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I am not able to understand the strange desire of some organizations to have press coverages or to have press releases when they do not have anything new to say, or when what they have to say is sooooooooo obvious, to say the least!
You want an example; here is one. Freshly coming from GACA (General Authority of Civil Aviation). In this weird press coverage, I failed to come up with any significant new information or any details of useful rules that will make my life easier as a customer of this governmental organization.
Let’s have some highlights:
- ‘We aim to ensure passenger safety through the implementation of several safety procedures.’
- Daaah!! Should we become impressed or something? This is one of your main goals, isn’t?
- He added that passengers often become angry due to flight delays and cancellations during the summer, but this is because they fail to understand that flight activity increases during the summer and that there can be issues with the climate.
- And this is the worst of them all. We, the customers, fail to understand that flights usually increase during the summer!!! So it is not that travelers via Saudi airports usually suffer from poor services and lack of organization, we are the one who fail to understand!!!
- “We are cooperating with aviation companies to arrange a limited number of scheduled flights. We will schedule the number of daily flights in each airport. We define the number of flights according to an airport’s lounges, paths and runaways … Our domestic and international airports are equipped with the latest equipment that allows planes to land from very high altitudes and when the vision is poor,” he added.
- Yeah … Ok … What are you trying to say??? I did not get it?
- In order to deal with any potential challenges caused by changes in the weather, GACA has signed an agreement with the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment that would see the two bodies collaborating with each other.
- Please tell me that this is not a NEW agreement!! Haven’t you been dealing with PME before? and you’re just starting now!
This is only a classical example of a PR activity that does not add any value to the organization, actually, it might hurt it. Stating the obvious is not a goal of PR, and insulting customer is certainly not a PR acceptable technique!!!
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[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=Blackberry+phone&iid=2320188″ src=”7/5/0/f/Blackberry_Bold_Launch_4390.jpg?adImageId=10962429&imageId=2320188″ width=”234″ height=”351″ /]If the news about CITC efforts to ban the BB messenger service turned out to be true (here in Arabic), then CITC should be really honored for their great efforts in making the most bizarre and unexplainable decisions ever.
People are still not totally recovered from its earlier decision to stop the free roaming services (read about it here) to be shocked now by this out-of-no-where kind of decisions. The common ground between the two decisions, or the approaches to make these decisions, is that they both lack logical reasoning and clear explanations. CITC is now developing this talent of surprising everybody with strange news and not feeling likely to support their decisions with clear, solid justifications.
It is really strange to see that such kind of behavior is widely used in the Saudi business scene. While modern PR and communication concepts are encouraging transparency and openness with customers and end users, Saudi organizations are doing exactly the opposite; they do not care telling anybody about their decisions, they do not provide adequate justifications, and they simply feel that they are above questioning!! (in addition to CITC bright examples, you can read a similar approach used by Pepsi and Coca Cola here.)
Despite all that, I am wondering what could be the reasons that made them think of such a decision. I really hope it is not about boys and girls chatting more freely now! I know many friends who adopted this application in their business interactions and it is a major part of their daily business routine. The only acceptable reasoning that we could argue with them about is if they found some national security issues related to using such application. In that case, total banning is not the answer, I believe they could work closely with the application operator to reach some kind of arrangements. After all, this application is not only working in Saudi Arabia, is it?!!
Finally, let’s hope that this news piece will not turn into reality and, who knows, it could be even a rumor!! Learned lessons, can sometimes come from rumors!!
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The anger campaign, or you could call it ‘the hatred campaign,’ currently running by both media and customers themselves against the Saudi CITC (The Communication and Information Technology Commission) is a very interesting case study for a classical public relation failure.
It is not only that they could not construct a logical reasoning to explain their strange decision of asking the three local companies to stop providing free roaming services, they are arrogantly responding to criticism by blaming the companies they are supervising beside keep acting like they are bigger than explaining themselves to anybody!
Building your case on keep repeating that customer should be charged in order to save the market from fair competitive environment temperament does not make a lot of sense to be honest. It could be arguably accepted if one of these companies is not able to compete with the others because of some external factors (i.e. political, economical, legal, etc), but when the whole three companies are happily willing to provide the free roaming services, your reasoning is just brought to its knees!
Nevertheless, imposing such kind of legalisation is deeply affecting one of the three operative companies that built its entire strategy on the idea of being available as a roaming free operator across many Arabic countries.
All in all, the conclusion is straight forward. Whether you are a private or a public organization, you should really embrace modesty whenever communicating with your customers. You could have your own way; your own style, your own brand image but you better be there to explain yourself whenever needed. I hope CITC realizes that we are actually its customers; may be we are not paying it anything directly, but its mere existence is based on a main purpose; ultimately, serving us!!
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I just read a press release about a local company participation in an international fair. And let me tell you how I felt; disgusted!!
Press releases are a widely known and adopted tool by PR professionals to attract attention of public in general and organization’s stakeholders in particular. Unfortunately, some of these professionals definition of press releases is nothing more than a show-off-piece-of-work. A lot of lies and exaggerations are stuffed into these few lines to show the company as the best not only in its market, but in the whole universe!!
Such companies are still to realize that those press releases are, and should be, part of their whole branding management strategy. Choosing the right words and style is mandatory to deliver the certain brand value they are trying to communicate. So bragging again and again about ‘being the best’ or ‘having the latest’ or ‘everybody was astonished by our new products/service’ while your customers actually know how exaggerated that is; then, you are devaluing, not building, your brand!
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