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Taking A Company Public – PR Propaganda – Investor Relations Power

I remember in college a professor said that, ‚Any publicity is good publicity‘. I took that idea with me and tried to apply it early in my career and found the outcome of that concept to be disastrous for a client who was under the same misguided assumption. What university students don’t realize until it’s too late is that instructors teach because they cannot ‚do‘.

I have yet to find a professor who was so unbelievably successful in business that he threw it all away in order to mold young minds and shape the future of our economy with tomorrow’s decision makers. To the contrary, those who have a difficult time convincing fellow professionals in the real world of their cerebral preeminence would rather stand in a classroom and spat off statistical concepts formulated and tested by those who this talking head admires yet will never become. It’s a matter of emotional intelligence vs. book intelligence. The former is a prerequisite for powerhouse, contact rich executives and the latter is reserved for individuals that are limited to the creativity and genius of the authors of the material in which they memorize.

The turbulent genre of investor relations, which encompasses crisis management and corporate publicity is limited to the confines of the emotional marathon runner. The up and down swings of this unique niche profession are not for the faint at heart. The ability to parley a crisis situation into that which stimulates trading volume of stock (in a positive manner) is a gift endowed to the street wise, leveraging demigod.

The IR consultants that I know are the guys who get A’s and B’s at a state university, sold vacuums and cell phones the year after college, got their series 7 and after a few years of successful trading, made a nice chunk of cash, got bored and left the industry only to re-enter on the stock promotions side.

They have the technical experience needed to evaluate a stock and test it for chinks in the armor and leaks and they have the industry contacts and street smarts to formulate a deliberate process to promote the company in a way that is conducive to superior public interest and investor coziness.

Successful IR, PR and crisis management really comes down to creating a template for information distribution; once this is accomplished it then in becomes a process of articulating the actual content, good or bad, in a way that reflects the idea that the company’s end result will leave them better off than they are now.

For countering negative press or crisis management issues a company should always have an arsenal of positive information ready to pump out 3 to 1 for the ultimate public distraction (meaning for every one negative, drive 3 positives through the publicity template put together beforehand). What should your template look like? You need a combination of media contacts on all levels (radio, news, TV, talk radio, etc) along with an ample supply of high traffic blogs, article directories, podcasts with large followings, double opt-in email list to investors and shareholders, legislative style spin contractors and powerful bookmarking tools to add to the affect. It is important to test-run through the scenarios before you need them. You’re going to have problems that could hinder your company stock or reputation, it’s just a fact of commerce. Prepare ahead of time so that your crisis management solution is in place. Hire a troubleshooter that can come in and set your organization up with concepts that will free your head from the noose that would otherwise cause your company’s demise.

Characteristics to look for in a consultant of this caliber would be: even keeled and calm, no nervous habits such as nail biting, sniffing, shuffling feet etc. Watch out for name dropping to base their abilities off of their association with another entity or individual, hiring a consultant like this will result in failure and they’ll pass the buck and won’t be accountable. Watch for the involuntary micro expressions controlled by the subconscious mind. To measure this, ask a few trigger questions you know the answers to and watch for the facial reactions immediately after the question but before the verbal response.

Next, ask him questions that would need modified or critical thinking and again, watch for the facial expressions. After you’ve discovered his ‚tells‘ you should be able to effectively proceed with a general comprehension of the truth and lies (or over exaggerations) during the qualifications interrogation. Have him run you through scenarios that he’s worked on in the past and the processes that were put in place before hand or on the fly to deliver a powerful end result for the client. Ask him to elaborate on his most powerful crisis management tactics. Find out what he’s done on the IR side to generate trading volume and share price strength. Ask him how he would take your product or service and pump it through his PR stratagem for optimal outcome.

Again, this specialist is a dynamo, not an instructor and they are more of a strategist than a general tactician, meaning they are able to apply the tactical knowledge that the public has access to but apply it to his current environment, good or bad, for a strong, predictable end result.

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