A PR ‘own goal’ to kick off the silly season

In PR terms, the arrival of summer marks the silly season when bizarre and outlandish stories start to make the headlines in want of better copy crossing the journalist’s desks. In the UK our own football elite kicked off the silly season with an own goal.

The ‘Football League’, a group representing 72 clubs worth tens of millions of pounds, opted to change its name and refresh its brand to the ‘EFL’ aka the English Football League, and to add insult to injury according to most of their fans, followed this up by introducing a radically changed cup competition.

Soccer in some countries is close to a religion so changing the logo, the name and the competition rules did not go down well with extremely unhappy supporters with some planning a highly publicised walkout in protest at the new competition.

Perhaps a lesson in crisis management is in order for the EFL, Football League or whatever they want to be called. Whatever, the story was a gift to hacks on national newspapers looking for a good story to fill their summer pages.

Thankfully, IBA only had positive messaging to communicate from our clients in July. We had some great news stories, in particular one client being listed in an influential research report as a firm market leader – a timely customer win boosted the story. We’ve seen great clippings worldwide from these two stories, most notably in the Middle East, India and across Europe – so who said everyone is on holiday in July?

In the US our payments processing client announced an important compliance certification to new wide-reaching industry regulations. In the same month, a statement from the consumer regulatory body in the US provided a perfect springboard for our client to chair an informal gathering of industry experts and journalists. There’s no better way to establish leadership and authority in your industry.

So no silly season here at IBA where we were busy placing thought leadership articles ‘hijacking’ industry hot topics – content that journalists are always crying out for – particularly in the traditionally quiet summer break.

Jamie Kightley, Head of iBAengage at IBA International

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