Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Great Example of Good Contractor PR

We know that George noticed a duck hanging out by a storm drain on Saturday and discovered a collection of ducklings behind the metal grate guarding the drain. George tried to lift the drain, but couldn't. So he called the fire department and the police. Either the firefighters or police officers freed the trapped ducklings while George watched.

This would have been the end of the story, except it was written up by the Associated Press. How did that happen?

We don't know how the story wound up on the wire services, but given the company connection, it wouldn't surprise me if George called the boss saying, "You'll never guess what happened."

The boss must have then called or emailed a reporter. Why do I suspect the boss? Because George was identified in the story as a plumber "on call for Mr. Rooter."

What does the company have to do with this? After all, George wasn't at work. He was on call. George didn't save the ducklings, the police or firefighters did. The company has nothing to do with this, other than employing plumbers who care about baby ducks.

Yet, by including George's company affiliation, Mr. Rooter gets lots of free exposure. Moreover, it gets its name associated with the warm and fuzzy feeling of saving little ducks.

On the other hand, it highlights that a plumber working for a company specializing in sewer and drain cleaning had to call the police and fire departments for help clearing ducklings out of a storm drain. While the storm drain isn't the same, it still sounds funny.

Even if the wire service picked the story up by chance, with no input from the company, it shows how public relations opportunities abound. What good deeds do your employees do for your customers? What do your employees do in their free time? What are their hobbies, volunteer activities, and accomplishments? Can you turn these into good PR for your company?

If a plumbing company can get positive PR when an employees is credited with saving ducklings he really failed to rescue, while on call, but not on the clock, anything is possible.

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