next walk, I armed myself with an aluminum cylinder, refusing to surrender Scottsdale’s sidewalks to disgruntled pigs. We also took a lesson from Will Smith’s character in the film “I Am Legend.” His character set an alarm on his wristwatch, notifying him night soon approached and reminding him to swiftly return home before zombies began to stroll the streets. I set a smart phone alarm, alerting us to start our walk earlier than before. This time, we encountered only a rabbit and large lizard. This time, the javelina did not disguise itself as a dog as part of a devious plan.
Shooting a speech more than an hour and 40 minutes long is a great leg exercise.
You determined your company’s news angle. You selected who on staff will speak to the media. But before you email or phone in your pitch, you must make yet another key decision: Where is this interview going to take place?
1. Avoid offices and conference rooms: They are boring. They normally in no way show off what separates you from other companies. If you own a factory, bring journalists to the factory floor. If you’re a doctor, conduct interviews in a patient room. If you run an auto shop, talk where the repairs take place. If you offer phone and internet services, bring me to the call center. If you’re a chef, cook up an interview in the kitchen. The more visual, the better. Reporters want to see the sights and hear the sounds. Give them action! If you don’t want to show the media what’s on the inside, then don’t contact the media. I turned down several good stories when companies tried to corner us into an office without showing us the real deal.
2. Stay busy: Don’t briefly shut down the factory floor or auto shop when journalists visit. Too often, businesses invited me over when nothing was going on and the person I interviewed had nothing to do. Don’t get all your work done just in time for a journalist’s visit. Save the work for his or her arrival.
3. Active interviews: You’ll really separate yourself by offering to provide an interview while working at the same time. Answer questions while repairing cars, treating patients, pulling levers or taking orders from customers. Walk and talk. Don’t make excuses! Don’t argue all this is disrupting business or customers. For every time people claimed they couldn’t show me their business in full swing, someone else in the same industry made it happen. How badly do you want the coverage and how badly do you want that coverage to be awesome?
4. Pick your quiet place: If your visual surroundings are simply too loud to conduct an interview, make prior arrangements to turn off just enough banging and clanking to practically conduct a conversation. Selecting a quiet spot among the chorus of sounds to sit or strand for the interview is another option. But noise is not an excuse to escape back into a conference room of plants and lame paintings.
5. No faking: Don’t offer to fake a working environment. Countless doctors who didn’t try to get a patient’s consent to be on TV instead asked me if a nurse could pretend to be a patient. You’re not making a movie. You’re telling a news story and the goal is to be genuine. Offering to fake something will immediately drop your worth with any journalist who appreciates the validity of his or her craft.
6. Pitch visuals: Include your visual ideas when pitching a journalist. Most people leave this aspect out of their pitches even though visuals and out of the ordinary interview settings are an excellent way to separate your story from the others.
You’ve determined your company’s compelling story. But before pitching it to journalists who can’t wait to share it with the world (or at least your local market), you must make an important decision: Who would give the interview?
Plenty of minds that excel at business and are attached to fancy titles don’t do well in interviews. Some businesses feel compelled to put their bosses front and center with journalists and several of those executives over the years sent me into sleep mode. Some at the top are at the bottom in personality. And that’s OK. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. But you don’t want to offer a journalist someone knee deep in industry lingo who can’t connect with the public. You certainly don’t want someone talking to the media who is gruff and naturally defensive. As any sports fan knows, just because someone can afford to buy a football team doesn’t mean he or she should be the face of the team.
Watch Andy the miner in our video Nearly One Mile Underground. He is not the CEO, but he is an excellent example of someone who can help sell a message. And most journalists prefer to interview someone in the trenches rather than a suit in the corner office. If the boss offers the best of both worlds, so be it!
1. Personality: Choose someone outgoing who speaks with energy and passion and doesn’t find speaking to reporters nerve-racking.
2. Genuine: Find a spokesperson who journalists will believe genuinely loves the company and feels invested in its success.
3. Smart: Select someone who can speak from the heart without sounding like he or she has memorized a trail of talking points. But your choice must be smart enough to adjust to tough or unexpected questions and to realize what words would lead to an embarrassing experience.
4. Appearance: Being genuine doesn’t mean being a slob. We all know good executives and employees who disguise themselves as fools in fashion. Some journalists judge a book by its cover, so find someone who at a minimum appreciates a tucked-in shirt.
5. Story: Find someone with a good story to tell. Why did that person join the company? How did it change their life? What are their really cool experiences? I found some well-spoken people with all the key messages only slightly more interesting than a press release. Most journalists want to focus on people. Give them someone interesting and they’ll likely give you a good story about your business.
The goal: Shoot a video of a doctor speaking into a camera and sharing key messages. In this case, the doctor’s office did not provide an ideal background. The better choice: a colleague’s home office with its rich wooden shelves and professional appearance. But when shooting especially at someone’s home, you should carefully search the background for personal items that may distract viewers or detract from the professional message. Missing these items sometimes is easy. They blend into the background like hidden pictures in a Highlights magazine challenge. Here are five things to focus on.