Branding vs. sounding like you’re branding
In a post for the Online Marketing Blog, Jolina Pettice argues that there’s “no we in media interviews”:
…it’s very common for interviewees to fall into a habit of saying, ‘we do this’ and ‘we do that’. The problem is that ‘we’ is not your company name!
When companies have invested significant amounts of time and money into a brand, it’s important to make reference to that brand during publicity opportunities. Otherwise, the company might be referred to generically in the article and that does not help build a brand nor does it make it easy for readers to remember your company name.
While I agree that mentioning a company or a product name is vital, you have to be careful not to alienate your audience by sounding like a pre-programmed advertisement or automated spokesbot. Keeping things human and connected through the use of terms like “we” is just as important.
Here’s one suggestion: if you’re being interviewed by phone, for example, make a check mark every time you mention your company/product name; give yourself a visual cue. That way you know you’ve used the name and how many times. Free yourself from worrying about whether you did mention it so you can focus on being personable and connected. In a live studio environment, make your company name part of your mental checklist – and once you’ve used it two or three times, ease off; if it feels natural to mention the name after that, it’s icing on the cake.
Eric Eggertson at CommonSensePR picked up on Pettice’s point:
Every paragraph should be able to stand on its own. Unless you’re trying to distance your company from a story, work the company name or product into your response where possible [my emphasis].
What I’m arguing is that “where possible” should mean “where it doesn’t sound like you’ve been advised to use your company name at every possible opportunity”.