The executive director of PR for the Golden State Warriors basketball franchise has admitted he posted on a fan website under a pseudonym to counter criticism of the team’s management.
Site managers for WarriorsWorld.net traced the IP address of the commenter “Flunkster Dude” to the team’s offices and passed the information along to Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News. PR director Raymond Ridder told the reporter he made the post when asked about it by Kawakami.
Ridder commented after the team organized a conference call with season ticket holders to address front office moves and the axing of VP Chris Mullen. The call was criticized on the WarriorsWorld site and Ridder commented that he “enjoyed the call and appreciate [the front office’s] honesty.”
“It was 100% me. And I’ll take 100% responsibility, if anybody thinks I did anything wrong,” Ridder said. “It was completely on my own. I’ve never been told to do anything by anybody here. It was just me.
“It was nothing malicious at all. I just wanted to get the conversation going in a positive direction–I thought we had a good conference call, I had some good conversations with some season-ticket-holders, then I got to my office and I looked on the internet and all I saw was negative comments, complaints, nothing positive.
“From my standpoint, I just wanted to get some positive things going. When I saw all the negative comments, I wanted to chime in. That’s all.”
Recalling a meeting with a potential client 10 years ago who requested his PR services on a pay-per-success basis.
“Trying to appear thoughtful, and mustering all the sincerity I could, I said, ‘Not a problem. In fact, I want to get started right away. Let’s take your CEO out to the parking lot and have you shoot him. We will get mountains of coverage for your company. I’ll achieve your coverage goals and use up your annual budget in the next few weeks guaranteed. Who’s got a gun?’ The room fell silent. That was ten years ago.”
Farnsworth’s point: Quickie placements and press mentions are “low-hanging fruit” and essentially worthless in crafting a message and perceptions of a company. If a potential client doesn’t have the funds to support a PR program, they should skip it and spend what budget they do have on writers for white papers, blogs and case studies.
Kelly Reeves, who owns a boutique PR firm, KLM Communications, had to choose between cutting coverage for her three staffers or firing one of them after losing a large client.
Ms. Reeves says turnover is a concern even in this slack job market, but she has told her employees she understands if they leave for a job with medical benefits. Should business pick up, she plans to reinstate health insurance but provide less expensive coverage.
"You want to attract good talent and benefits are important for that," says Ms. Reeves.