The Conversation Stops Here

By | March 14, 2006

This is a salutory reminder that, for all the talk these days of companies engaging the public and media in a conversation instead of just pumping out ads and slogans, not everyone is following suit. Here’s what I just received from a product manager at a regional Asian office for one of Japan’s biggest companies after I had requested a phone or email interview with the Japanese designers or product managers of a new device:

I did a quick check with our HQ in Japan and due to our company policy, we cannot arrange for such a phone interview or provide [you] with any unpublished materials or information to the media. Basically, we do not correspond with [any] news reporter/writer via phone or email without his presence. Also, approval from company’s management is need for any correspondence with the media.

I’m not going to give the name of the company because I don’t want to get the person in trouble; they were only trying to help by passing on my request to his bosses. But if you’ve ever wondered why we don’t always do such a good job of covering some companies products, you might spare a thought for the difficulties in actually reaching them with the most innocuous of queries. Shame is the product is a really good one.

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