E!’s take on the PR industry far from typical business reality

I admit it. I was tricked into watching the new reality show, “The Spindustry” on E! last week. If you read my company blog a while back, you’ll know I’m a bit of a reality TV show junkie. More importantly though, as a public relations and marketing professional, I was curious to see how professionals on the “sexier” side of the industry conduct business. Plus, the cheesy show name pulled me in – although I cringe inside every time I hear me and others in my professional referred to as “spin doctors.”

Although two episodes have now aired. I’ve only watched one episode – if that’s an indication to you on how great the program is.

I’ll let you in on what the show has properly communicated to viewers:

Public relations works – Having other people – whether media, industry experts, current customers, etc. – tell your story carries a lot more weight than simply placing traditional advertising. Both work together, but PR is ideal to have incorporated into your overall marketing communication program.

Results matter – Staffers on the first episode were upset when an outsider came in and seemingly took over operations to roll-out a 24-hour turn-around publicity event. However, the outsider got the job done in just minutes compared to the handful of team members who spent hours trying to accomplish the same goal. Although the outsider didn’t fold into the new group smoothly, as no one coming into a team situation at literally the very last hour would, she made magic happen for the company and its client.

Here is what the show improperly communicated to viewers:

Tardiness is not an issue (wrong) – Half of the office was not able to show-up to work, meetings or work-related events on-time. (Let me remind you, this is in just one episode.) Excessive tardiness is an issue and shows a complete lack of respect for the people you are scheduled to meet with. I cannot think of a rule breaker more damaging than to be continually late…to anything.

Treating employees like underlings (wrong) – Screaming at staffers about your inaccurate sandwich orders and telling them ‘your job is to shut up and bring the suckers’ (while en rout to a celebrity candy endorsement meeting), in front of other employees and on nationwide cable television no less, doesn’t build a business. Instead, it builds bitterness, breaks down overall team morale and simply destroys the shred of respect employees have for a boss. And, now that publicity firm owner Jonathan Cheban has decided to publicly showcase his circus on-air, I wouldn’t be surprised if a number of celebrities would choose NOT be associated with a company that treats their team the way he does.

The list goes on, but I’m certain you get the point.

Hopefully the show’s PR firm can learn from its past and incorporate the proper business fundamentals needed to make their West Coast office a success. In the meantime, this reality TV show junkie is opting not to watch future episodes of “The Spindustry.”

Amber Stidham is the director of strategic planning for Imagine Marketing.
Contact Amber at astidham@imnv.com

*Blog originally posted at: The Biz-E Gal: Life as a marketing pro and parent

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