We were just gunned down by the new sheriff in town.
He’d arrived before the holidays, carrying the title of chief marketing officer and maintaining a very low, almost secretive, profile.
Townsfolk and hired guns alike were nervous. What would the new sheriff do? Would he maintain things as they were, or would he come out with his six guns blasting?
As the town’s resident hired guns, we made the first move. We unstrapped our holsters, stuck out our hands and e-mailed a great big ‘Howdy, partner.’ The wind howled and the dust swirled, but there was no response. We sent more notes, fired off reports and even left voice mails. Dead silence. To quote an oft-used Western phrase, ‘It was quiet. Too quiet."
It became obvious the new sheriff wouldn’t give us our day in court. And, so, we kept our noses to the grindstone, churning out work and hoping the dreaded ‘Dear agency’ letter wouldn’t come blasting through our firewall.
Finally, inevitably, it was high noon. The lawman struck with a swift and deadly vengeance. We were dead before we could hit the reply button…The reason? ‘The town needed to re-think things and move in a different direction.’ It was the usual new sheriff talk. But, it still hurt.
Why do so many new sheriffs hang the hired guns without a fair trial? Even worse, why do they let us dangle in the wind for a few months before pulling the trigger?
Ironically, many such lawmen eventually lose their jobs and one day come blowing through our office like tumbleweed. When they do, we push back our stetsons, put our boots up on the desk and sigh, ‘Sorry podner, but we have nice, law abiding publicists here. There’s no need for your type in our town.’
Steve, you’ve been watching waaaaaay too many Randolph Scott movies!
From my perspective, this behavior comes around when companies feel they are suddenly too big and too important to let outsiders chart their PR/marketing strategies. It happened to me several times when I ran my own PR agency. Ironically, most of the companies who took that route abruptly went out of business less than a year later. Yee-hah!
Former editor, PR News
Author, “The New PR” (Larstan Publishing)
‘Bout to face down a new sheriff meself. There will be blood. And infin Ima readin’ in right, itsa gonna be mine.
But like your sitiation, the caretaker will be sizin’ up his coffin.