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702/Outsurance pointspeople matzah pudding

It seems that the Outsurance/702 pointspeople sponsorship is up for pitch and many of the radio station's listeners in Johannesburg are up in arms.
We hear that the process has to be 'regularised'. And, guess what, the Johannesburg city official is probably right. Just because an agency (read Outsurance) came up with the concept, it doesn't mean it doesn't have to adhere to the regulations. The fact that the parties have been trying for months to get clarity on the process is the issue. That points to an administrative hiccup in the City of Johannesburg systems. That needs to be fixed.

No argument


There is no argument that these pointspeople perform an essential service. There is no question that these 250 people are qualified to do the job. There is also no question that the city should have acted sooner to regularise the situation.

Here is a different take: Imagine if an agency came up with an advert concept and expected to keep the business based purely on that fact? In these cases, there are business rules and regulations.

Initially the Outsurance 'noise' was coming mainly from the radio station that is the key driver in this essential community service sponsored by a short-term insurer. Outsurance I suspect understands that, if it wants the programme to continue, it needs work with the service provider to re-pitch for it. It clearly wants to do so because of the amount of media exposure it gets via the radio station and other outlets, and it has issued a statement which outlines its view of the situation.

Handled differently?


Back to the City of Joburg: could it have been handled differently? Of course. The city could have avoided this wave of negative sentiment if it would have planned properly [to have metro police officers in place already from this morning - managing ed]

It is to blame for the bad PR it has received and would have been well-advised to consult a PR agency. This is another classic example of taking the bureaucratically correct path, while not considering its customers and public sentiment.

As the morning progressed, it became (apparently) clear that all the parties were consulted and agreed to the process. So why the sudden outrage?

Classic case


Well - I'd suggest that this is a classic case of getting all hot and bothered without getting all the facts straight first. In print and online media terms, this is a classic case of finding corroborating sources for the facts and confirming with all the parties that this is in case the full story.

In terms of other media channels, the fact that everyone was a-twitter before all the facts had been presented shows that sometimes social media platforms get it wrong.

And the lessons for PR people? Well, this is a good example of presenting your client's view and ensuring that your clients are available for comment and for presenting their side of the story.

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About Angelo Coppola: @angelo2711

Angelo Coppola runs his own PR shop (Channel Managed PR), when not looking for something worthwhile to champion. He specialises in tactical content, media liaison & strategic and tactical PR. He's an ex-financial journalist. Email him at , follow him on Twitter at @angelo2711 and read his musings at www.posterous.com/angelo2711.
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