The first is ancient and the other is real-time.
So, pull up the bed covers to your chin and don’t worry; those noises you’re hearing outside are only the wind…
1.) Tale one occurred in the earliest days of Peppercomm. As Ed and I slaved away in his squalid, one bedroom apartment, we became increasingly desperate to land just one, paying client.
Finally, like manna from heaven, I received a call from a colleague at a previous employer. He’d just landed the top human resources gig at a major chemical company and had employee communications reporting directly to him. He wanted to hire us ASAP.
I used the hot lead as my rational for moving us out of Ed’s hellhole, and into a Sam Spade-like detective agency in the venerable Graybar Building. We set up shop just in the nick of time to greet ‘Joe’ and his two direct reports.
After some idle banter, Joe got to the point. He wanted a refresh on everything the chemical company communicated to its global employee base, and was willing to spend big. He wanted the plan and budget, and to get started ASAP.
After we finished high-fiving each other, Ed and I scrambled to line-up a freelance team to execute what we promised we could deliver. I wrote the plan and FedEx’d it to the prospect. Days passed without a response. Undeterred, Ed and I felt confident enough to begin investing in such necessities as a second computer, a voice mail machine, real stationery, etc.
Long story short, we never heard back from Joe. After repeatedly calling corporate headquarters, I was told “Mr. Jones is no longer employed here.” Ouch. I dialed his direct reports, and reached one who said, “I have no interest in working with you or your firm. Good-bye.” Brrrrrrr…..
2.) I occasionally invite a client or prospect to provide a quote or piece of thought leadership for my Repman blog.
I see it as a win-win-win. The client gains some slight, additional visibility. My column gains some slight, additional credibility. And the poor reader gets a slight break from my proselytizing.
And so I sat down with a client CEO to discuss native advertising. I could immediately tell by his swagger that he thought highly of himself and believed he was the second coming of Steve Jobs.
We nonetheless had a fascinating conversation. At the conclusion, I asked my typical question:
Me: “Anything else on the subject you’d like Repman readers to know?”
Him: “No, but there is something you should know. You’re fired!”
Me: “I’m what?”
Him: “Your firm’s failed to produce any big hits in the past few weeks, and I’m ending this relationship right here and now!”
I was tempted to let out a blood-curdling scream, but bit my lip and said, “Well, if you feel that strongly about it, then it makes sense to end things.”
It was obvious that anything short of having this guy’s profile carved into the wall at Mt. Rushmore wouldn’t be enough.
And, those are today’s tales from the PR crypt.
Do you have some crypt-worthy stories to share? There’s nothing like a good scare to kick-off a windy, rainy weekend.”