Playing with the big boys

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By Danny Sullivan

Let’s set the scene: A technology company begins working with a much larger partner to deliver a significant new offering for the bigger firm. Everything leading up to the launch seems to be going great, and the partner has even stated that they will ensure you get some good media exposure as a result of their own public relations efforts. Then comes the launch and everything changes. The big guy hogs the limelight and you are left fighting for any scraps of media attention that come your way.

It’s not an uncommon situation, and one that I have witnessed on more than a couple of occasions.

And it’s not because big companies are evil (although there are probably some who would disagree with me on that). No, they’re simply doing what anyone else would do in the situation: Ensuring that their story is told first. What smaller companies must understand is that it those big guys are always going to look out for themselves.

Prior to any actual activity, it’s easy for the partner to say, “Sure, we’ll take care of you, don’t worry.” But those words, while absolutely sincere at the time, will very rarely turn out to be true when the time comes. Again, not through any malicious or deceptive intent, but just a by-product of the PR machine taking over and doing its job correctly.

And there is a simple way for companies to avoid being burnt in this situation: Make sure that your own PR machine is doing its job for your part of the story.

Your partner’s early stated willingness to tell your side of the story should make it a relatively pain-free experience to put together your own concurrent PR campaign, which, while probably smaller in scale, will be far more effective in achieving the results that matter for you.

By taking this action, you will ensure that you are doing all that you can to tell the story from your perspective, regardless of whether the big guy delivers on its promises or not.

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