How not to do media relations – part 42

You have to feel sorry for Gwendoline Ornigge, Global External Communications for Belgian brewing giant InBev SA (the people that have just acquired Budweiser). InDev own Canadian brewer Labatt and as part of an email chain with Labatt’s national communications manager she accidentally copied a journalist at the Toronto Star in on an internal memo about the tactics for dealing with that same journalist.

The memo outlined what kind of story I said I was planning to write, along with a risks/opportunities assessment.

Risk: I might try to focus on the decline of the Blue Brand. Opportunity: I (or more likely the Star) is seen as a key influencer in an important market for Labatt.

But most revealing was Hunter’s suggestion the company offer up someone below the vice-president level who would be unable to answer certain questions I might ask.

"By staying at the Director Marketing level, Dana will be limited in the scope of overarching strategic questions that could be logically posed to a VP Marketing or CEO," the internal memo said.

The lesson for all public relations people is that when forwarding and replying to emails always remember to check:

  1. They are addressed to the right person (and not someone with the same or similar name, or just next to them in your address book).
  2. You’ve snipped the irrelevant bits or bits you don’t want/need everyone to see.
  3. You’ve checked the attachments (including for hidden data and old amendments).

Thanks to Heather Yaxley for the link.