How Not to Disintermediate
With traditional media on the rocks, there are lots of opportunities for companies and organisations to disintermediate: to project themselves directly to the public. Indeed, in some ways, this is the future.
But here’s how not to do it: to put a guy from the PR department in front of one of the senior folks and let him babble. The result is always awkward half sentences linked rehearsed (and usually quite obviously, and badly) lines from some media training session that ooze jargonish phrases that a real journalist would never let pass.
Things like these (with their translations alongside) from the Nokia Booklet 3G interview with John Hwang, its designer.
“nokia’s all about connecting people” = we make mobile phones
“further strengthening our device portfolio” = we’ve got a lot of different models. You’re confused? Try working here.
“mobile heritage” (repeated by the interviewer, as if it’s a phrase we all use in our daily lives: “honey, could you look in the drawer at our device portfolio and see if there’s something there from our mobile heritage we could lend the kids for sleepover?”) = we have to acknowledge we mainly make mobile phones, but we’re trying to make it sound like that’s our past. Just like our “tree-felling heritage”
“connected services” = the Internet
“all day performance” = the battery won’t give out on ya
“mobile design language” = we design mobile phones. Well we used to. Now we want to be thought of as computer manufacturers
“launched from our mobility statement” = I have no idea what this means.
(And the PR guy keeps saying “we” and then correcting himself to say “nokia”.)
If you’re going to do this kind of thing, do it right. PR guys should not be afraid of asking questions real journalists would ask, including tough ones. (Interestingly, the only tough question here is one the interviewee asks himself.)