The ubiquitous burger is one of the most marketed products on the planet. Basically a flattened portion of minced meat it needs ingenuity to sell as something special. But like any other form of human activity, marketing and communications is easy to get so very wrong and there are many examples of burger bull that we can look back on with either a shudder or a rueful smile.
Some years ago McDonald's did not fully research their urban slang before making the ad that said: "Double Cheeseburger? I'd hit it." Nearly everyone but McDonald's understood it to mean that the new slogan advocated sex with sandwiches, and the ad lives on in parodies online.
Then there was the Burger King campaign where the fast food giant spent millions of dollars traveling to Transylvania, Greenland, and Thailand to find hamburger illiterate people to try their Whopper in an on-the-spot comparative taste test with the Big Mac. Critics blasted Burger King, upset that the company didn't acknowledge the hunger that exists in some of the areas where they filmed, citing Thailand in particular, where 30% of people would never be able to afford a hamburger.
In many western countries lean, finely textured ammonia treated beef has been an additive in prepared meat products for years. Then in March 2012 following a Jamie Oliver programme in which he dubbed the material “pink slime,” a PR firestorm erupted, which ended with the near-destruction of the industry.
McDonald’s in the US was forced to admit it had discontinued the use of ammonia-treated beef in its hamburgers and in New Zealand the company announced that ammonia treated beef has never been used in its beef patties here.
This year Europe is convulsed with stories about adulterated meat products containing horse meat, which is seeing a fundamental shift in people’s eating habits and gave rise to one of the best lines currently in circulation ‘I’ve given up eating beef, I’ve now discovered’ (Now Show BBC R4).
In these and many other cases of bogus or misleading promotion the ultimate payoff is the public backlash. In some instances this can be so severe that industries, personalities or practices perish.
In issues management we have a simple defence against this sort of ‘bad publicity event’. It’s as simple to define as it is difficult to implement. It’s known as delivering the promise. You have to do what you say you do. The reward is trust.
No matter how good the PR or marketing an awareness campaign can only deliver the audience to the initiator’s door. It’s at that point that the PR professional has no more say in the matter because then the product or service has to deliver the promise. The concept has lately been taken up by politicians in New Zealand and abroad through the phrase `It does exactly what it says on the tin’ filched from a 1990’s ad campaign for Ronseal wood treatment.
It’s meant to demonstrate a willingness to be transparent, open and uncomplicated and a guarantee of honesty. From the mouths of politicians under pressure it can sound somewhat hollow but it is a sign that they recognise an underlying reluctance amongst audiences to believe in them. They’re in search of trust.
Trust in the brand is what we are trying to protect and promote on behalf of our clients. You will have noticed that many of the media releases we initiate on behalf of our clients have a research base. It’s part of our strong association with the health care and IT industries where demonstrable proof is a basic tenet. Invariably any claim we make will have a link to a scientific reference or study. Indeed our latest story is entirely about research findings at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic that support the use of spinal manipulation.
But our story is only as good as each and every one of our clients. It’s why we are careful and particular about who we work with. It’s what you deliver in the form of the best brand experience that truly makes the difference. And it’s what you say about your business either in person or through your own websites and promotion that matters too. I’ve said it before and will no doubt keep on hammering on about this, but be considered in all that you do and say. It only takes one adverse event, be that an action or a statement, to negate a campaign of good intent.
Peter is the managing director of Boyes PR
Telarc, the country's leading ISO Standards certifying body has broadened its training offering with the launch of Telarc Training and Improvement Solutions www.telarc.co.nz/about-telarc-training-and-improvement-solutions so that any New Zealand business, no matter what size, can take advantage of the service.
Telarc annually assesses the management systems of over 2,000 New Zealand organisations across both public and private sectors.
Craig Brown, Telarc Marketing and Business Development Manager explains: `An increasing number of our customers have been asking for more training in how to implement and manage business sustainability systems. As a Crown Entity Subsidiary, our aim is to help companies become compliant, thus ensuring higher growth rates for sales, employment, payroll, and average annual earnings. We also assist in reducing running costs and reduce overall risk, while ensuring the efficient use of resources, promoting stakeholder reassurance and industry compliance.
