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Hell Pizza management makes common media training mistake

25 May 2012
The decision by Hell Pizza Management not to appear on the Sunday programme last week was a typical media training mistake. Two franchisees were complaining about why Hell had revoked their franchise licenses and also how they had been treated in the process. The big mistake made by Hell was refusing to be interviewed for the programme. From a media training perspective, this was the worst thing they could have done. This is because the whole story was devoted to the argument put forward by the franchisees. This meant it lacked balance. But the only people to blame for that were Hell management, because they refused to put their case. As all media training participants learn, Hell should have fronted up with a media message covering three key points. In this case these could have been; 1: We understand this is a difficult time for these franchisees (particularly because one was pregnant); 2: We have high standards we must uphold to maintain our good name: 3: After this we will review our processes to see if there are areas we can improve our communication with franchisees. By fronting up and focusing on a message like this, the story would have been well balanced and not led to the negative public reaction that resulted. Hell tried to repair some of the damage by appearing on Campbell Live the following night. But the damage had already been done and most viewers of Sunday would not be watchers of Campbell Live. This is a perfect example of why business managers need media training. This negative publicity can affect anyone. The key is knowing how to deal with it to limit the damage.

Written by

Pete is a leading New Zealand media trainer and regular blogger for his company, Media Training NZ . He has helped leaders from all sectors of society communicate with the media and other stakeholders. Pete is a former daily newspaper reporter and press secretary in the New Zealand government. From these roles, he understands the media process from both sides of the camera.

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