`Telarc Training and Improvement Solutions is a natural response to that demand which broadens the range of our provision to fill a recognised gap and supports real business needs. We are still able to tailor courses to specific business requirements if five or more staff members are enrolled for training.’
Telarc Training and Improvement Solutions courses are designed to increase awareness of standards, management systems and the latest business improvement frameworks and techniques. Courses aim to
- enable the effective implementation of management systems and assurance programmes
- enhance capability to audit and maintain internal management systems
- drive waste and defects out from processes to enhance desired outcomes
- go beyond compliance to achieve other critical business objectives and goals
- build a culture of continuous improvement across organisational systems and processes, based on enhanced knowledge and capability
Craig Brown adds: `Our customers benefit from course content, which is informed and tailored to the needs of business, and is delivered to suit all stages of learning. Businesses can choose from training services that address key business management systems, including Quality, Occupational Health & Safety, and Risk and Compliance, or in the realm of process and performance improvement, we offer tools to enhance critical processes and ensure alignment to business goals and objectives, including Process Management and Governance, Lean and Six Sigma.’
Telarc works with a range of standards and accreditations, including the globally recognised Quality Management System ISO 9001, Environmental ISO 14001, PEFC, FSC, Health and Safety ASNZS 4801 and Public Safety NZS7901.
For more information on Telarc visit www.telarc.co.nz
Peter Boyes, BPR - 0275 540 500 firstname.lastname@example.org
Craig Brown, Telarc – 09 580 6712 email@example.com
The long hot summer has brought a bumper crop of exercise-related injuries according to the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association.
Dr Hayden Thomas, chiropractor and spokesperson for the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association explains: ‘The lovely summer weather has tempted a lot of people outside and some of them are trying to do more than they should physically, without adequate preparation and we are seeing the results.’
Last year the Accident Compensation Corporation paid out almost $9 million for summer-related injuries, with 30,737 people making claims for injuries they sustained doing what Kiwis do best - enjoying the great outdoors.
Dr Thomas advises New Zealanders to `Work within your limits and gently extend them. If you do have some joint stiffness or tissue tension, then make sure you do some stretches to improve your flexibility and tone before undertaking strenuous activities and beware of high impact exercise. Deconditioned joints and muscles need extra care to slowly increase function and strength. Some people can be at the opposite end of the spectrum where hypermobile joints can be overloaded and cause problems in the surrounding supportive tissues. People need to listen to their body and find a happy medium with a mixture of stretching and strengthening, along with finding the right activity and activity level for their individual condition.
‘Delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, is a sign that your body has reached its limits for the time being. We do see people who have gone that bit too far at this time of year, they might have felt great at the time of activity but their body lets them know they have overdone it and need some time out to recuperate. The key to enjoying the great outdoors is to maintain your joint flexibility and enhance your adaptive capacity – the body’s ability to get fitter and stronger. Seeing a chiropractor will help keep that ability on track and reduce the risk of injury. An optimum functioning spine and nervous system is less likely to get injured’
But the NZCA is keen for New Zealanders to get out and exercise more as the biggest risk for spinal and overall health problems comes from sedentary lifestyle. Dr Thomas says that older people especially benefit from exercise in lots of ways. He refers to a study, which was published in the September 2012 issue of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, which showed that astronauts on the International Space Station benefited from good nutrition and exercise with an increase in their bone mineral density.
Dr Thomas says: `This study shows the vital importance of weight-bearing exercise in maintaining bone density. It’s undeniable that bones grow weaker without it and
this study has been hailed as the first significant progress in protecting bone through diet and exercise.’
Dr Thomas points out that: `People may not realise that chiropractic is a key wellness and prevention service. Chiropractors don’t just wait for people to break down but are primarily interested in preventing and correcting the underlying factors which cause ill health. A chiropractor will be able to check that all your spinal joints are moving properly to provide enough input to the brain and also look at other physical, emotional, nutritional and biochemical stressors that may be impacting on your body’s ability to self regulate and heal. Then working in conjunction with other members of the healthcare team your chiropractor will devise a programme that will help to address each of the factors.
For further information on the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association visit www.chiropractic.org.nz.
 1 Scott M. Smith, et al. “Benefits for bone from resistance exercise and nutrition in long-duration spaceflight: Evidence from biochemistry and densitometry.” Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 2012; 27 (9): 1896 DOI: 10.1002/jbmr.1647